I was talking and praying with a man recently about his 17 year old daughter. It seems they just couldn’t talk about things without a skirmish developing. The skirmish would negate anything he was trying to say, so a communication gap developed.
I asked him a simple question, and I pass it on to you as a great tip for fathering…
In the US, on a national average, dads personally and directly communicate with their kids 35 seconds a day. And, kids will spend 35 hours a week engaged in media, tv, video games. That’s 35 hours a week versus 35 seconds a day.
Consider what Christian men’s leader Bob Hamrin wrote in a recent column: “If you spend one hour per week in one-on-one time with your child from the time he or she is born up to age 18, the total amount of time you will spend with them, is 39 days.”
Now, to my friend’s communication issue. We are all on a busy, sometimes very tight schedule, so we tend to run our lives according to a schedule or an agenda.
I asked my friend a very important question. When you get with your daughter, do you usually have an agenda or specific issue to solve? Or, are you just hanging out?
This was an EXTREMELY busy dad, who wanted to be a good dad. Because of his work responsibilities, church, clubs, other family plans, he usually got together with his daughter for a specific reason. They did fun things as a family…but never just with her. When he did pull her aside, it usually had a purpose...an agenda.
I said, "Kids don’t run their lives on an agenda, they just run. Whatever comes up next, that’s what they’re doing.”
When he saw that, it turned a light on. A revelation happened. He resolved to change, to invest time in the relationship, not just be the family CEO with performance goals.
We spoke again a few weeks later. Just making this little change in the time they spent together had made a huge change in their relationship. The walls of resistance were coming down. The levels of understanding were going up.
Kids don’t need perfect parents, just engaged parents who love them, pray for them, protect them and guide them into truth. You are raising a champion for God! And sometimes you just need to hang out with the champion.