Our time is extremely valuable.
The average life expectancy for humans in America is right around 70-80 years old. If you’re reading this blog, there’s a good chance you’re already halfway there or further. As you think about this, consider where your priorities lie. What value do you place on your time, and where do you spend the most of it?
A serious topic came up in one of my mastermind groups recently. This is about something that is of utmost importance: Your children. Whether you’re a father, a grandfather, or a yet-to-be parent, this is a topic worthy of your attention.
In my mastermind group, one of the members told a story that brought a tear to my eye. He told us that his eight-year-old son came up to him and said “Dad, I thought summers were going to be fun!” His dad looked at him and said “What do you mean?” The child answered “Well, I thought we were going to ride bikes. I thought we were going to go fishing. I thought we were going to go hiking. We haven’t done any of that.” He continued “And all mom does is clean the house and cook.”
As my friend told us about this conversation with his son, he got choked up. It got all of us a little choked up because it was such a real moment. The truth is, this type of conversation is going on in homes everywhere. One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is sacrificing valuable time with their families to put more time into their business. Let me tell you something; there’s nothing more important than your kids.
Listen, as an entrepreneur I know how significant the need is to put hard work into your business. And you need to keep your house clean, and stay on top of appointments. I understand that. What I’m saying is that we need to evaluate what percentage of our time we spend with our children and we need to figure out what we can do to increase that percentage.
You need to make yourself available to your children. You need to teach them important lessons about life, and you need to lead by example. Practice what you preach so that they don’t lose trust in you. Tell them you want to do something fun with them, and follow through with it. I have two daughters in their 30s and five grandchildren. I know how important it is to show them they can trust you at a young age, and let them know that you’re there for them and can guide them through the important topics in their teenage years and even as they continue into their adult lives.
What could be more important than my son?
Bob Warren, my spiritual mentor, taught me a valuable lesson about priorities. When I visited him in Hardin, Kentucky, and helped him do some construction work on some of his buildings, he showed me by example how he put his family first.
Any time his son, Benjamin, would go up to him to ask a question, Bob would stop what he was doing. He would put down his tools, sit down on a bench and say, “What is it Benjamin?” He gave his undivided attention to his son and answered his questions because he knew the value of showing his son that he was important. When I told Bob I had never seen a dad take that kind of time and focus to interact with his kids, and asked him why he did that, he said “My goodness! What could be more important than my son?” That moment made a profound impression on me and I still think about it to this day.
What I want you to do is evaluate what you’re doing with your time this summer. How much time are you spending inside? Have you ever taken a day to shut off all the electronics and take the kids outside to go swimming, play with water balloons, or just run around outside and enjoy the summer weather?
I want you to spend time with your children. I want you to really honor the things that are the most important.Do you have the courage to go home and gather your family together and say, “You know what kids, we're coming together as a family. Mom and Dad don’t have all the answers. We make mistakes, and we’ve had errors in judgement. Nobody is perfect, but we can figure things out as a family. We don’t want to put anything ahead of the time that we spend with you. We want you to believe what we teach you. We want to invest our time with you because we love you.”
Trust me, you don’t want your kids to grow up and only come back to see you on Thanksgiving and Christmas. I've seen this happen to people time and time again. People that I coach come to me now and say, “I don't know how to get my relationship back.” Well, that’s because they didn’t invest enough time in the relationship.
Please, do not let money or anything else take the rightful place of your relationship with your kids.
I promise you, if you do the things I'm telling you to do the long-term dividends that they pay will be immeasurable. You will develop a lifelong friendship with your kids and some day they will come to you and thank you for that. You know how you spell love? T-I-M-E.
Show your kids that you love them by spending some time with them today.