I lost my Father on September 9, 2004.
At only 15 years old, my father, soccer coach, friend, and hero was gone. I really didn’t know what would happen after that. I’m the youngest in my family, but I was the only man in the household. Let me tell you, I felt a lot of pressure to help my family.
Through this experience, I learned that the influence of a father is tough to replace, and nobody should feel the pressure of filling up that space in anybody’s life. It is our responsibility as fathers.
2017 – The role of a father
When I created Lifedge almost 5 years ago, my wife was pregnant with our first child. I didn’t even know how to change a diaper, much less how to raise my kid. To be honest, I felt overwhelmed. As the youngest in my family, I felt like I wasn’t prepared for caring for a baby.
And then… the worst-case scenario happened. My wife got really sick and had to have an emergency c-section at 33 weeks. Little Oscar Gabriel was born on May 17, 2017. I can still remember the first time I saw him. He was in an incubator as a 33-week-old baby. They told me to touch him, and I couldn’t even react. I was shocked.
Leaving my wife in the recovery room, I went with Gabe to his room at the Helen DeVos Hospital. I still remember asking the nurses: “What can I do? It’s my first baby.” I’d never held a baby before in my life, and right in front of me was the most delicate baby, one that barely just covered the palm of my hand. Still, I felt the peace of God, saying, “Do not worry, he is alive, your wife is doing great, and I got you. I will show you how to raise your kids.”
Fast forward 5 years
I have a 5-year-old son (Gabe), 3-year-old daughter (Finley), and 1-year-old daughter (Adrielle). I couldn’t be happier. Being a father hasn’t been easy, but it has been worth it, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
The Bible tells us in Psalm 127:3 that “Children are a gift from the Lord, they are a reward from Him.”
But why am I sharing all of this with you today?
I’m telling you my story because I want to challenge all of us fathers. Let me tell you something: there is nothing, nothing that can replace the love and opportunity and influence of a father to be present and speak life to your own family. Family is first and should be first on our list of priorities for the day.
Our wives and children are more important than our work, success, closed deals, and the job being done. It’s not easy. It’s a daily challenge of changing your mindset, changing your attitude, and changing your priorities to put your kids (and wife) first.
10 challenges and thoughts on becoming a better dad today:
- Being a present father is the single most crucial position you have. The truth is, you are replaceable in every other position you have. At home, you can never be replaced.
- Live for them, not for yourself, your clients, or your business.
- Establish boundaries for your other responsibilities. There will always be another day to do tasks, but there could be no more days with your child.
- If your father’s still alive, go give him a hug for me. Maybe you need to forgive him, perhaps you need to love him more, or perhaps you need to spend more time with him. Whatever it is, just go and do it for those of us who don’t have our father with us anymore.
- Be and act like your kids’ superhero. They believe you are, so it is time for us fathers to think and ACT like it.
- If you want your child’s best, stay connected with them. Be present. Involved dads have a direct impact on their children’s future.
- Ask this question at the beginning of every day: “If this were the second time I were living this day, what would I do differently?” I guarantee that this will change your mindset and remind you to spend more time with your family.
- I know this can’t necessarily happen every day, but do your best to put your computer down and forget about work as soon as you get home. Spend time with your family. Don’t take your laptop on family vacations.
- Take your kids with you everywhere you can and teach them about what you know. They trust you, so use that influence for good. Spend time intentionally with them.
- It’s okay to not know how to raise your children. What’s not okay is to stay like that.
My favorite Christian resources on fatherhood
- The Bible – the best resource for serving others (including your children) that has ever been written.
- Family Discipleship by Matt Chandler
- Habits of a Household by Justin Whitmel
- Leadership and Parenting, Part 1 Podcast by Andy Stanley
- Leadership and Parenting, Part 2 Podcast by Andy Stanley
- Parenting with Love and Logic
- Prayers for My Son and/or Daughter
- 88 Great Daddy-Daughter Dates
5 social media ideas for Father’s Day
Stumped about how to celebrate Father’s Day on your social media channels? Here are 5 ideas:
- Celebrate Father’s Day by sharing what your business can do specifically for dads (this could be a product of service).
- Engage with your audience by asking them a question. For example, “What do you think is the best part of being a dad?”
- Make it personal. Help your audience connect with you by sharing a personal story, thought, or picture relating to dads.
- Share a list of ways to make Father’s Day special.
- Host a Father’s Day giveaway or contest to expand your audience.