Confession time. I have been looking forward to Father’s day as I do every year, and today was certainly a good day. But I read a disturbing piece on the internet this morning about a father who came to his senses and realised that he had become obsessed with his various headships.
Even when watching his kids at sporting events he realised that he was begrudging the time spent, as he knew he had urgent reports to write. It had taken a wake-up call for him to realise that he had his priorities mis-aligned, and he had to work hard to rebuild his relationship with his own son.
This moved me for lots of reasons. Firstly, I am obsessed by helping children, and secondly as a teacher and latterly a business owner I know only too well how all-consuming this can become.
I was selfishly thinking (and even said out loud) that the best gift my kids could give me today was a couple of hours helping their mum with the gardening so that I could finish some urgent writing for my publisher. Seriously??!
And then I thought again. Instead of Fathers Day being a day to indulge fathers, perhaps it would be better used as a wake-up call for me to be just that – a father. So when my youngest said ‘Dad can we scoot to the park?’ today, the answer was “yes”. When my teenager said ‘Dad, can we go down the football club and have a kick around, the answer was “yes”. And they all came. Too often I confess that I would have said “No I have a big deadline for my publisher and they always want things urgently”.
The publisher will be around for decades to come. My children will only be children for a few more years. And while I value the relationship I have with my publisher, it is of no importance whatsoever compared to the relationship I have with my three sons.
This afternoon I rang my own father, who is gravely unwell, something I haven’t done for a while, as he is too ill to really talk to anyone. And while he wasn’t well enough to speak to me, I know that even the knowledge that I called will cheer him.
I am not a perfect father – only God can claim that I guess, but I am learning.
So if you read this and you work for my publisher – apologies in advance that it will be late Monday (rather than first thing as promised) before you get my stuff. But if you read this and you are my sons (I know you will probably never read this!) – you are worth it.