I don’t know if you’ve seen the amazing and powerful movie by Sherwood Pictures Courageous yet, but if you have you’ll no doubt remember the scene where the main character, Adam Mitchell, is asked by his young daughter, Lauren, to dance with him in front of a local bank. He refuses to get out of his truck and dance with her because his mind is on other matters and he didn’t want to be scene doing something that he thought everybody who saw him would consider silly. I won’t spoil the movie for you if you haven’t seen it, but he later realizes that it was a HUGE missed opportunity for him to spend time with his precious daughter doing something simple that she’d asked him to do.
I’m realizing more and more each day the importance of spending time with my children. They’re growing up so fast. I don’t want to be like one of our friends whose two or three year old son started calling his father, “Bye Bye Daddy” because the only time he saw his father during the day was when he was headed out the door to work. I don’t want to be a “Bye Bye Daddy.”
Now, certainly there will be times when we as parents can’t do what our children want us to do at the exact moment when they want to do it. In fact, I believe that there are tremendous opportunities for teaching and discipline that can be found in these moments. However, I have to admit that I have started looking at their requests to play trucks or dance in the living room together while humming a waltz through a different lens. I now try to do more of what they ask than less. I try to play more, dance more, hold more, read more. I’m not looking for the minimum amount of time to give them, but the most amount of time we can spend together because I’m realizing just how fast they grow up.
I have to admit, this is somewhat difficult for me. I’m a very driven, organized person, and sometimes I can get caught up in all of the “important stuff” that I have to do and be like Adam Mitchell in Courageous and miss what really matters. I don’t want to be that kind of a father. I want to make sure that I’m not missing the things that life is made of and become a “Bye Bye Daddy” to my children.
So, how can you know if you’re missing what matters? What are some warning signs to point to the fact that you’re missing out on the important stuff of life? Let me give you a few of the things that I’ve noticed – and trying to do a better job of realizing – in my life.
You’re missing what matters…
* when your children are surprised when you want to spend time with them.
* when there are a lot of days you never even see your children because you’re gone to work before they wake up and they’re in bed before you get home.
* when you’d rather talk on your mobile phone than talk to your kids.
* when you say, “I’ll be in there to play with you later,” and you actually think that there will be a “later.”
* when, “I can’t right now, I’m busy,” is something you say all the time, and “Do you want to throw a ball?” or “Come here and sit in my lap,” isn’t even in your vocabulary.
* when you’d rather work at the office, or in the garage, than play with your children.
* when you’d rather read what your “friends” are doing on Facebook than read a book to your children.
* when it’s more important for you to climb into your deer stand or fishing boat then it is to climb into your children’s tree house.
* when you know what’s happening in the world, but you don’t know what’s going on in your child’s life.
Don’t be like Adam Mitchell, only to find out too late that you’ve missed what really mattered.