or How to Make This the Best School Year Ever for Your Kids (and Your Wife)
I usually write about faith in the workplace in this space, but I want to pause and talk about another kind of work God calls us to do that must brought into rhythm with our career.
In case you missed the news, Kathy and I just gave birth to twins. Well, sort of. Not new children but two new books released this summer:
- What God Does When Men Lead by yours truly
- The Busy Moms Guide to a Happy Organized Home by Kathy Peel
While listening to Kathy talk about how stressful back to school was for moms, it dawned on me that most men are clueless how much work it takes to launch kids well into a new school year. After all, isn’t that mom’s department? To that I would say absolutely not!”
Parenting is a team effort and a man’s role is mission critical to the welfare of his family. In 1 Timothy 4:3 Paul says that men should, “Manage their household well.” One of the things that means is that it’s our job to create a positive launching pad for our children. Here are three important principles to apply.
- Redefine your role around the house. Think of yourself as a partner not just a helper. For too many years as Kathy was sweating the start of a school year I told her, “Let me know if I can do anything.” That puts the entire burden on her. A partner figures out what needs to be done and takes on the task without being asked. If you’ve never taken a look at what it takes to run a household, hold onto your seat and download a form off of Kathy’s Family Manager website entitled “Who’s Responsible for What?” It will probably shock you to see all the tasks that it takes to run a household.
- Show up. Obviously our physical presence is important, but many of us have a hard time showing up personally for our family. I understand. We are distracted by a lot of pressures that come at us from all directions, but when we walk in the door, it’s dad time, not time to relax. That would be like showing up at work for break time. If you haven’t discovered how critical you are to your family, check out Chapter 10, “The Inestimable Value of a Father” in What God Does When Men Lead.
- Own the morning. Trust me here. Own the mornings, and your evenings—after the kids are in bed—will be rewarding. Mornings during the school year are the most stressful time of the day for mothers and kids. Mornings are also the launching pad for the day, and you want to give your children the best possible start to the day . Here are my suggestions.
- Download “Reduce Morning Chaos” from Kathy’s Family Manager Website.
- Schedule time with your wife after the kids are in bed and inform her that you want to take personal responsibility to start everyone’s day on the right foot. Read through the above article together and make a list of all the morning jobs that need to be done to start the day well and list all the potential roadblocks. Then divvy up the work. Since you are a “partner,” that doesn’t mean that you do all of the work, but it does mean that you do take on 50%-plus of the jobs and take responsibility for how things actually go. That means you’ll be getting up earlier and spending time with God to make sure you are in a servant-hearted frame of mind before the chaos begins.
- Next, schedule a family meeting and talk through the morning routine—no whining allowed. If you have older children, listen to their feedback, but don’t give in to things you know are important like sitting down together for breakfast. Go over when everyone is going to get up, what each person will be responsible for, the bathroom schedule, and if necessary, consequences for uncooperative attitudes.
- Last, make the commitment to give each day a spiritual jumpstart by reading a short (very short) children’s devotional or a portion of a chapter in Proverbs (there are 31 chapters) and praying together for everyone’s day ahead.
4. If you are really brave, “adopt” our twins, What God Does When Men Lead and The Busy Mom’s Guide for a Happy, Organized Home. Read and study the first with a group of men. Read the later with your wife and get into her world.
P.S. There’s a link to a study guide for your men’s group to the right.