Taking An Honest Look
Dave (not his real name) is a 42 year-old father of
three. Hes married, and he owns his own
Dave became a client of mine because his wife
complained that he wasnt there
much of the time, and that he was becoming more
distant from her and the children. She told Dave
that if things didnt improve, she would
consider a divorce.
When we started working together, I had Dave
write up a list of things he wanted in his life.
The list was long and impressive, and included
things like writing a book, traveling extensively,
learning to fly a plane, and building his own car.
When I pointed out to Dave that his list
didnt include anything about his children, he
paused for a long time.
Somethings wrong with this, he
Indeed, something was wrong.
Dave was guilty of doing something thats
increasingly common, in an age when Americans are
working more than ever before. Dave had become
overly focused on his job. And when things at home
became stressful, he slowly began to check
out. He spent less and less time with his
kids. And when he was with them, he often thought
about work issues.
Dave wasnt too different than millions of
other American men, who learned the
values of independence and emotional
distance while growing up. Hed learned a
philosophy that stressed hard work, and being
smarter than the other guy. And he learned to fool
himself into believing that providing financial
security for his family was enough.
It wasnt nearly enough.
What he hadnt learned was what his family
needed from him, and how he could provide for them
emotionally. This took some time, but Dave began to
realize how far hed moved away from his
family, and how much damage this had done. We
worked on a new list, and this time Dave included
goals that involved his children. Slowly, Dave
began to live into the goals hed
set with his kids. After four months, hed
strengthened his marriage, developed some intimacy
with his children, and felt like part of the family
Dave changed his life when he took an honest
look at his role in his family, and when he
specifically defined success for himself with his
children. Working with Dave and other parents has
allowed me to see the value in setting specific
goals with family members. Its also made me
question why more of us dont create this
specific vision for our own families. After all,
havent we learned the importance of setting
our goals and priorities in a specific way in our
businesses? Is there a reason to avoid doing this
with our own families?
I took some time to write down some of my family
goals to live into during the next ten
years or so:
- To continue to grow and learn in my
marriage, and to remember my tendency to want to
be right. Instead, Ill work on
being kindto both my wife and my kids.
- To tell my kids I love them, no matter what
age they are.
- To have consistent family rituals, and to
eat family dinners together 3-4 times each week.
- To have kids that are unafraid to come to me
with their problems, no matter how serious they
- To teach my kids to love themselves
- To be a great listener to my kids
- To laugh often and loudly with my kids
- To always be able to hug my kids, no matter
what age they are.
- To have the courage and foresight to say
no to my kids often
- To teach them that only two things matter in
the world: loving each other, and the search for
How about your list? Are you concerned about the
future of your family? Are there specific things
youd like to see? If so, step up, write your
goals down, and start making them happen.
Writing your goals down may only take a few
Your busy life can handle that, cant
© 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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