Fathering | Choose dad time over work time

June 29, 2013 

It was the first “raft night” of the summer at the Science Park Recreation Association, and our kids were pumped. I chose to stay home and get caught up on my work emails. When the kids came home and talked about how much fun they had, I knew I made a bad choice.

As fathers, we can’t slow our kids down from growing up so fast, but we can choose to maximize the time we spend with them. Yes, there are times when I don’t have a choice — when there’s a work function that I’m obligated to attend. But there are many other times when the choice is mine — no immediate deadlines or mandatory work functions — but rather a choice I make to catch up on work.

When the kids are all grown up, I know I will look back on those choices with an aching heart and major regret. With a daughter now in high school, I vowed to myself that I would choose “dad time” over “work time” from this point on, whenever I have the choice.

Action ideas:

• Think back to the choices your dad made. Did he mostly choose work over family or family over work?

• Think about the choices you tend to make and whether there are any adjustments you can make in the future to increase dad time.

• Get in the habit of asking yourself if you really need to work before missing out on dad time.

The local fathering effort, in cooperation with the National Center for Fathering, provides biweekly Action Ideas to stimulate conversation between fathers and parents. For more information, or to join local conversations, contact David Eggebeen at e5x@psu.edu, Mick Trombley at mick@micktrombley.com, Robert Orndorff at rmo104@psu.edu, Chris Dufour at chrisdufour19@gmail.com, or Marc McCann at marc.mccann88@arrow.com.

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