I’m one of those guys that tends to lock onto something and ride it to the end. When China gifted the world with this pandemic, and the ensuing quarantine and shutdown descended on the world, our finances were eviscerated. I resisted the urge to panic, dove into my Bible, got centered, and asked God for guidance and wisdom.
When I do that, I get quiet and pay attention. I get a feeling inside, and the ideas start to flow. I got the impression that I needed to get into the coffee business, and that I needed to do a complete overhaul of Blessed Bodywear. That is the Holy Spirit talking to me.
Being the obedient type, I lit the afterburners four months ago and haven’t yet come up for air.
Ana has been on her own with the kids for the most part. I’m around, and I partake in the chaos on my breaks, but its been work from 6 am to 10 pm every day, seven days a week. I took some time off one day this week so Ana could get out of the house on her own for a few hours. I was looking forward to spending time with the kids, but it didn’t go quite how I had hoped. When I attempted to give gentle guidance, like “stop hitting your brother with that stroller”, my daughter asked for mom. When it was time to eat, I was informed that mom didn’t cut their peaches that way. When I tried to find Corry Carson on TV and failed to meet that objective in a reasonable time frame, I was reminded that mom has no problem finding it. They tried to do whatever they wanted and played the “mom said we could” card at every turn.
I got annoyed and was about to let them know who was boss, but that voice deep inside reminded me of something. Mom has been there for them, and I have not. Merely providing for them is not equivalent to meeting all their needs. They needed their father present for the things that are important to them, like playing and enjoying things like the park and splash pad and guiding them through their problems each day. They hadn’t failed me by being disrespectful; I had failed them by not being a part of their daily lives.
I felt horrible like I was failing as a father. I felt trapped and overwhelmed with so much work to do. I had nowhere to turn because the work needed doing for our family to survive.
I turned to God again because that is always where I find the answers. I needed to spend more quality time engaged with my family, and I also needed to get the work done. The problem is rarely the situation or circumstances. It’s almost always me. I realized that it’s not how much time I spend working; it’s how productive I am when I am working.
I talked with Ana that night, and we came up with a plan. I needed a place to work in our house that had no distractions, so I set up an office in our bedroom. I needed at least eight solid hours of focussed work time each day, so Ana planned some activities that would keep them focused and learning or doing little jobs in the morning. When that was done, it was nap time, and if I started around 5 am each day, I could have my work done by the time they got up from naptime. That way, we could spend the rest of the day as a family, and more importantly, I could be an engaged father to them.
Since that day, I have gotten far more done in far less time, and my kids have their dad back. They are much more settled and happy, and truth be told, so am I. I missed them.
There are times when we have to make sacrifices and go all out for our families. Sometimes when we can’t be there. But my kids need me, and justifying the time away did not make up for what they needed and missed. I had to find a better way.
I don’t get better unless I take the time to evaluate where I am and how I am doing daily. I assess the happiness of my wife, my children, and where they are at with their growth and development. God gave me the responsibility of leading my family. The better job I do at being a man of God and taking responsibility, the better off my wife and children are.
I serve God best by first serving my family.
Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for their children, it will be a refuge. – Proverbs 14, 26