Today, I had a long day. When I came home, I really did not want to give, I just wanted to crash. But as I walked up the stairs I could hear my wife say, “Daddy’s home…” and my boys started cheering like I was Reggie Jackson in October.
There were no if’s about it – I was home and my boys wanted to play with me. So, I scarfed down my food as I talked to them, got down on my knees and played with my little guys, gave them their baths and put them to bed about an hour and a half later.
I am still exhausted and there is always more work to do. But for that hour and a half, life was good. I had no pains, no work, no bills, just their joy.
As a dad, I think the biggest gift I get from my sons is seeing the world through their eyes everyday. Could I just shut down when I get home? Throw the TV on, push my kids on to my wife? sure. We all can, and I used to have those days. But I chose to live a life of “no ifs” especially when it comes to my boys.
What are these “ifs” – how about these:
- If I had more time I would play with my kids
- If I could leave work earlier I would see my kids more
- If there was money in the bank we could have fun
- If I was better educated I would teach them more
- If I had more energy I would play with you
…and the list goes on. Living with “ifs” in our hearts can lead to a lot of detachment and bitterness. Let’s not wait for life to slow down to our pace, let’s catch up and take whatever life gives us. We will have plenty of time to rest, when the long sleep comes – til then, live with no “ifs”
5 ways to live without “if’s”:
- Set aside time with your children before bedtime, it won’t kill them to go to bed 15 minutes late and have some time with you. Reading time with your kids is a very special moment that they will treasure for years.
- We can’t leave work early everyday, but can you once or twice a week? If not, plan your vacation in advance and take advantage of days off – spend it with your kids or other families, not glued to the TV, Computer or six-pack.
- There are so many free things to do, parks, hikes, free days at museums and zoos. Don’t avoid things because you never did them. Try something new – and try something free. For your kids, it will be an awesome new experience, and you never know – you may like it. I never hiked until I moved out here – now i love it – and it is FREE!
- If you feel self-conscious of your reading skills, play with cars, tell stories, or learn to read together. Show your kids that it is never too late to face a challenge.
- Sleep when they sleep! After a hike, they will be so tired out. A nice nap time will do the family good.
- Set a family fun budget – think simple, pack lunch, take mass transit, lower the costs of going out buy participating in group discounts and special events.
Thanks to fatherhood.org for inspiring this post with their “no if’s” bracelet. It is a great reminder about what I signed up for when I became a dad. Frankly, my screaming kids are enough of a reminder, but the motto – “no if’s” really says it all.