Baldwin, N.Y. - It's getting, it's getting, it's getting kind of hectic! This is the transparent response of most dads worldwide when asked what their schedule looks like (mimicking the song by Snap). Dads have a tough job or better yet, several tough jobs, each requiring a different hat and demanding an individually unique focus and expectation. We are designed to compartmentalize to so each individual thing is done well one at a time with help. Few of us if any have mastered multitasking.
Yet, everybody simultaneously wants the quality of our time and those most important to us tend to get the least of it. It seems like the world will attempt to force men to wear the husband and dad hat the least amount of time. Now workdays are 9 hours and our commutes are longer. Add in a second job or a side business and time gets extremely limited for family. You block out time for your wife or social pursuits, if you are single, and children sit on the sideline getting a hug, a laugh or a tickle - maybe.
It is one thing to prioritize. It is another thing to intentionally schedule. It says so much to a child's sense of self-worth when a dad commits to and consistently keeps regularly scheduled dedicated time with his child. Be intentional. Set aside an exclusive time with your child's name on it.
Pastor Patrick Francis, a Jamaican immigrant, of the Northside Church in Baldwin; N.Y. sees setting special time for children as integral to all aspects of the child's growth and development for the family, community nation and world.
“I grew up with a father but I wish had the opportunity to spend more time with him – to feel from him what it is like to receive real love from a father. I try to give my sons, Ryan and Patrick, the love and affirmation that I never had – most importantly, I give them time”, said Pastor Francis.
“I feel there is quality of time and quantity of time. Because we are a father at home does not mean we are spending quality of time. With groups like Furthering Fathering emphasizing quality time, it will help break the negative cycle that has been going on’, Pastor Francis added.
“What I am emphasizing here is, how much time do we give [our children] undivided attention; or do our children compete for our time among the hustle and bustle of work, church and school?” Pastor Francis said quizzically.
Quality is convincing. It attracts, brings a return and increases relationship. It creates repetition, which becomes consistency. Quality time is precious to a child. A child wants to know that time spent is precious to dad. Here are some ways to help convey that time spent with your child is special:
• Quality listening and conversation – care about what they say and pray with them
• Quality recording - Capture the moments – photograph, video, record
• Quality embraces – Big hugs, kiss, hold close
• Quality help - Help with assignments and take advantage of teachable moments
• Quality concern - Ask quality questions to hear their heart, know their favorites and triggers
• Quality cheer-leading - Encourage often
• Quality intentional time - Date your child – take them out; create chronological landmarks/highlights; Earmark special time
• Quality history - Remind them of special times in the past
• Quality investment in their purpose - Talk about their future glowingly and hopefully
• Be consistent
Our time with our children in their youth is precious. They will be adults much longer than they will children...