My son, which is my 3-year-old mini-me, has been a gift and joy to me since he was born. He’s adventurous, witty, daring, and wants to wrestle multiple times a day. What strikes me is how similar we are in so many ways. He is my twin with the only difference being that he’s more outgoing then I was as a child. I attribute it to him being more active than I and having more of my support as his father, which was not something I had at his age. Nonetheless, he teaches me something new daily. He helps me to see things about myself that I’ve never thought of or things I never realized. On this particular day he taught me something that I will carry for the rest of my life.
I work from home. It has its highs and lows, but the highs definitely outweigh the lows. One of the greatest highs is the opportunity to be present in my home. I see my children daily, and we can spend the day together. We’re homeschooling our children, so we will get a lot of time together. And that’s a good thing. One of the many disadvantages about working from home is being able to be disturbed easily. My office is on the same level of the house as my children’s playroom. This means I am interrupted a lot. There’s nothing like being on an important conference call and your son bursts in the room to announce that he has pooped and needs someone to wipe his butt. Those moments are both embarrassing and priceless.
This particular day changed how I saw things in my relationship with him. While working in my office my son burst through the door like he always does. And I don’t want you to think my office is off limits to my children. They have access to me at all times no matter what I am doing or whom I am with. They take full advantage of it. On the day in question my son bursts in my office and lets me know that he wants me to play with him. Unfortunately I had deadlines to meet. It was important that I finished the project by 6pm that afternoon. It was 4pm when he burst in my office. I felt the pressure of what would happen if I did not finish. Having my son stare me down did not help the anxiety. I sat behind my desk fully focused on what I was doing. I looked over to see my 3-year-old son standing in front of me with his head down. He had his little lip stuck out. He was pouting. He continued to ask me over and over to play with him. I was fully focused on my work though. I told him I needed to finish my project. He turned away from me and proceeded to walk out the door. It was not five minutes after he left that I was convicted. The question I had to ask myself was, “What’s more important?” It was in that moment that I chose my work over my child. I put my assignment over him. That is never how I want my child, or family for that matter, to feel. I don’t want them to think they come behind anything. I quickly put my computer to the side, got up, and proceeded to go play with my son. I had to realize that I remembered those moments when I desperately desired for my dad to play with me as a child. I couldn't dare put my son through that same feeling.
My challenge for you is be present in every moment of your life. Take a day to ask yourself what’s more important. Consider all of your activities. Ask yourself what are you giving more value to. What are you choosing over your family? What’s more important? I know what it is like to feel like you’re not valuable because it seemed like your father chose something or someone else over you. That is not a good feeling at all. I believe many of my insecurities are a result of it. You may have a similar story. Please don’t allow the cycle to continue. Ask yourself what and who is more important in your life. Value them. Love on them. Give to them. Be present with them. Be active with them. As for me, I had to get up from my desk and wrestle with my son. After I allowed him to beat me a few times I took time to affirm him. I needed him to know that my work—no matter what it is—will never be more important than he. That goes for my wife and daughter as well. So, what or who is more important to you?