From the time our children are really small, they want to know if they can trust their fathers to be there for them, to show up for them, to protect them, and to love them unconditionally, whether they win or lose. The period of fatherhood usually occurs exactly at the same time as you are in full sail in your career and in your prime wealth creation phase. It’s a busy time and it’s often difficult to apportion time fairly to every part of one’s life and to keep everyone happy, including you.
In Jane Bartlett’s book, Parenting with Spirit, she quotes Vietnamese Zen Master, Thich Nhat Hanh who wrote about the father of two who decided not to divide his time into parts anymore. This father tries to consider the time he spends helping his wife, or helping his son with homework as his own time too. His own time (not work time) is no longer just about going for nice walks by himself or reading a book. His own time is everything he does. So he finds ways of enjoying his family’s presence and fully engaging with them. “The remarkable thing is that now I have unlimited time for myself!” he says.
Dads, if you can see parenting as part of your life’s journey and not just another thing on your ‘to do list each day, then you have the privilege of taking part in the most wonderful adventure of personal discovery that will leave you larger than you were before. But, you have to acknowledge that you will need to be emotionally present to take advantage of the opportunity that lies ahead, and you must learn how to look at your allocation of time differently. Sometimes you will also have to set your own ego aside.
Try to be present in what you are doing, especially when you are with your children. Try to savour what you are doing. Enjoy the world from your child’s perspective, their sense of wonder and fascination for life is infectious. Recognise when you are feeling off-balance and need to restore yourself. Explore how your experience of time changes when you don’t divide it up rigidly into time for others and me time. See it all as time for yourself and then you will have time for what matters most.
Have a happy Fathers’ Day to all the amazing dads out their who speak richness and depth into their children’s lives.