Lately, as in every day, I have been thinking about being a dad and a husband. My dwelling on me being a father and husband is probably due to my having another baby boy joining the family at the end of this month sometime. Once he decides to show up, it is going to rock our world again. My wife will be up most of the night, due to feeding that I can't do yet, and I will be helping even more with Owen, our two-year-old, in the mornings and will be taking him to school. I am fine with doing more, but we will have to change up our routine again. I like routines and creating a plan that works. It’s just hard when you change it up.
Anyhow, that is not what this is about.
When I think of being a dad and a husband I think about a lot of the conversations I have with other men who are at a similar stage of life. These conversations make me want to be a better man overall, and not just because of what they say, but I realize that I don't want to miss anything in this stage of my son’s life. There is so much that happens in the first few years of your kid's life that is so new and fun even with all the things I wish were not a part of the deal, and after that stage is over, there is another stage. I only know what I know with a two-year-old and haven't experienced any other stages yet. Something I do know is that when the stage is over, you don't get it back. You can't rewind time and get it again.
Spending time with your kids and wife and making the most of these moments is one of things I have heard many men talk about that have children now out of the house. They don't talk about when there was a big promotion. When it comes to talking about family, these men talk about how they wish they could get more of that time back. I have heard this over and over from parents with older kids when they see me with my toddler. Why do you think that is?
My family and I try not to fill our week with TV shows because then you end up wasting hours every week getting nothing accomplished, but we do have two or three shows a semester that we watch. There’s a scene from one of my new favorite shows, "This Is Us," that has stuck with me. It aired about a month ago so I recorded the scene with my phone to use in this part of the blog.
I want to be more like one of the men in this scene. Can you guess which one?
I have to be careful with what I am about to say because I don’t want it to come across that this is directed at any one individual. If we have had a conversation like the following examples, know that I am pulling from numerous conversations and from what I have seen portrayed in television and movies. It’s not based on any one conversation only.
Some men feel entitled to their days off. They feel they have earned a reward for the hard work they put in during the week. Now, I know some men that put in 65 to 80 hour weeks at work and that is taxing so I get it, but the world and especially your family don't owe you anything. Working is your duty to provide for your family without complaining and without getting anything in return. I know some men "need" to get a weekend away to hunt, go golfing or to binge watch TV shows or movies, and all these things are great, as long as your wife gets the same in return. Does your wife get a weekend away while you watch the kids?
Men think they need their Sabbath day to recover. Most men get the luxury of sitting at a desk and going out to eat for lunch, while the stay-at-home mom is chasing a toddler around the house all day for seven days a week, or they are keeping up with two or more kids and don't even know what a Sabbath is. I do get stubborn from time to time, or every time, and don't want Ashley to leave me home alone with Owen. It’s easier when she is around, and I don't want to be left to fend for myself. Why? Because it can be hard sometimes, but isn't that what she has been doing most of the week? Even more so for the moms that work during the week and probably still do more for the kids than we do.
Sometimes men use the excuse of work so that they don't have to be home to handle that as well. I know because I am tempted to do so every week. Skipping out can take many forms and can be easy to justify like work, working out, breakfast or lunch with a friend or yard work. There’s nothing wrong with any of these things but what is your primary motive for doing them?
I am going to add another clip in this for you because I think it fits so well, and Matt Chandler can challenge and articulate way better than I can. Matt Chandler leads a church called the Village Church, and I like watching his messages every so often because you can tell he is genuine and he challenges you to do more. Prepare yourselves, men. You might feel guilty after this.
There couldn't have been a better way to close out this blog. The only way we can do this is through a relationship with Jesus Christ. The stress that being a father and husband gives you pushes you into Jesus. You have to ask the Holy Spirit for strength to do more and take on what you currently have. It is a tall order to say we have to lead our homes, provide for our families and spend quality time with all of our kids and our wife, but this is what you were designed to do and God gives you the capacity to do so. That might mean you lean into God for his strength to help you succeed and to succeed well. Your rest is found in Christ. It isn't found in a nap or time away. What will restore your soul is Christ. Everything works better when men step into what it really means to be the man of the house. Pray and ask for it. You can do this and you are more capable than you think you are.
I am believing and praying that you can do it. Your kids need you, your wife needs you and the world needs more men like this.