With Father’s Day coming up, it always gets me thinking. I wonder sometimes if I’ve been a good father. I love my kids, but I know I’ve spent a lot of time on the road helping other people. My father, I imagine, had similar thoughts…working at Bethlehem Steel all day and then getting home exhausted. He made the best of the limited time he had during the day to make sure we felt loved.
Here’s a few things I’ve learned along the way:
1. Never forget to be obvious. Don’t assume that your family knows you love them…tell them.
2. They need your time. They need to go for walks, vacations, ballgames, and even the mall. For me, making time for my kids is not always the easiest thing, but it is by far one of the most important.
3. Listen to your kid’s joys and hurts. Paying attention is sometimes the most valuable thing we can do. They don’t just need us to be physically present…they need us emotionally available.
4. Like my friend, Duane “Dog” Chapman‘s book says, “Where Mercy is Shown, Mercy is Given“. Show your kids mercy. They will mess up, but so will you and teaching them to show mercy comes from showing them mercy first.
5. And above all I’ve learned that children need our unconditional love-when they succeed and when they make mistakes; when life is easy and life is hard.
These are lessons that I don’t always get right, but I continue to learn and grow and be the father I know my kids need.
I love my kids.