A Fathers New Year
by Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC
“The great man is he who does not lose his child's heart, the original good heart with which every man is born.” -- Mencius
It is a time in our history when it’s increasingly difficult to feel optimistic about the state of the world. And it’s a time of the year when we are flooded by the memories of the years past, and by the hope of a better year to come.
There is no better time than now to reflect on our life. And there is no better time to examine the state of our important relationships.
For when all of us turn around someday and look back at our lives, we will treasure most the memories and bonds we have with our loved ones. As Mencius stated, those who don’t lose their child’s heart have achieved one of life’s greatest callings, that of bonding with their children.
And if we are to heed this call to bond with our children, we must ask what our children really need from us.
In a survey of over 2,000 primary school-age kids by Fathers Direct, kids were very clear on what they wanted from their fathers. They did not want expensive holidays, new bikes, or computers.
They wanted their father’s time.
They wanted to play ball, to chat at bedtime, to get help with their homework, and to spend time “just hanging out” together. They wanted to be “known” and accepted by their fathers, and they wanted to know their fathers.
This can be difficult in a country in which, according to the Family and Work Institute, the average man works 49 hours per week, and the average woman works 43.5 hours per week. It’s difficult to do in a country in which a large majority of employees at American businesses (67%) say they don’t have enough time with their children.
It is interesting to note that what kids want from their fathers is the same thing that fathers want for their kids. And it is the same thing researchers say is best for kids. It is not just pockets of time devoted to the kids that we call “quality time.”
It is time, period.
And as you look ahead at the choices you’ll make about your family, what are your priorities? What would you like your relationship with your kids to look like?
For fathers who would like to keep their child’s heart, the choices will be clear.
And they’ll be clear to your children, who will remember them forever.
Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC, coaches fathers by phone to balance their life and improve their family relationships. He is an Instructor for the Academy for Coaching Parents
(www.acpi.biz), and the author of the “Secrets of Emotionally Intelligent Fathers”