A Dad’s Influence (#76)

Years ago, Natan Parsons, a mentor and colleague, told me that he knew his kids would do stupid things and make bad decisions, but that was all part of life. Ultimately, he only cared if they were “good people” who contributed positively to society in some way. For him, it was about core values, first and foremost and this is where he chose to fight his battles, especially in the context of his own hard-fought battle with cancer.

I am often reminded of this lesson, such as last week when I argued with my teenage daughter about her Instagram use and messy room, only to then have her ask me to donate half of the money she made selling t-shirts to benefit the victims of the Manchester, UK bombing. Sometimes we overlook the forest for the trees.

I have found one of the most powerful aspects of being a father is seeing the world through the eyes of my children. That lens has become a critical filter for decision making and thinking about the examples I want to set. It also serves to remind us that the “do as I say, not as I do” method of parenting or leadership will eventually hit a wall. My kids have become quite good at pointing out my own hypocrisies (i.e. “Dad, put your phone down!”).

Thus far, the most shared Friday Forward has been on the false premise of work life balance; the notion that we should be able to perfectly balance our personal and professional responsibilities. Rather than balance, I believe what we really want is the ability to be truly present in our work and in our lives outside work—especially with our families. This includes having meaningful, uninterrupted, “all in” experiences.

Scott Weiss, founder of IronPort, wrote a great article related to this titled, “My Success at Work Made Me a Failure at Home.” In it, he shares some practical advice from his own experience trying to “do it all,” which included four principals for better engaging with his family.

  1. Disconnect to Connect
  2. Planning & Priorities
  3. Communication
  4. Participation

For many of us, being a dad will be the most important and impactful job that we ever have. Happy Father’s Day to my own dad and to all the dads out there who are helping to shape future generations.

Quote of the Week

“A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove… but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.”

Forest E. Witcraft (scholar and teacher)

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