These last few weeks, I celebrated the birthday of my oldest daughter (now 6) and my youngest (she just turned 1). It’s crazy to think that it was only a few days ago my oldest was turning 1 (at least it feels that way). There is no better reminder than this that time with my children is flying by. If I am not careful, I will miss out on the precious few years that I have with my children before I am old and boring. For now, I am Superman. I can push my children on the swing with a finger. I can cool down an entire dinner with a single breath. I can read those strange markings on picture books called “words.” I am a hero to my girls. What a fool I would be to sacrifice these precious moments I have with them.
I have a friend that travels a lot for work. He brings a video game console with him on the road for when he is finished with the work day. Being a video gamer myself, I often think about how relaxing it would be to get away from it all and veg until I turn into a human slushee. I imagine soaking in hours of downtime doing the things I did before real life set in and I had to start taking care of more than just myself. Thankfully, my friend is able to handle this temptation better than I ever would. I confess that I don’t know how depraved I would be if I were in his shoes. Even now, I have to be very careful not to get too carried away in my passions.
There are a lot of things that I could be pursuing right now. I could make more money. I could get lost in a life of adventure. I could conquer the world! But, will I always be Superman? The answer is yes and no. No, I won’t always be the strong, smart man that my daughters still see me as today. Soon, they will look to another man to be their hero, and I will be fortunate if I get a call from them at least once a week. However, it is true that, if I invest in my relationship with them now, my children will learn to trust me. They will feel safe to come to me when times are hard or confusing. Either way I look at it, I will be doing myself and my family a service by staying involved. I don’t want to be one of those dads that feels regret when my girls start living on their own. I want to cry because I’m proud of my girls at their wedding, and not because I realized I don’t know the women that I am walking down the aisle.
If what I am saying stirs up something inside of you, then don’t ignore it. Us dads, we are meant to be more than just financial providers. We are a crucial part of the lives of our children. They need us now more than ever. I know it takes time to go to sporting events, band concerts, and parent teacher conferences. It’s hard to sit through the hundredth round of duck-duck-goose. Sometimes we just don’t feel like we have it in us. Trust me, I get exhausted with all the responsibilities that come with being a dad. All the events and holidays and “opportunities for quality time” feel like they can really suck the life out of a man. But listen close; heed my words- we cannot afford to miss these times. Let us not be one of those men that end their life with wealth and a guilty conscience. If you do not live with your children or if there are other complications keeping you from being present, then you might need to be extra conscientious about the time you have with them. It’s possible that some of you that I am sharing with have a strained relationship with your child, whether by choice or not. Don’t let obstacles get in the way of being your children’s Superman. Do all that you can to be there for them. We don’t have forever, but we do have today.
Brian Faust is the Fatherhood Program Coordinator of Rock Solid Fatherhood in Warsaw, IN. He is the husband of the world’s best wife and father of three beautiful girls. He has nearly a decade of mentorship and mental health experience. Brian has a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Grace College. It is his desire to come alongside men of all walks of life as they embrace their role as partner and father with rock solid strength.