Last week my friend Henry Balanon became a father for the first time to his new daughter Charlotte. My how his life is going to change. But beyond the complete upheaval of how his life was before baby, Henry and many other dads out there have a bigger responsibility that we often forget, overlook, or take for granted. I attended an event last week where Pam Stenzel, a prominent speaker on the issues of sex and abstinence and some thoughts began running through my head.
Before you close this window, my point isn’t about abstinence (although it is something that we don’t teach our kids about enough). During her talk, Pam made 2 really good points that continue to run through my brain today.
DON’T SETTLE. EXPECT EXCELLENCE.
During her speech, Pam talked about how one of the goals of the United Nations is for world peace. She went on to point out how unrealistic that may seem in our world today given the conflicts we’ve seen recently. She jokingly said they should maybe change it from “world peace” to “less war”, but then brought it back to reality. That goal is what is right in society. We as people should strive for excellence no matter how unrealistic it may seem. As parents we should have the same expectations of our kids in order to equip them for what they will face in their lives. So the next time my son has an average game, I’m not going to tell him he was the best. When my daughter doesn’t show improvement in school, I’m not going to tell her she is the start student. Through love and encouragement, as their father, I’m going to work with them on the things they need to improve upon so that the next time I can shower them with the praises they deserve for their hard work.
BE INVOLVED IN THEIR LIVES. LEAD YOUR CHILDREN.
Pam called the dads out. I’ve often seen dads that spend so much time at work, their kids are left neglected. It just seems that work has become a higher priority than the family. She encouraged the dads in the audience to become active. She talked about how her husband took their daughters out on dates. He would come to the door and bring a flower. He would put her coat on for her. He would pull out her chair and open doors for her. He would do the things that many of us (me included) don’t do for the women in our lives today. You may ask why? He wanted it to be known to any prospective suitor that the boy would be competing with her dad. The bar will be set high and any boy would have to meet those same expectations. Brilliant!
Dads, we have a huge opportunity to shape the future through the time we spend with our kids. Take it seriously and prioritize that over work. Last year I wrote about leaving a legacy. The time we spend with our kids lays the foundation of the legacy we want to leave as dads and as parents.
So to Henry and Angela Balanon, congratulations to both of you. Charlotte is beautiful! Now the real work begins!