Walking in the Door
I know of no more encouraging
fact than the unquestionable ability of man to
elevate his life by conscious endeavor.
-Henry David Thoreau
As I came through the door after a challenging
day of work, the tornado began. Daddys
home! My kids wanted to share their day and
their artwork, and my wife wanted to share how
difficult her day had been.
I wanted to lie down on the couch and be left
And this same scenario is happening all over the
country with fathers (or mothers) and their
families. Families are converging on each other at
the end of the day with wildly different needs and
moods. The result can be hurt feelings and distance
between family members.
Working parents often come home filled with
stress and problems from the workplace.
Theyre in a fix-it mentality and
theyre looking for some time to unwind before
facing the brunt of their families.
Your kids, however, dont care much about
your work stress. They want a father who notices
them and whos excited to see them. Every
little thing you do is noticed by your
childrenyour facial expression, the way you
hang up your coat, and the way you greet them. The
question underlying all of this:Will daddy be
here for me tonight?
As a former athlete, I remember the preparation
before competing that would put me in the right
state to play at the highest level.
We would visualize the game unfolding before us
and spend some quiet time increasing our ability to
relax and stay focused. When the game began, we
were ready to play, largely because we had tuned
into our bodies and created that readiness.
What kind of preparation do most of us put into
our parenting role when we come home from work at
night? Do we ready ourselves for being fully
present to our kids and our spouse? Are we
enthusiastic when we see them or are we consumed by
our own issues?
Here are five ideas for readying yourself for
your family when you come home at night:
1. Develop a ritual. It might be reading
a prepared paragraph that youve written about
being ready or having a moment of silence to help
you go from work mode to home mode. Find something
that reminds you of the daily discipline necessary
to be your best when you come home to your
2. Find out what your family needs from
you. Its hard to know how to make things
work when you come home if you dont know what
people need from you. If you dont know, ask
them! The chances are good that theyll want
to share their day with you. While things will
vary, it helps to have a sense of how much each
person needs from you after you walk in the
3. Let your family know what you need. If
you need to have some time for yourself, let your
family know what you need so they dont feel
left out. After your done taking your time, give
them the welcome they deserve.
4. Use the ride home as a way to unwind.
Using the ride home to prepare for life at home
allows you a defined amount of time to shift from
work mode to home mode. Use some deep breathing--
with each breathe you become more relaxed and more
focused on the needs at home.
5. Remember how easily we can shift away from
the drama of work,
Its easy to become overwhelmed by the
emotions and thoughts that are produced from our
jobs. But the truth is that we can shift our
thoughts and feelings away from work quite readily
if we practice it. Work can be overwhelming, our
reactions to it dont have to be. You bring
home a message every nightwhats
truly important in my life? Your kids will
get this message loud and clear.
© 2008 Mark
Other Father Issues,
* * *
To this day I can remember my father's
voice, singing over me in the stillness of the
night. - Carl G. Jung
a Masters degree in counseling psychology and has
been a counselor, business consultant, sports
counselor, and a certified life and business coach.
He has worked with individuals, teams, and
businesses to improve their performance for over 20
years. Prior to life and business coaching Mark was
a world-ranked professional tennis player and has
coached other world-ranked athletes. He has helped
hundreds of individuals to implement his coaching
techniques. Mark specializes in coaching men to
balance their lives and to improve the important
relationships in their lives. He is the author of
the popular e-books, 25
Secrets of Emotionally Intelligent
Your Wife in 30 Days or Less (And Improve Yourself
at the Same Time
Mark is also the publisher of the Dads
Dont Fix your Kids ezine for fathers.
To sign up, go to www.markbrandenburg.com
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