Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins: 4 Crucial Times to Be Intentional as a Dad

On game days, I feel like I have a clock constantly ticking in my head. From the moment the ball is snapped, I’m earnestly counting.

“One.” I scan the field. My first option is covered. Tick. Tick. Tick.

“Two.” My eyes move to the next guy. I hear linemen footsteps. Tick. Tick. Tick.

“Three.” Decision time. Throw the ball or else. Tick. Tick. Tick.

If I get to “four,” I’m probably already getting tackled.

I recognized early on in my NFL career that in order to be a successful quarterback, I had to learn to manage my time well. Get it wrong, and I’d usually end up on the ground. It’s a pretty simple task that applies off the field as well. Football has taught me something about parenting with intention. As a dad to two small boys, I know prioritizing every moment well will benefit my kids. Getting distracted or fumbling with my parenting duties definitely won’t help my kids flourish. It’s tough for us as pro football players because we have very demanding jobs, interviews to do, meetings to attend, and travel multiple weeks out of the year. It feels like that clock is always ticking, but that’s no excuse for us to leave our kids with the few seconds we have left over. We have to handle the clock with purpose. Here are 4 crucial times to be intentional as a dad.

1. When We Only Have a Minute

During the season, I feel like I practically live at the team facility. I’m getting treatment, in meetings, or practicing. I’m there for long hours, but I always make it a point to start or end my day with my boys. Sometimes that means a quick book in the morning before school. During big game weeks, maybe that’s a FaceTime call at bedtime. Our kids need to know they matter more to us than football or any other job we do. Even if you only have five minutes to spare, spend them with your kids. That touchpoint matters. It’s a check-in that they’ll remember during your busiest seasons.

2. When We Only Have a Few Hours

Your schedule is probably crazy, just like mine. But it’s not so full that you can’t carve out time for your family. My kids know every Friday night at our house is movie night, and they look forward to those few hours together. We can’t always do family dinners seven nights per week, but three nights are better than zero. Your calendar says a lot about your priorities. Is your family on it?

3. When We Get The Whole Day

Bye weeks always get circled before the season. They are great because that week off means I get entire days to spend with my boys. But even during game weeks, I can still maximize time with them. On Saturday mornings I take the kids to their tennis lessons or take them to birthday parties. I make sure to leave my phone in the car so I’m not distracted. I want them to know they have my full attention. My mind does sometimes wander back to football, but I have to remind myself to focus back in on what matters to them and be present.

4. When We Still Have Them at Home

Our boys are 17 months apart. Our oldest is in kindergarten. My wife, Julie, and I like to say we are navigating the “first third” of the boys’ time with us. The way we handle the next two thirds of their childhood will be crucial to the men that they’ll become. So, we lock in on what’s most important about each season.

Do they need help learning respect? Are they struggling with compassion? Am I modeling for them how to be a good man and husband? If I fail to lead them now, it will be harder to course-correct later. I believe their future maturity requires my present intentionality. I won’t get these years back, and time invested today will pay dividends. They’ll leave our home before we know it. Maximize your impact by filling your kids’ needs in every season.

Sound off: What advice would you give to a dad who wants to learn more about parenting with intention? 

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is your favorite way to spend time with me?”