There is something really exciting about the Christmas – New Year period. It marks the start of a New Year and a whole host of opportunities for you and your family.
New Year’s Day signals a chance for you to break with the past and start afresh. This is a day to be finished with discouragement from any past failure as a father and husband and move on to higher ground.
The trouble is, this is always easier said than done. Your failures as a father and as a husband stand out like distress flares in a calm sea. Mistakes have the uncanny way of rising to the top in your thinking and preventing you from moving forward to becoming the father your children, and the husband your wife so desperately need.
Recently I was asked to present the award certificates to a group of men who had completed the Good to Great Fathering Course. ‘Good to Great’ is not just any old course about being a better father, but is a course about becoming a better husband, better man, better father better communicator and better in a whole host of areas.
However, in presenting these awards to these noble men, I had a problem. Just the night before I had failed miserably as a husband. I wasn’t even qualified to give out awards to the very course I had developed because of my failure. Come to think of it, I was a hypocrite. Maybe I should resign from my unpaid position as the CEO of Dads4Kids.
The night before my wife and I had decided to go to a Carols by Candlelight event in the lead up to Christmas. We were walking down a grassy hill towards the school oval, occupied by several thousand people. We were walking arm in arm and my wife seemed to be going uncharacteristically slow. This had the effect of dragging me down so I asked the question, “Why are you going so slow?” with a touch of sarcasm and frustration.
My wife took offence at my perfectly reasonable question and ‘took off’ into the crowd. I was so mad at her reaction that I walked off in the other direction to give her a chance to ‘come to her senses’ and realise how ‘wrong’ she was and how ‘right’ I was.
As Paul Bartlett recently said, “Being ‘right’ is overrated!”
As we talked over a hot chocolate later, having ‘found’ each other again, I asked the obvious question about being ‘wrong’ and she had asked the obvious question about my ‘ignorance’ and lack of compassion for her in her troubles. She had sore feet, has had for weeks, and of course I was showing my lack of empathy by asking such a ‘stupid’ question. An apology goes a long way to pouting oil on trouble water. As Paul said, “Being right is overrated.”
As a father I have failed on numerous occasions. One of the classics is when my one and only daughter, in her last year at school, was singing one of her own songs at her last school assembly. My wife made sure she went to hear her, and asked me to go, but I had some excuse. I was ‘saving the world’ if I remember rightly, working in my office. The irony is that my office is only 5 minutes from the school so I could easily have gone to see her perform, but I didn’t, and regret it to this day.
So how do you and I move into the New Year and grasp the opportunities of becoming the man we need to be for both our children and the woman of our dreams?
Firstly we have to acknowledge our mistakes, not hide them.
Secondly, apologise both privately and where necessary publicly. The good book says, “Confess your faults one to another”. Evil festers in the dark. Honesty is always the best policy.
When I gave the award to the men for the Good to Great Fathering Course, the MC asked me about the course. I publically admitted that I had a fight with my wife the night before and that maybe I needed to do the course again. I don’t want people to think I am a superhero father when I’m not, especially myself. I have seen too many people believe their own PR and ultimately crash and burn.
Interestingly, one of the recipients of the awards wrestled all night about receiving his because he too had a fight with his wife. Being honest with my failures gave his hope with his.
Thirdly, don’t let your past failures define you. Johnny Cash said, “You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.”
Michael Jordan said, “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I cannot accept not trying.”
The apostle Paul, one of the greatest men that ever lived said, “I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do, forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.”
Reflect on the past year, your success and your failures as a father and husband. Now put them behind you because today is the first day of the rest of your life. Seize the moment and seize the opportunity of a New Year to be the father and the husband you need to be. As Brian Houston often says, “The best is yet to come!”
Yours for seizing the opportunity
PS. There is a fourth secret to achieving the best you can be as a father for the New Year. Pray! Yes, things go better with coke but they go a whole lot better with prayer.
Our world has just celebrated the birthday of the Son of God. Do you not suppose that he is more than willing to help you out all year long and not just at Christmas? It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe. The father with the sick child said to Jesus when Jesus asked him, “Do you believe?”, “I believe, help my unbelief.” Again, honesty is the best policy.
I am working with a few friends to organise a worldwide event called the New Year Sunrise Prayer Relay. We even did a video to promote it.
People can celebrate on their own or with a group of friends and pray in the New Year at sunrise on New Year’s Day to ask for help to make this year the best year of our lives and more importantly the best year for our families as well.
Check it out on Facebook and tell your friends.
For more info go to: