I did not enjoy my children as I wish I could have because of time absorption in earning a living. I missed some of the emotional satisfaction that I’m finding with my grandson.
– From The Encyclopedia of Christian Parenting.
When I first read this quote, I was struck but the author’s blunt honesty. As dads, we get so caught up with being the provider that we often miss out on the emotional aspects of child rearing.
Grandparents have the luxury of hindsight. Having seen their mistakes as parents, they want to pass on a richer experience to their grandchildren by doling out an abundance of love and doting. Of course we parents call this spoiling, but there are a few things that we can learn from grandparents:
- They make every moment with their grandchildren count
- They surprise their grandchildren with special gifts
- They give their grandchildren unconditional love
- They make their grandchildren feel special by really listening to what they have to say
Grandparents and grandchildren share a unique bond, one that parents and children will never share because we are the ones who have to administer discipline. However, we can experience the emotional satisfaction of being fully engaged fathers by giving our children the thing they crave the most: our time.
One of my employees once told me that his daughter gets mad at him every time he volunteers for overtime. “I don’t get it,” he said. “I’m doing all of this to make life better for her.” I told him that she was upset because she wanted her daddy at home. The money didn’t matter to her. She only cared about the time away from her father.
My kids feel the same way. My job keeps me on the road for several days each month. The kids hate it when I tell them that daddy’s going out of town. I hate it too because I know that I can never reclaim the time I spend away. When I’m in town, I try to make the time special. I never want to say that “I did not enjoy my children as I wish I could have…”
So here is my advice to all dads: Stop spending so much time earning a living and earn a life by connecting with your children. Don’t wait until you’re a grandparent to experience the joy of being a grandparent.
Question: What role do your children’s grandparents play in their lives?