Busy dads raise busy kids. I know because I’m constantly fighting the busyness battle with three kids ages five to 15. Last year was one of the busiest years of my life. From work and school to sports and church stuff, I feel pulled in every direction. To be honest, as I look back over last year, I felt too busy for most of it. I didn’t do a great job of living in the moment with my family. As my kids grow up, I don’t want to have too many years like that.
As dads, I think it’s easy to wrap ourselves up in doing meaningful work and miss the real point—to be faithful in our homes. Let’s stop and think about why we’re so busy. Here are 4 busy dads who must learn to say no.
1. Mr. More
This dad desires more and more material possessions but he never seems to be satisfied. You can have money and big goals, but if you find your desire to have more is never defined, that tells you what you need to know. Your desire for more often leads to more busyness. Your kids see a stressed-out, overwhelmed model.
When will enough be enough?
2. Mr. Stress
This dad may not want more stuff, but he’s terrified of financial loss so much he worries about everything. Maybe you didn’t have possessions growing up and maybe you have some now—and you aren’t giving them up for anything. Jesus talked about seeking the kingdom of God first (Matt. 6:33) rather than material possessions. The stressed dad is the one who’s constantly busy worrying about keeping what he has. If you seek God first, he promises peace and rest rather than worry. Guard against modeling a stressed-out life to your kids.
What do your kids see most often: a stressed dad or a relaxed dad?
3. Mr. Looking for Approval
This dad craves influence. He wants his neighbors to view him highly. And having your neighbors think well of you isn’t a bad thing. You should want to do good work. And you should care what people think. But what’s the motivation behind your actions? You can do the right thing for the wrong reasons. This takes careful consideration. John 12:43 says, “For they loved human praise more than praise from God.” Be the dad who seeks approval from God rather than any person on earth. Caring what God thinks helps you stop comparing yourself to others and live in the freedom of knowing you matter to the one who created you. Let your kids see that you are faithful to God above all else rather than looking for approval from others.
Do you work hard because you have character? Or are you working hard because you’re looking for man’s approval?
4. Mr. Perfectionist
This dad is proud of his work ethic and doing what is right. When things go wrong, he says, “I’ll just lean in and work harder.” Sadly, while he might not say it aloud, he lives as though he believes being the perfect worker makes him righteous.
Do you feel the weight of busyness? Your goal cannot be perfection. You’ll never be satisfied and you’ll always be busy. There will always be more to do. And you’ll often project this perfectionism onto your kids. Nothing they do will ever be good enough for you. The perfectionist dad raises insecure kids. Instead, seek God so much that you hear Him tell you, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28)
Do your kids see a perfectionist dad or a restful dad?
Sound off: Which one of these four busy dads are you? What can you do to change that?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “How can you tell when I’m stressed? And how can you tell when I’m not?”