Is it possible that your physical presence in the home with your kids is overrated? Studies show time and time again that a father in the same home with his kids has a significant impact, a positive one, on their kids. But maybe that isn’t true for every father and their kids.
Being physically present isn’t enough. Without an emotional connection, the results can be the same as if the kids never knew their father. At one point, I felt I was on the verge of doing just that. Spending time and being physically present with my kids, but not really connecting.
I’m their basketball coach and was their Sunday school teacher, baseball coach, homeschool teacher and tutor. Where they were, I was. But I noticed all of our interaction was about a game, activity, or event. Many times, other people were there “stealing” the time we could connect. I’m not saying those things are bad and, if you are doing them, I encourage you to keep doing them.
But, it was almost to the point where my kids were going to know me more as coach, teacher, and leader versus their dad. I don’t want my kids to grow up and ask, “Who is my father really?” My goal is for them to know me as Dad more than anything else. All of our goals should be to better connect with our kids. [Tweet This] Here are 3 ways to do that:
1. Do nothing.
One of the first things I did was schedule time with them, without any big agenda or activity. Just us: $5 for us to eat something light and a few hours. Since doing that consistently, we’ve connected on another level emotionally and intellectually. It seems odd, but actually not having something to do is freeing for you and your kids. It allows conversation to flow free or not. One of our kids is not a big talker, so we just sit and enjoy one another.
2. Slow down.
The modern family today is probably the busiest in history and the most rushed. It seems we are going from here to there and everywhere in-between. All of it seems rushed. Take your time and slow down. You’d be amazed what you and your kids will share together when you slow down. Remove as many things as you can possibly remove. Try to create as much margin as possible. I believe even dads succumb to the habit of filling up blank spots on our calendars, but we don’t need to.
3. Pray with them.
I know many parents who pray for their kids, but I’m not sure how many of them pray with their kids. Praying brings a level of transparency and intimacy that you don’t get with many other things. Pray about what you are thankful for, pray about what you’ve done wrong, pray about your concerns and your desires. Then encourage and help your kids to do the same.
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is one thing you would really like to know about me?”