The following is an excerpt from Daddy Saturday: How to Be an Intentional Dad to Raise Good Kids Who Become Great Adults by Justin Batt
I believe every father wants to be intentional in their parenting, to make things happen for their children instead of hoping they happen. At the same time, I know there are many fathers out there right now who feel like they’ve made too many mistakes or let too much time go by to parent with any kind of intention. I don’t know your story and I won’t pretend to.
I’ve heard from many fathers who’ve made some big mistakes like infidelity, drinking and drugging, and some mistakes even leading them to divorce or prison time. I’ve also heard from plenty of other fathers who simply haven’t been engaged or present for their children. We’ve all made mistakes, myself included. No father is perfect.
If you’ll allow me to speak into your life for a minute, I would appreciate the opportunity. If you’re a dad who’s saying to himself it’s too late, but would like a second chance with his children, let me ask you a question. Who told you that? Seriously, who told you it’s too late? I guarantee you it wasn’t your children or your wife.
Here’s the truth: it’s a lie, and one you cannot afford to believe.
I learned the story of a father who fell hard. He was in a prominent position, and alcohol caused him to lose his job and eventually his marriage. He has a daughter he cares about deeply and throughout his entire free fall he never stopped loving her.
Their favorite thing to do is eat together at a local restaurant in their hometown, and they do so regularly. I love that this father refused to let his mistakes tarnish his relationship with his daughter. He embraced his second chance, so did his daughter, and your children will too.
The good news is that even a small amount of intentionality will have a huge impact, and your family will see the most dynamic change because they may not have experienced this version of you for many years — or maybe ever. If you’re a dad who hasn’t engaged at this level or hasn’t been intentional, this is your chance. It’s never too late.
You’ll be amazed at the response you’re going to receive because of just how different your approach is. All it takes are a few small changes because feelings follow behaviors, not the other way around. Just starting with a half-hour on the weekend of being intentional and a few minutes here and there during the week of being an active presence in the life of your child will prime the pump to become a better father. Through engagement the walls will come down and the positive feelings will begin to emerge from your children towards you as their father.
It’s never too late to start, because kids are resilient. It doesn’t matter how old they are, even if they’re grown and gone, you still have the opportunity to engage them, and you always have the opportunity to make an impact on them.
You’re their dad. That position will never be relinquished.
Don’t let insecurities hold you back from the most important role in your life. Don’t yield the battleground to anyone or anything. Reclaim the territory in their lives that’s been set aside for you as their father and don’t ever let it go again.
For more advice, tools and resources on being an intentional father, you can find the book Daddy Saturday on Amazon.
Justin Batt aims to disrupt fatherhood with intentionality, by creating intentional fathers who raise good kids who become great adults. He founded Daddy Saturday in his own backyard with his four children, and it’s grown into a national movement engaging fathers across multiple channels, including YouTube, social media, the Daddy Saturday book, an Alexa skill, a podcast, merchandise, live events, and a 501(c)(3) foundation, through which Justin plans to impact 10 million fathers in the next 10 years.