“The great man is he who does not lose his child's heart, the
good heart with which every man is born.”
It is a time in our history when it’s
increasingly difficult to
feel optimistic about the state of the world. And it’s a time of
the year when we are flooded by the memories of the years past,
and by the hope of a better year to come.
There is no better time than now to
reflect on our life. And
there is no better time to examine the state of our important
For when all of us turn around someday
and look back at our
lives, we will treasure most the memories and bonds we have with
our loved ones. As Mencius stated, those who don’t lose their
child’s heart have achieved one of life’s greatest callings,
that of bonding with their children.
And if we are to heed this call to
bond with our children, we
must ask what our children really need from us.
In a survey of over 2,000 primary
school-age kids by Fathers
Direct, kids were very clear on what they wanted from their
fathers. They did not want expensive holidays, new bikes, or
They wanted their father’s time.
They wanted to play ball, to chat at
bedtime, to get help with
their homework, and to spend time “just hanging out” together.
They wanted to be “known” and accepted by their fathers, and
they wanted to know their fathers.
This can be difficult in a country in
which, according to the
Family and Work Institute, the average man works 49 hours per
week, and the average woman works 43.5 hours per week. It’s
difficult to do in a country in which a large majority of
employees at American businesses (67%) say they don’t have
enough time with their children.
It is interesting to note that what
kids want from their fathers
is the same thing that fathers want for their kids. And it is
the same thing researchers say is best for kids. It is not just
pockets of time devoted to the kids that we call “quality time.”
It is time, period.
And as you look ahead at the choices
you’ll make about your
family, what are your priorities? What would you like your
relationship with your kids to look like?
For fathers who would like to keep
their child’s heart, the
choices will be clear.
And they’ll be clear to your
children, who will remember them
Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC, coaches
fathers by phone
to balance their life and improve their family relationships.
He is an Instructor for the Academy for Coaching Parents
(www.acpi.biz), and the author of the
“Secrets of Emotionally
Intelligent Fathers” Ecourse.