6 Times of Day Your Family Needs You to Step Up

The sun wouldn’t come up for a few more hours as we made our way down to the kitchen. Even though it was a frigid January morning on the prairies, the wood-burning stove radiated a welcomed heat, and a fresh pot of coffee waited for us. As we settled in for breakfast, the front door opened, and my friend’s father, John, came back into the house. He shook the fresh snow off his winter parka. I’d spent the last week of Christmas break at a friend’s family farm, but later that day, we’d have to make the three-hour drive back to school for the winter semester. Despite the early hour and the cold, John had been up early taking care of his kids (and their guest) before we had to hit the road.

Whether it’s first thing in the morning, mid-afternoon, or the middle of the night, the responsibilities of a father in a family can ask a lot of you. No matter what time of day it was, John was hard at work doing things for his family. I often think of him when faced with the important (and hard) things every dad has to do. Here are 6 times each day your family needs you to step up.

1. First Thing in the Morning

You can step up for your family at the very beginning of the day. Get up before anyone else does, have a coffee, and say your prayers. Savor the early quiet time and then be the first to wish your kids a good morning. Knowing dad will be up and awake before they are every day will stick with your kids, and they just might get up early to get a few minutes alone with you.

2. Before you Leave for Work

I never saw John leave the house—or let his kids leave the house—without saying goodbye and telling them he loved them. This love was shown in more than words, as on a cold morning, he’d start everyone’s cars before they left. Step up and look for the ways to show and tell your family you love them before you head off for work.

3. During the Workday

There may be days you love your job and days you simply hate it. Whether you’re having a bad day or your work on its own doesn’t seem to be fulfilling, remember it puts gas in the car and food on the table. One of the most important responsibilities of a father in a family is to put in a hard day’s work (whatever that might be) to provide for their needs.

4. Dinnertime

The dinner table was once the place everyone came back together after a busy day to share what they’d seen and learned. These days, dinnertime can be filled with sports and endless notifications. Step up by bringing back family dinner as often as you can, and make it a place that cell phones and media aren’t permitted. (If you’re not sure what to talk about at the table, check out these conversation starters.)

5. Evenings

Any man might find it tempting to collapse onto the couch for an evening of sports or the latest offerings from Netflix. While there is certainly a place and a need for things that recharge you, make sure your evenings aren’t always spent on your own. Step up and check on your wife, on each of your kids, and see if there’s anything you specifically can and should be doing around the house.

6. At the End of the Day

Much like the need to start a day well, step up to make sure you’re ending the day well, too. If the incessant demands of the day have kept you from connecting with your wife, take a few moments at the end of the day to listen to her heart. Ask her how she’s doing, and really listen to what she’s sharing with you. Making sure you invest something in your marriage by the end of the day will help set all of you up for a better day tomorrow.

Sound off: What are some other responsibilities of a father in a family you need to step up and do?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What’s your favorite part of the day? Why?”