When I was a teenager, my father took a job as a teacher at a college about two hours away from our home in Jackson, Michigan. Since I wanted to finish high school in Jackson, he sacrificed and lived away from us for a time. I didn’t realize how difficult that must have been until I experienced it when coaching the Indianapolis Colts while my family remained in Tampa. But even while he lived far from us, my dad stayed engaged in our lives and unified with my mom. He always would talk to us on the phone and spent many hours driving to our events to remain connected. I always felt loved and like he was there for me.
That is what I remember most about my father. He was self-sacrificing and always present, even from a distance. Sometimes, people ask me, “How do you want to be remembered as a father?” I want to be remembered in these three ways.
1. As someone who was there for his kids.
Just like my dad was there for me, I want to be remembered as being there for my kids. I won’t always be able to be physically present, but I want them to know that their dad is always available for them, particularly in their times of need.
2. As someone who cared for his kids.Fatherhood is a tough job because you have to put the needs of others before your own.
Fatherhood is a tough job because you have to put the needs of others before your own. And kids have a lot of needs. Growing up is a tough job but having a loving parent makes it easier. I want my kids to know how much I love them and care for them.
3. As someone who did everything to help them out.
One of the most important ways parents can help their kids is by preparing them for the future. I want not only to help them see how the decisions they make impact their future but also for them to have a vision for the type of person they want to be and what it will take to get there. Ultimately, I want to help my kids be the best they can be.
Sound off: How do you want to be remembered as a father?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “When people think about you, what do you want to come to their minds?”