Two shiny dimes. They're sitting on the table, watching me write.
Do you remember your dimes from a few weeks ago? “These dimes are 20 minutes of your time that you're going to spend with your kids each day.”
Ah yes… those dimes.
How's your “two dimes” project going? Did you tape them to your mirror or put them in your pocket? Did they accidentally get spent for a coffee or land in a tip jar?
More importantly, are your dimes doing or are they still wanting?
A quick review
A few weeks ago, we talked about the difference between wanting and doing. Lots of people in the world -- myself included -- different things in in their lives. But just wanting something isn't enough. If it was, then we all would've won the lottery by now. (And I don't know about you, but I'm hopelessly overdue in that department.)
To get those new things that you want, you have to do things differently. You have to make different choices. You have to spend your time in different ways. You have to take action.
Translating that into the world of fatherhood, it's the difference between us wanting to be better dads versus us deliberately doing things that make us better dads.
Honest check-in time
So, my friend and fellow dad, how are you and your two dimes doing in your quest to spend more time with your kids and become a better dad?
There's no sneer in that question. There's no dramatic sigh nor discouraged wheeze. There's a note of hope and the promise that we can change our stars, to borrow a quote from a favorite movie of mine.
It's an honest question. How are you doing?
Think back over the last few weeks. Did you spend an extra 10 minutes with your kids? How about 20? Did you do that once or over several days? Did you get in a whole week -- or even more?
Here's the good news: If you have any “yes” answers to those questions, then you're on your way. You did something differently. You made a change. You're doing, not just wishing. You go, dad!
Focus on your next good choice
As you read those questions, it's easy to obsess on every time you didn't make the choice you wanted.
Don't go there. Don't do it.
Focus on the times you succeeded, even if it's just once, twice, or three times. Success is success, period.
Nobody becomes Super Dad overnight. It took us all a long time to get where we are, and it'll take a while for us to move ourselves to where we want to be. Every success counts. Every single one.
Instead of looking back at the times you didn't succeed, look ahead to your next chance to do something different. Then look to the one after that. And again. Then lather, rinse, and repeat.
One success becomes two. Three choices grow to five. Pretty soon it's second nature.
Yes, you'll have setbacks along the way. We all do. Work gets in the way, the taxes demand your attention, or that stupid water heater goes out right before family movie night. Or movie night fell prey to an afternoon with the guys that became a way-later-than-you-thought night out.
Take those times as they come. Talk about them with your kids and your significant other. More importantly, listen to what your kids and significant other say about them. (By the way, “listen” in that sentence means “keep your yap shut and let your ears do the heavy lifting.”)
You and me, we can change our stars. And we'll do it one good choice at a time.