My friend Dr Bruce Robinson tells a story in his bestselling book, which forms the introduction to Fathering from the Fast Lane.
An unforgettable and sad thing happened to me at a restaurant one evening. It illustrates how important it is to know if we, as fathers, are on the right track or not with our children.
I was dining with a group of people and was talking to a woman across the table from me who, it turned out, was the daughter of a doctor. On further discussion, it turned out that her father was a doctor I knew from my medical student years. I was delighted to meet her because her doctor father was my earliest role model — he was kind and respectful to all the patients and staff, was loved by everybody and always had extra time to talk to anyone who was in need.
Whenever he walked into the wards the nursing staff, no matter how flustered and bad-tempered they may have been beforehand, all seemed to calm down and become relaxed. We all considered him a bit of a saint, really. I assumed that he was a wonderful dad.
As I enthusiastically related this to his daughter, a surprising thing happened. Just as I finished enthusing about how he always had time for others, her beautiful face contorted in anger and she stated, ‘Yes, but he never had time for us, his own children.’
She then went on to describe how her father put all his energies into his work and neglected his own kids. His failure to be a good father to her was, and remains, a very difficult ongoing issue for her and caused her to resent her father’s work.
I wonder what happened to her father? I am sure he did not set out with the intention of overworking and neglecting the emotional need of his children, leaving them with lifelong emotional difficulties because of it. He made the three common mistakes that we fathers often make.
He gave his work too much of his time
You can give a lot of time to work and still be a good dad, but he did not know when to stop. This book discusses how much time children need and how to make that time available, no matter what work you do.
He gave his work too much of his energy
When he came home he didn’t have enough energy left to focus on what his children really needed from him. He may have relied on his wife to meet those needs in the children — that is never enough. This book discusses whit it is that children really need from their dads so that we can use our time with them usefully and effectively.
He allowed a contest between work and family
In the end, his work was seen by his children as the enemy of his fathering. It is possible to make your work a friend to your fathering rather than its enemy, and this book discusses some strategies that can be used to make this happen.
Good Fathering Does Make a Difference to Kids
Being a good father does make a difference — children of absent fathers or emotionally distant fathers are more likely to perform poorly at school, get into trouble with the law, fail in marriage and develop drug addictions. Poor fathering is also a major contributor to poor mental health. Good fathering improves children’s chances of being academically successful, creative, productive and healthy.
Wise words from a wise man. Opportunities to hang out with your children should never be missed. The challenge is, how can we put this into action?
Yes, read Dr Robinson’s book, but we encourage you to put Bruce’s words into action today. He would want you to!
Today is the start of the Decorate Dad Challenge, which finishes at the end of November. The Challenge kicks off on 1 November, and we are looking for 100 brave men who will take up the challenge with their children to get decorated and get the ball rolling. The beauty is you get to spend some time with your children in the process.
Simply put, we need 100 courageous dads to do the Decorate Dad Challenge today to start a viral trend.
Pass this post on to others, but most of all take the challenge yourself. If you cannot do it yourself, please tell all your friends about the challenge.
It really is a simple three-step process to join the #DecorateDad Challenge this November!
- Let your kids ‘decorate’ you.
- Take a fun photo with the kids.
- Post your Decorate Dad Challenge photo on your social page & nominate 5x friends to do the challenge! REGISTER HERE.
Your bravery in having some quality time with your children today will inspire other fathers to do the same. You could reach out to all your social media friends to tell them about the challenge. You could start a fatherhood revolution in the process.
Decorate Dad Challenge Parabolic Multiplication
Week One: 100 X 5 = 500 Dads
Week Two: 500 X 5 = 2,500 Dads
Week Three: 2,500 X 5 = 12,500 Dads
Week Four: 12,500 X 5 = 62,500 Dads
Let us fill the internet with joy, and help men be the best dads they can be for their kids!
Grab the Opportunity for Fun with your Children,
PS: Don’t forget to watch the Decorate Dad Challenge Webinar. Some of the children’s comments are priceless!