Life is too busy. We all understand this. Meetings, appointments, deadlines — life. But what if things were different? What if we ignored life’s stopwatch and chose to walk instead of run?
I caught a glimpse of such a life recently . . . and it was just in time.
I’ve spent the last few years trying to build a new career. I filled my calendar to capacity. Writing, marketing, design work, strategic planning, meetings, meetings, and then a few more meetings. I worked at a breakneck pace, assuming there were no victims. My kids would disagree.
You see, my children were merely bystanders to my life.
They sat in the bleachers and waved as I drove perpetually around a track that only allowed me to give a thumbs-up with each passing lap. They cheered wildly at first, with less conviction later, and soon lost interest altogether. The “Go, Dad, Go!” signs turned into “Dad’s too busy” mental notes. Our race became my race.
We ate hot dogs and peanuts. We devoured ice cream out of batting-helmet bowls. We walked hand-in-hand through the concourses, savoring the aroma of the unhealthiest but most delicious food imaginable. We played games in the kid’s park, yelled at the umpire and high-fived after every base hit. Baseball heaven.
Somewhere between failing the Test-Your-Fastball Challenge and booing the opposing pitcher, I realized this was the greatest thing I’ve done for my kids in recent memory. I looked over and saw the smiles on their faces and felt the joy in their hearts. As we enthusiastically sang an out-of-tune rendition of “Take Me Out To the Ballgame,” I understood that I was doing a dad thing, a real for real dad thing.
I don’t expect applause or congratulations. Going to a ball game is no big deal. I should have been doing dad things all along. But my revelation grants me a moment to wonder about you.
Has your schedule allowed you to do a dad thing lately?
Has your calendar had room for ball games, spitting lessons or trips to Home Depot? Or are you too busy? Too overwhelmed? Too selfish?
If you’re too stressed or too tired to be what your kids need you to be (and what you know you can be), make some changes, shake things up, leave work early, upset your boss. It might not be easy, but it sure is rewarding. If you don’t believe me, take a moment to glance down at our kids the next time you do a dad thing.
The smiles on their faces, the joy in their eyes — that’s all the reward you’ll need.