I’ve written before on the importance of having time with just you and your kids, without your wife. This is crucial to having time to connect with them and know them on an entirely new level and being more fully engaged. I recently noticed there is an entirely different lesson I am learning in this.
If you have played sports at any competitive level you know that you often you play to the level of your opponent (as best you can that is). If you play a team thats far beneath your level you often play loose and down to their level. If you play someone that is better than you then you find yourself playing beyond what you thought you were capable of. You play to the level that you’re needed. Often when we are in our role as fathers we are in the game with our wives and that causes us to be lax and not play to our full potential. We allow them to carry the team and in turn we assume we are not needed. This allows the pull to win.
I’ve noticed this recently with my wife heading back to school two nights a week; I have the kids from about for about 4 hours each Tuesday and Thursday. This requires me to leave a little early from work so I try and “get some work done” in this time. This is about as productive as you can imagine and often I find myself getting discouraged because I realize how easily I am able to disengage.
This leads me down a path of logic that I don’t particularly like. One that opens my eyes to how often I play below my potential.
I can hear my high school coach giving me a speech about how I am “better than that”. How much more I am capable of. What a depressing speech to hear…
Why is this? What has caused this? In short it is me performing to the level expected of me. I am letting my wife pickup the workload. In short, with my wife doing the engaging, I don’t have to.
This lead me to think “what has my wife been thinking of me?” I could not help but think that she had an entirely different view of me then I truly was. Did she think that I was a bad father because I am not engaging to my full potential?
This is both depressing and encouraging at the same time. It is depressing because I know I can and should do more. I am squandering the skills I have and the time I have with my kids. On the other hand it’s encouraging because my realization of the fact means that I am capable of performing higher than I am. I can use the times of close engagement with my kids to heighten the times when I am with my spouse too. I can use them as a time to reset. Get me gauges calibrated to the my full potential not just what I deem as required of me in the moment.
Are you performing to the level of the need or to your true potential? Try and schedule time alone with you and your kids and see how you perform. You might realize that you have it in you to be more engaged and I guarantee it the more you engage the more excited you will be about spending that time with them.