A large part of a father’s job is teaching, but much of what has to be taught can’t be done in a sit-down, teaching style. And much of this teaching will happen over a lengthy span, by example, correction and a lot of conversation.
A case in point is teaching your kids about basic time management skills. Time management is, to an extent, a skill set that you either have or you don’t and I know plenty of adults who are terrible at managing time and commitments. But because it’s something that I had to struggle with while some younger peers handled it easily, I concluded that it’s something that I have to explain and model for the kids.
So how do I approach it?
- Keep a large family calendar clearly displayed and make it a habit of referring back to it when a child wants to know if Philo can come play.
- Talk with the kids early in the day about what has to happen and when it has to happen.
- Keep an openly accessible to-do list and update it in front of the kids. Let them see you doing it so that they learn by osmosis and example.
- When the kids are old enough, make sure that they have timepieces so they aren’t depending on others to know the time. When Middle went to scout camp last month, I made certain that he had a decent – not expensive, just decent – watch in order to keep track of time.
- When I goof, I openly talk about what went wrong and what I could have done differently.
- When the kids bring home a planner issued by the school, make sure that I sit with them after school to go through it and see what’s on the horizon.
Some things will come quickly, like how to use a screwdriver. But others will take a long time, so be patient and prepare yourself for the long haul. This is one of those things.