In two days, my little boy will be one. In a blink of an eye, he’s gone from a sweet newborn baby, to a crazy babbling toddler on the verge of taking steps of his own. My princess, now four, talks about her wedding day, what she wants to be when she grows up, and her favorite app of the day. I’m not quite sure where time went, but in a few blinks, life has moved on.
I’m a guilty one. I’m guilty of often putting work in front of my little angels. Guilty of often having my head buried in my email, on my phone tweeting the last article, or reading the latest post. I’m guilty of at times, missing the moment.
This morning, as we sped across the water on the way to our breakfast date, my little girl looked back at me and simply said, “Happy Father’s Day Daddy. I love you”, the greatest words any parent can hear. Words that will always stop my heart when said by my own children. I’m fortunate to have a wife that can stay home and devote her every moment to our babies, so I can be off doing what I love to do at work. But, I personally need to find a better balance.
I’ve realized how easy it is to get caught up in constantly being connected. I take pride in being responsive to people; working to return calls and emails in a matter of hours. I take pride in being connected to educators around the world. I take pride in my work at the Federal level. But, on this Father’s Day, looking into the eyes of my little girl, I’ve realized I need to step back. I’m overcommitted. I’m overconnected. I need to live for the moment, with them at the forefront, and do so every day. I need to be present for them and not just when my to-do list is done.
A few days after signing my first book contract, a week after booking my latest speaking engagement, I’m realizing that although I will continue to work as hard as I can to make a difference in the lives of children around the nation, I must always keep the lives of my own front and center. Over the past few years, I’ve written countless posts on leadership and modeling, many with thousands of pageviews; yet I’ve been hypocritical in not always modeling what I’ve deemed most important. As my babies grow, it’s becoming more and more evident that they really do watch every action and listen to every word. I want to be a great model for them. I want my little girl to see the qualities she’ll eventually want in a future husband; one of which I don’t think includes seemingly caring more about one’s phone or computer than time with her; something of which I’ve at times been guilty.
On this Father’s Day, I commit to always dancing with my girl. I commit to always playing trucks with my boy. Although the activities will change, my time with them must be my priority. Just as we must model in education what we want from our staff or our kids; I too must do a better job of modeling that for my baby girl and sweet little boy. When time looks back, they’ll hardly care about the number of books I’ve written, how many keynotes I’ve given, how many states I’ve worked with, nor how many followers I may have had on social media. They’ll care about the time I’ve spent with them, how I’ve made them feel, and how I’ve shown them love.
I’m ready to dance. I’m ready to play trucks. I’m ready to play Frozen for the 10th time today. I’m ready to step back so I can spend more time with my babies. In the big picture, no award, magazine article, book, or accomplishment at work will ever mean more to me than being a great dad.
Feeling humbled and blessed to be called daddy. Today and every day.