One weekend last June, I was scheduled to be traveling on the east coast for some meetings, speaking engagements, and quite a few interviews. June is always a busy time for us here at the Center, and so on that trip I arranged to take my bride Melanie and my son Chance along with me.
We were staying in a hotel, and one day I had to get up early to appear on a morning show on one of the cable news networks. It was a great opportunity, and the interview seemed to go pretty well.
Later, Melanie told me what happened in the hotel room while I was gone. She tuned in to the program, but Chance was still dozing in bed. When they started the interview and introduced me, she said, “Hey, Chance, your dad’s going to be on. Don’t you want to see your dad on TV?” My boy rolled over, opened one eye for a few seconds, and said, “Oh … yeah.” Then he closed his eye and went back to sleep. Here I thought I was something special, and my son wouldn’t sit up and open his eyes long enough to see me on TV!
For me, besides the lesson in humility, that day drove home the truth that kids aren’t impressed by all the trappings of success that we sometimes get caught up with. They just want their dads; they want time together and regular demonstrations of our love and commitment.
What about you, dad? What’s the best way for you to impress your child — really make him think you’re great? Are you bringing home a six-figure salary? Are you walking through airports and ducking into coffee shops, talking away on your cell phone, cutting deals and setting up important meetings? Are people impressed to see what you get done and how well you do it? Don’t feel bad about that; make sure you do your best and take care of your business. But make sure you’re doing the same at home. That’s where you do your most important interviews and make your highest-value transactions.
At the end of the day (and the beginning and all throughout the day) our children are our most important clients and customers. They are the ones we should be seeking to impress.
- Give your child one of your business cards or another work-related item. Talk about some of the reasons why you do what you do, that providing for his or her needs is a big part of it. Read more about why “father” is your most important title.
- Commit a few hours or an entire day to be with your child. Let him choose all the activities.
- Make sure your child knows she can reach you any time she needs you — by phone, email, text, whatever works best for both of you.
- In the coming weeks, approach your relationship with your child as if you’re trying to win over a new business client. Be polite and accommodating. Do whatever you reasonably can to impress him and build a strong connection.
- Have you made plans for all your remaining vacation days this year? If not, set aside one or two days when you can do something fun with your kids — even if things are really busy at work.
- Enlist other dads who will confront you when necessary as you strive to live out key priorities.