Do you have a hobby? Do you golf, workout, hunt, bowl, or paint? I have been a musician most of my life. I LOVED playing live and hanging with my bandmates. Unfortunately, it became a part of my life that I could have used to spend more time with my kids. I’m not saying that hobbies in of themselves are bad, but your time with kids is more important. Does your hobby cause stress at home, fights with the Mrs., or incur an expense that could be better used to help the family? If so, I want to encourage a change.
Let’s say that you are going to live for 75 years. Optimistically with today’s medical advancement, probably more. However, let’s just say 75 years. Having a child in your home until they are 18 years old is only 24% of your life. You have 76% of your life to do you if you want to put it in those terms. If 76% of just you is not enough, perhaps you could develop a hobby that coordinates with or for your children.
I really only knew 2 things, music, and soccer. My oldest son gravitated to music. My younger 2 towards sports. This was fortunate for me. I had something I could contribute towards both of them. However, the band thing that I wanted to do was more exclusive than inclusive. Kids have a way of being a “buzzkill” for bandmates that don’t have kids. This is not to mention the late hours and traveling that can accommodate such hobbies.
I decided to step away from band life. I jumped into coaching with my younger 2 kids, while playing music with my oldest son in church and helping him with some of his music writing. This transformed who I was, and what I was. Chances were that I was never going to build a better life them the way I was. Now we were doing life together, and it was awesome. It was so much more fulfilling. In addition to this, it GREATLY improved my relationship with my wife.
Love is about time. You can be the best golfer, biker, tennis player, or out of shape church league softball team member, but if you suck at being a dad none of your “victories” and/or achievements will mean much later in life. You will never be more famous than in the embrace and heart of your kids. Thousands can chant your name. It will never compare to how your children feel about you.
What if you don’t have the knowledge or skills that it takes to be incorporated into your child’s activities? Start from where you are? Can you learn? Even a consistent effort is viewed as a cool thing to your children. Talk to them. If there are no hobbies or passions in place and active, search one out. Learn how to do something new together.
Many dads have crazy work schedules. I understand that and God bless those of you that do what it takes to provide. I would like to submit that I believe kids have a formula in their heads that allows for that. However, it is the time “you have” that counts. What do you do when you CAN be with them? For you workaholics out there, kids have really good b.s. meters. Don’t try to justify yourself. When there is an opportunity for family, what do you choose? I use to choose the band. You know those guys. The… I’m never gonna make it big anyway but I gonna waste precious time and money to try to convince myself that I am or could… You get it.
Hobbies can be a wonderful tool to get the family together. Some people have many hobbies. The important take away from this is your time. Does your hobby promote time with and for your kids? Does your hobby tell your kids that you prioritize them? I encourage you to dive in and incorporate your kids or begin a new journey together.
For me, the ironic part of all this is my kids, now that they have left home, they are encouraging me to do music again. I’m not going to try the “band” stuff anymore, but my church has an amazing program. So last week I booked an audition to be part of their program…and made it. Guys…you have plenty of time for you. I pray that while your kids are at home, don’t focus on yourself. Don’t be selfish with your time. Give of yourself to your kids. Be the best dad possible.