When I was a kid, the local fire department used to bring “Smokie The Bear” to our school and talk to us about preventing fires. One of the lessons he taught us was that if we ever caught on fire we should stop, drop and roll. This was the quickest and best way to possibly put the fire out before any damage was done.
Coming out of Father’s Day, I thought I would take the time to say a word to young dads. As a Dad of 4 kids ranging from 6 years old to 17 years old this is one of the most practical lessons I have learned about fatherhood. Most Dads are very busy trying to juggle all of the responsibilities of life. Sometimes it is hard to put work aside when you walk in the house at the end of the day.
No matter what happens at work it is important that when you go home your family knows that they are the most important people in your life and that you have time for them.
Take time to STOP when you pull in the driveway and try to clear your mind. Work will be there the next day (or even later on that evening if you have to take it home with you). Shift your thoughts on how you are going to greet them when you walk in the door. If your kids are young it is very likely they might still run to the door screaming, “Daddy’s home!” There is nothing like it!
Take time to DROP. Even if you have to take work home with you…take a break. Drop what you are doing. Be ready to engage! Focus your attention on your family. Show genuine interest in how their day was. Give them a hug and let them know you love them!
Take time to ROLL. Get down on their level. Play with them. Draw with them. Listen to their music. Have a conversation. Wrestle with them! Even if you only have 30 minutes before you need to “plug back in” or “put out a fire” at work – give them that time. It will go a long way.
A friend once told me that the amount of time you spend chasing your kids when they are young will often determine the amount of time they spend chasing you when you they are grown.
Your work is very important, but remember that you will never retire from being a father! You don’t need to be perfect – but you can certainly be present.
Be the best Dad that you can be. When you get home tonight – STOP, DROP and ROLL. It might just put out a fire before any damage is done!
Jason Ellerbrook – President and Owner – Engage Media Partners