Recently, I’ve been having conversations with several young fathers who are gut checking their dad priorities. “Derek, I’m working too many hours and traveling too much. I’m not sure this job is worth losing touch with my family. My kids are growing up so fast, and I’m missing it.” These are good men; they are creative, hardworking, faithful dads who love their wives and children with a passion.
One dad, Bob, put his career in jeopardy when he turned down a promotion that would have involved more money, more responsibility, more time, and moving to a new city. “I explained that my kids are doing well in school,” he said, “that they love their church, and that my wife and I value the relationships we have in this community.” “We’re making ends meet,” he explained, “being prosperous is about far more than merely dollars and cents.”
Bob was on to something. We can all learn important things about how to balance everything we say are the top priorities in life. Here are 5 ways to gut check your dad priorities:
1. Make a list of your priorities.
On one side of the paper, list priorities you believe you value, such as family, my relationship with my wife, time with my kids, my faith, staying healthy, etc. Stop at around 10 items.
2. Give yourself a reality check.
In the other column, list factual information about how you actually spend your time. This list would include items such as, work, quality time with the children, one-on-one time with my wife, volunteering at church, working out, gardening, etc.
3. Talk about it.
Get together with your wife or with a small group of the guys. Talk about what you have learned about the relationship between your expressed priorities and reality. Brainstorm ways to get the two lists to look more similar. Check out ideas such as Fathering Your School Aged Child.
4. Do a similar exercise with your finances.
Gut checking finances in terms of dad priorities helps paint a clear picture of where resources are allocated. Gut checking finances in terms of dad priorities helps paint a clear picture of where resources are allocated. The stark black and white (and maybe red!) numbers tend to tell the truth about our priorities across the board. When we align where we spend our money with what we say is important, change is inevitable.
5. Set realistic goals.
Your gut has probably told you to invest more in quality dad time. Any move in the right direction is a positive, so check off doable goals so you can see the progress. Don’t set yourself up for failure by being unrealistic. Read articles such as 5 More Great Ways to Spend One-on-One Time with Your Kids.
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Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your wife and make a list of your priorities.