I wish that I could say that I am a great dad, but sometimes I think that I am not all that good of a dad. Just the other day, I was getting on to my oldest son for doing something that I had already asked him not to do. Something occurred to me: I had already told him several times not to do that very thing. Of course, I began to speak with him about it, talk to him about it, lecture him about it and he just stared at me as if I was speaking a foreign language. Then I asked him a simple question that took quite a while for him to answer: “Why do you continually do the things that I tell you not to do?”
After a few minutes of waiting impatiently, I told him to give me an answer. His answer, “I just want your attention, dad.” Wham! Kapow! Bam! There it was! He spoke volumes to me in just six words. Then, when I saw the tears in his eyes begin to roll down his cheeks, I simply walked over to him, hugged him, and said, “Son, I love you and would not trade you for anything in the whole world.” He cried and it took everything in my being not to join him in crying. After we settled down, I told him to simply let me know when he is needing attention so I will not give him negative attention because sometimes I do not read very well when someone is needing my attention.
This is life, isn’t it? When you seem to think that everything is just fine there are truly problems just under the surface of what’s really happening around you. I tend to be so single-minded and focused on what I need to do that I forget those around me. I know, I know. You’re probably thinking that this is a jerky way for me to be, especially toward my own children. But cut me some slack, would you? I mean, I’m certainly not the only one who tends to be so focused on other things other than those around me.
My two sons and I have since been playing games everyday. I am trying my very best to play chess and cards, to play outside and ride bikes, to go hiking and camping with them on a consistent, regular basis. I am finding something out about myself: I’m really enjoying my two boys. Yes, they can get on my last good nerve still, but I get on their last good nerves as well. Yes, sometimes I have to get on them, and they have to get on me sometimes. Yes, I want to watch out for them and make sure that they’re doing the right thing, and that means that I need to give them attention that they need now. There will come a time when they may no longer want my attention if all it is negative attention.
I am thankful to God that He gave me my two sons to teach me what needs to change in my own life. Pay attention, dads, to your kids.