I was in my man cave, my home office, working on a project that I deemed important. Seconds became minutes . . . minutes became an hour.
“Daddy, where are you?” Timeless words from Genesis 3:8-9 ring out from the Garden of Eden, only reversed.
“Still in here, George.”
He ran back into my office, jumped on my back, climbed on my shoulders, and jumped up and down demanding my attention. Miraculously, I continued typing out an email. God in heaven was asking me, “Where are you?” And, I still didn’t get it.
My anger stirred. “George, stop that. I’m almost done. I’ll be right there.”
So, he jumped off my shoulders and ran away dejected. I then realized what I had done, and my heart was convicted. I flipped off the computer switch and ran out to find George.
As dads, our children want our attention. We have a limited window to step in and to be present for them. Yet, somehow work makes its way home, and we retreat into our man caves. Our natural intention is to decompress when we should really fast break on our home court.
Our kids are calling out for our time and our presence. “Come play with me.” “Watch me, Daddy.” “I’m ready to be tucked in.” Much of the time there is only silence. “Where are you Daddy?”
Recently I’ve adopted a tool called “Flip the Switch.” Before I walk in the door at home or the moment a child wakes up, I pray for a renewed attitude and presence. I make myself the most affirming, available, and authentic adult possible for my kids. When I want to retreat, it’s time to shoot hoops, build a fort, or enter into a world of make believe. When I’m tempted to send one more email, it’s time instead to send my child a signal they are the most beloved treasure in the world. When I want to start a project, it’s time to start a pillow fight or a game of four-square.
Dads, I am cutting to the heart and asking, how can you “flip the switch” this day? Your children are waiting.
Brian Norsman enjoys life abundantly as a father, husband, family Pastor, and systems innovator. He resides in Stillwater, MN.