The moment you see your newborn child, it’s a life altering experience. It doesn’t matter if it’s baby #1, #2, #4 or #10.
What comes next is almost a fairytale window of time. Your Facebook post gets more likes than anything you have ever posted, nurses take care of your baby like he or she is the only one in the world, and you have a week’s worth of food dropped at your house.
Soon those days fade away and you’re left with another human being in the family who needs 100 times more attention than you ever will. Most days it seems as though that new life you added to your family is now a distraction from everything important to you in life. Not only do they not talk, walk or play sports, they cry, go through countless diapers and refuse to smile. It’s hard and no one tells you what it’s really like to be a father those first few months. It’s during these times though that C.S. Lewis’ quote becomes the most impactful advice a dad can hear:
“Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.”
Whether you are a father or you will someday be a father it's an incredible opportunity to mold, develop, and love a child into the best version they can be. As I began to grasp just how big this responsibility is as a father, I had the opportunity to interview Bob Beaudine on the Follow My Lead Podcast. The words he shared can be the most powerful words a dad can say to their kids.
“You are going to do great and mighty things”
There is an old Jewish tradition where many Jewish fathers give what they call the “Father’s Blessing” to their sons and daughters. In the tradition, the dad lays his hands on heads of his kids and gives the Father’s Blessing by saying, “everything that I have, everything that is in me, I am going to give to you and you are going to do great and mighty things.”
Now it might sound corny, but it will be the most valuable gift you can give to your children. Here are a few reasons why:
A recent study showed only 40% of people say they can remember being told “I love you” by their father. In many ways this is heartbreaking because I can’t even put into words how much love I have in my heart for my own children. It’s hard to think any parent couldn’t look into the eyes of their own flesh and blood and not say I love you, but clearly it happens a lot. When you take the time out of your schedule to sit down with your kids and give the Father’s Blessing you will be showing your kids how much you love them by your actions not your words. This is paramount because everyone knows actions speak louder than words
Research indicates 34% of American’s don’t grow up with a father figure at all. Simply by saying over and over to your kids “you are going to do great and mighty things,” the confidence will begin to build in them and the advantages you are giving your kids are tremendous. The one thing every human needs in order to be successful is confidence. When you practice the Father’s Blessing, you will with 100% certainty be adding to your child’s confidence.
It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of making a buck, building a career, and moving up the financial ladder. The truth is, so often it’s at the expense of having quality relationships with kids. Now don’t infer providing for your kids and family isn’t important, it is. But providing for your children so they can take an extra vacation at the expense of spending quality time with their dad on a regular basis, isn’t success at all. Regularly giving the Father’s Blessing to your kids will be a constant reminder to you to keep your priorities in line.
If you have never given the Father’s Blessing to your kids or told them “you are going to do great and mighty things” remember my favorite Latin saying, “Nunc Coepi” which means, "today I begin."
John is the CEO of LearnLoft, author of, F.M.L. Standing Out & Being a Leader and host of the 'Follow My Lead' Podcast. He writes or has been featured on Inc.com, LinkedIn Pulse, TrainingIndustry.com, eLearningIndustry.com, CNBC Money, and more. John completed his education at the University of Maryland College.