Jun 21 2009

Happy Father’s Day!


I’d like to take a small moment to wish all you dads out there (and especially mine!) a Happy Father’s Day!

I know many who don’t have fathers. I understand there are many who, because of the way they’ve been treated, wish they didn’t. I also know that, Gloria Steinem’s wrongly-attributed quote to the contrary, fathers are needed.

Me and the boys

Me and the boys

Hear that?

Men are needed. Imperfect, struggling, failing men are needed and they need to commit to being better and constantly striving to improve.

So how do you do that? You remember that it’s not about you. You remember to lavish the love on your family that maybe you wish you’d receive, in whatever form they best like it.

Here’s the kicker though…do it with no thought of what you’re going to get out of it. In doing so, you will demonstrate your generosity and unselfishness. You will teach your sons how to work at the business of combining marriage and career. You’ll show your daughters what genuine, self-sacrificing love looks like.

The President has some Father’s Day thoughts that I think are important to check out. I don’t agree with much that he says, but there are some gems in there…most notably the last paragraph.

On this Father’s Day, I am recommitting myself to that work, to those duties that all parents share: to build a foundation for our children’s dreams, to give them the love and support they need to fulfill them, and to stick with them the whole way through, no matter what doubts we may feel or difficulties we may face. That is my prayer for all of us on this Father’s Day, and that is my hope for this nation in the months and years ahead.

Makes good sense and I wish him the best in his endeavors. There are many people that see President Obama as a good example and his overall echoing of Dan Quayle’s sentiments from 20-odd years ago, that fathers matter, is still true (here’s the wiki article if you’re interested).

Go use this Father’s Day as a springboard for the rest of the year. Make this your resolution day that you’ll recommit to your wife. You’ll educate yourself. You’ll grow.

Jun 13 2009

What A Day


So you’ve had a crazy day at work, you missed your signpost on the way home, and you’re walking in the door just wanting to finally have some time for yourself…but you can’t. You get attacked by kids who haven’t seen you all day. You’re greeted by a frazzled wife whose common-use vocabulary has included the words “sippy cup” and “potty” and she’s been peeling back the curtains for an hour watching the road so she can finally get some of that adult conversation that she married you for…only you don’t have it any more because you’ve exhausted it on your coworkers/clients/bosses/subordinates.

What then?

Well, now you have some decisions to make. Do you retreat to your cave? Do you drag your day home with you? Do you clam up and internalize your thoughts? Do you skip going home altogether?

Here’s a revolutionary thought. The answer to all the above questions is “Yes.” Guys, sometimes you need to retreat after a long day. Sometimes you need to be still and mull things over before letting them out. Sometimes you need time at the end of the day spent with your buddies. This “yes” is a conditional “yes”, though. It’s not a constant “yes”. It’s a “yes, all those things must be done once in a while”, but they’re all contingent on a couple things that have got to happen:

First, you need to be transparent about your intentions. Your wife must know your plans prior to your execution of them and (here’s the kicker) she’s got to agree beforehand. I know some of you will gripe and moan and complain about asking the warden’s permission before going anywhere.  It’s not like that.  What’s at issue here is simple respect and some quick easy planning.  Give your wife the chance to talk before you act, and she’ll likely understand completely.

Second, in order for you to spend some of your You Time money, you need to have some savings in your Wife Time account.  In order for your wife to understand completely when you want to take off, she’s got to be happy and satisfied. If she has a pressing need for your company, she won’t be so willing to let you go.

Your wife’s main goal in dumping her day on you when you first get home is connection and closeness. She wants to reconnect with you, she wants to be with you, and she wants to know you love her…not just “until further notice”, but constantly. It’s your job as a husband to make that happen, so plan ahead. On the good days when you have the energy, get in the habit of making sure she knows you love her and you want to be with her too.

If you do that, you will be energizing her and saving up for the inevitable tough days when you both have nothing left. That way, they’ll just be little dips in the road instead of insurmountable chasms.