A turning point in my life was the day I heard the judge’s final resolution in my marriage, and I learned my daughter would not be in my personal custody. I felt the pain of failure. What would I do? The court may have taken my child out of my custody, but not out of my heart. In fact, the feelings I experienced were as though someone cut me open and took a piece of my heart. Failure is one of the uglies of life. Once we ‘think’ we have failed at something, often we beat ourselves up over and over again. It was too late to change what happened in that courtroom, but I had to make this a new opportunity and make a difference by keeping a connection with my daughter.
Experiencing personal failure is not a requirement for being a successful Dad. However, realized failures can be stepping-stones. Even in the situation of being a part time Dad we have the ability to influence our children and we can do it with a full time heart.
A thermostat sets the temperature, a thermometer reflects the temperature. Too many Dads are thermometers… they reflect their child’s mood. If Susie is nice, they are nice. But if Susie is mean … well, you get the picture. Effective part time Dads are thermostats… setting the climate by how they react, or do not react, and with communication. One way we can set the thermostat is to consistently bless our child and speak positively over their lives and directly to them. I am a total believer in you get what you expect and what you continually talk about. The Bible tells us that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. Showing love and blessing our children with lots of hugs and loving touches along with prayer will make a difference.
Life circumstances may prevent a Dad from being with their children all the time, but speaking a blessing and praying for a covering is even more important in those situations where you are not with them every single day.
Getting a communication connection and keeping it is also a key in keeping the thermostat of life adjusted for a part time Dad. Just as the telephone commercial implies, we must often ask ourselves, can they hear me now? Or, better yet, are they listening now? Being heard and understood may seem a far-fetched dream for a part time Dad. We desire and pray to influence our children, but continually evaluate our attitude, our thoughts, and our actions toward our children. It is so very important to remember, actions often speak louder than words. But, actions and words together can communicate effectively and positively. The children take note on how their Dad handles themselves in good times and tough times. They learn better by example.
Our children are watching the ‘temperature’ Dad is setting. Even in part time situations you can become a Dad 4Life with a full time heart.
Keith M. Jowers