Why do I make so many mistakes as a father? It seems that the things I want to do, I don’t do them, and that which I don’t want to do, I end up doing! And you thought you were the only dad that thought this way, didn’t you? I’ve said it once and I will say it again, dads do some really dumb things. We’ve gone over two of the seven worst things a father can do. Are you ready for number three?
3. Too Busy to be a Dad
“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NLT)
That’s not a verse from Proverbs, but Solomon wrote it. The book of Ecclesiastes needs to be investigated by a lot of people in our culture who are consumed with materialism, and trying to “have it all” and trying to pass this same twisted thinking on to their kids. Solomon learned the hard way that true satisfaction in life doesn’t come from “having it all” anyway – and he should know – he was the richest man in the world in his day and it didn’t buy him happiness.
So many kids today have very little or no free time. They are pushed to excel and exceed and be involved in so many activities that they grow up as imbalanced as their parents are. Overextended and worked to death they’re less well adjusted and frankly less happy. They’re lonely, emotionally neglected and burnt out at young ages.
We need balance here and that’s exactly what the Bible is calling for. There’s a time for every activity under heaven. There’s a time for sports and there’s also a time for the family to sit down to supper together at night. Do you realize that families sitting down to supper together has gone the way of the dinosaur? That’s not good, folks! Research has shown time and again that healthy “set” times of communication between parents and children builds lifelong bonds that build character and confidence in children as they mature into adulthood!
So slow down and don’t push your children to their limits. Make time to be together as a family! Play with them, talk to them and build your relationship with them face to face! Here is a sobering thought; How well do you know your children? Do you know your coworkers better than you know your own children? How much time do you spend with those little ones? Do you schedule time with them?
A Hard Lesson
Let me tell you a true story of a dad who learned a hard lesson about how important spending time with his children was. This father was a bright, innovative young EXECUTIVE who quickly climbed the corporate ladder of SUCCESS. He, along with his wife and two boys, lived in a nice suburban neighborhood just across from a beautiful park.
His children, one Saturday morning came bursting into his BEDROOM, “Dad let’s build a FORT in the park.” The father said, “I’m sorry sons. I can’t today, I’ve got some things I have to do at the OFFICE.” Both of the boys had a very disappointing look on their faces. “Next Saturday,” the father promised, “we’ll BUILD a FORT.”
The next Saturday they burst into his BEDROOM again. This time they’re not taking any chances—they come bringing boards, nails, and hammers. “Dad! Dad, wake up! You promised that you would help us build a FORT today in the park.” The young father said, “Oh, I’m sorry. I forgot all about it!” Seeing the DISAPPOINTMENT on their faces again he says, “I tell you what I’m going to do. I’m going to get on the PHONE and in your hearing, I’m going to take next Saturday off. I just can’t get away today.” “Okay, Dad,” the boys said understandably. (KIDS ARE SO FORGIVING, AREN’T THEY?)
Next Saturday comes, and the father and two boys are sitting around the table eating breakfast. The boys are EXCITED, bouncing back and forth singing, “We’re going to built a FORT. Dad’s going to help us BUILD a FORT.” As they start out the DOOR, the phone rings. SILENCE! You can hear a pin drop. WHAT IS DAD GOING TO DO? Dad goes over and answers the phone. He doesn’t have to say anything to the boys. They can tell by his expression that it’s the BOSS.
“John, I need you to come in this morning. You are the only one who can close this DEAL.” He looks at his sons carrying their boards and hammers and thinks to himself, “Well, I guess it’s either a CHOICE between my JOB and my KIDS.” Reluctantly he says, “Listen boys, I’ve got to go into work. I’ve got something I need . . .”
“No, Dad! No! You promised.”
“I’ve got to go in just a little while. You start the FORT without me, and I’ll be back very soon to help you FINISH it.” The father got into his car and DROVE away.
Not Any More
The youngest son started across the street carrying his boards, hammer, and nails crying because his Dad BROKE his promise again. Blinded by the tears, he doesn’t see the oncoming CAR, walks out in front of it and is struck KILLING him instantly.
Three days later the young father is at the FUNERAL of his little boy. He looks out over the audience and sees his BOSS and all of his male COLLEAGUES. And he realizes the IRONY of it all; what the CHOICE he made COST him. He begins to CRY. He then stands and speaking through the TEARS he says for all to hear, “Men, if I can leave you one piece of ADVICE this morning, it will be this: BUILD THE FORT TODAY, FATHERS. PLEASE, BUILD THE FORT TODAY!”
Be a Father NOW
I want to leave you with this… Our children need us, they thirst for us, they require that we be fathers. At the end of the day, can you say you did EVERYTHING you had to do to be the dad that your kids deserve and need? Can you honestly say you lived a sacrificial life that overflowed onto your children? Take a few minutes today to do something completely opposite of what is expected of you. Hug your children and tell them “Dad loves you”. Then help them BUILD THAT FORT!
Next mistake, when you as a parent try to be your child’s best friend.
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