Friday, March 10, 2006

Welcome Home, Daddy

When my kids were younger (and I worked outside of our home) they would nearly tackle me as I came in the front door at the end of their day. Their enthusiasm was often overwhelming. They genuinely missed me and were glad to have me home.

That feeling is a little harder to capture these days since I'm at home all the time. I work from home and so there is not the same joyful homecoming that there used to be when I worked outside the house. My kids still remind me how much they miss me by coming in to my office at the end of the day (they know exactly what time I should be finished with work). The bottom line is they want my undivided attention at the end of the day. They want to be able to tell me about what they learned or what they did or read about or saw on TV or whatever was important to them. If I've had a particularly difficult day I have trouble switching gears and focusing on what they want to share with me. Sometimes I have to ask them to give me a few minutes to regroup and then I'm reading to hear all about what they've been up to all day.

There are many days when the stress of work can be totally exhausting and overwhelming. It can sometimes be a little too much to be assaulted at the front door with shouts of "welcome home, Daddy". But those times are also really precious. I've also found they are some of the most important times I can spend with my kids. Those end of the day chats are their opportunity to allow me into their world and to see what's happening in their hearts. Those are also sometimes the most teachable moments: times when they really want or need Daddy's advice.

If you find homecomings to be a less than sweet times for you, ask yourself if there are things from your job that you are bringing home with you that might be best left behind. I did this by using the time during my commute home (regardless of how long or short it was) to consciously shift gears and be prepared to hear from my kids all about their day.

We have only a short amount of time as Dads to have an influence on our children. What better time to teach them than when they are ready to be taught? What better time to show them love than when they need to be loved? These moments are precious. We should treasure them while we can.

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