This last weekend was my first official Father’s Day.
Before you write this post off as more sentimental drivel like so much else that has proliferated the Internet over the past few days, I have a confession to make.
I’m not really the best dad.
For example, tonight was supposed to be my night with Lylah. Sara and I both had evening meetings, but I would be home first. It was my responsibility to put her to bed when I got home.
As we pulled in the driveway, I saw Sara’s car in the driveway. I was relieved. I wouldn’t have to put Lylah to sleep.
If this were the only time I’ve felt that way, I would feel better, but it wasn’t. There are also times when I am in the middle of writing the most amazing blog post, or beating a boss on my best game ever, and Sara just plops Lylah on my lap right in the middle of it.
To borrow a line from Jeremy Statton about interruption, “It feels like it is stabbing my soul.” I love having time to myself every day. I cherish it. The evening is the one part of the day that is completely mine, and it feels like evenings are stolen from me when I take care of Lylah sometimes.
I’ve been so busy lately with working at church and writing in my spare time, that Lylah has sometimes felt like a burden. But then the other day I read something by Mark Batterson that spoke straight to my core. He said
Parents should strive to be famous in their own household above all else.
I can spend my life building a platform to influence others, but if I don’t build a platform in my home, it’s all for naught. Practically speaking, the credibility of a ministry goes out the window when families fall apart. Emotionally, there will be a time when I won’t care about how many readers I had or how many members came to my church as much as how I spent my time with my family.
This was confirmed to me tonight as I picked Lylah up from the babysitter. She had been doing great with her babysitter, but when she saw me, she started to squirm in the sitter’s arms and get frustrated. While the sitter and I were talking, she grew more irritated. Crying, I finally took her from the sitter and she got happy almost instantly.
This was the first time I’ve noticed Lylah do this. Normally she gets crabby when I’m holding her and she’s happy when her mom gets her.
Those brief smiles showed me how much power my presence carries as a dad. I might have a church that hates me, a few failed books, and a blog that nobody reads, but I have an instant platform with my family that I can develop. I don’t need to pay an annual domain name fee for it. I don’t need to purchase the most SEO-friendly WordPress theme to grow it. I simply need to show up.
My prayer is that I will only grow to understand this even more. Fortunately I have a patient wife and a precious daughter who smiles, screeches, and wiggles her limbs when I talk to her. I pray that I won’t ever forget how blessed I am.
So what makes it hard for you to put your family first? What encourages you? Sound off in the comments section below. I’d love to hear your wisdom.