Tag: Father’s Day

Balancing family and work time for fathers

The Hendrikson’s – Oaklan, Salem, Darrell

In 2011 I asked a number of fathers to speak on different aspects of fathers and family.  I am reprinting them one at a time for Father’s Day 2018. Enjoy!

My wife and I own an older home that we have been remodeling one room at a time.  A few years ago, in early spring, we decided that it was time to remodel the long-neglected front porch.  Knowing that I would only be able to work on it during the warm months, I planned to work on it every Saturday from sun up to sun down, trying to beat the deadline of autumn weather.  As a father of three, I have always tried to be conscious of, and involved with spending quality time with my children.  To this end, I determined that in order to complete the porch by autumn I would need to devote each Saturday in its entirety to remodeling work, which would allow me to dedicate weekday evenings to my children.

As the weeks passed and the project dragged on I became increasingly concerned that I wasn’t going to get the job done before the summer ended.  If the porch wasn’t painted in time, the wet and cold winter was going to cause extensive damage to the newly installed wood porch.  Notwithstanding my supposed balance between home remodeler and devoted father, I found myself more and more answering my sons’ requests for my attention with, “Not now, son, I’m really busy”, or “I will as soon as I’m finished nailing these planks”.

I remember going to bed very late one Saturday night, having once again missed our nightly family ritual of brushing teeth, reading a bedtime book, reading scriptures, singing and praying together, and tucking the children into bed with kisses and hugs.  This nightly ritual had long since become a cornerstone in our family traditions, and I felt awful that I had missed it again.  In my mind’s eye, I saw them with a sad expression on their face asking my wife, “Where’s Dad”?  This, coupled with my increased frequency of choosing work over my sons, had me downright depressed.

I felt like an absent father, and the last thing I wanted was for my children to have even a hint of a feeling that they wished I was with them more.  They are the most important thing in my life- I knew it, but I didn’t know that if they knew it.

I could have said “I’m doing this work for you” all I wanted, but if they didn’t feel like I was available for them, all my work would’ve been meaningless.  What good is a fancy remodeled house if all it’s good for is a place for a disconnected family to eat and sleep?  A house is a house no matter how old the carpet or the color of a paint.  What I wanted was a home- the kind that comes from absolute family unity and love.  As ‘head of the home’, I knew it had to start with me.

That very minute I committed that my new rule was to never be “too busy”.  Whenever my children come and ask me to read them a book or push them on the swing, or whatever– I say, “Yes”!  When I put down what I’m doing right then and there, I immediately let them know by my actions that they can approach me.  When we’re finished I invite them to now come help me.  Regardless of age or capacity, there are four distinct fruits of this conscious effort to be more present in my children’s lives;

1)                  My children know that they are paramount in my life

2)                  I now have a direct opportunity to teach my children how to play and work

3)                  My children and I, and therefore the entire family, are closer to each other

4)                  Spending time with my children is FUN!!

When I ask my children to help me with a work project, they react as though I told them we were going to Disneyland.  They are so excited to spend time with me- they love just being around me.  But rather than simply being in close physical proximity to each other, parents must take advantage of this opportunity by consciously engaging with their children.  We need to ask them about things happening in their lives that are important to them.  We need to take the time to teach them about the world around them- these are the moments that combine to form a child’s character.  The word parent is a noun, but too often we fail to seize the opportunity to use it as a verb- actively rearing them by loving, guiding, teaching, and showing them the way.

The Hendriksen Family – 2018

I don’t believe my children had really regarded me as ‘too busy’, but I had- and that was enough to cause a problem.  This feeling has long since dissolved, and I now revel in the opportunity to genuinely rear them, not just provide a place for them to live. Initially, I feared that my remodeling progress would slow, but it hasn’t.  In fact, it has increased because my children are a bit older now and are confidently learning these skills for themselves.

It is so important that we consciously schedule time with our children, just as we would any other appointment or meeting.  If we want our children to know we love them, we must show them by giving them our time and affection.  We must also tell them we love them.  Life is full of things to do, but our children deserve more than to be regarded as a task or burden.  Since our children are our most important responsibility, let them be at the heart of our lives. Let us regard everything we need to do in life as an opportunity and a venue for accomplishing this, the most important position in our lives- that of a parent.  If you want to know what they’re thinking-ask them.  If you want them to become something- teach them. Do not assume they know you love them- tell them.  Show them.

Darrell Hendriksen lives in Salt Lake City with his wife Heather, their three boys and two daughters.  He enjoys running, hiking, camping, gardening, making music, and doing handyman work- none of which would mean much without his wonderful family by his side.

A Fathers Role In Parenting

Father’s Day is coming so I am going to dedicate this space to fathers for a few weeks. : )

When my grandson Jack, was two years old, he copied everything his dad did. At that time Jack had a small pink doll stroller. Actually, it belonged to his then four-year-old sister Maggie but Jack confiscated it. He needed it for his work – his “daddy” work. When Doug mowed the lawn Jack was following right behind with his pink stroller “mowing machine.” He pulled an imaginary cord and away he went following his dad’s every footstep, walking with his dad’s swagger as perfectly as he could match it on his small stubby legs.

One day Doug was cleaning out the garage. Jack, of course, was right there helping. His father was sweating profusely with heat and exertion. Doug was wiping his brow to clear his eyes. Jack looked for a long time at his dad and his dripping face. Then he walked over to the dog dish, put his face in the water and turned to his dad and said “we’re sweaty” and then wiped his head.

Jack is now ten and has a six-year-old brother, Ben. Another son-in-law, Brady has a two-year-old son, Elliot. And my son-in-law Kash, has a stepson, ten-year-old-Parker. These boys love their dad’s. They want and need to be with their dad’s. They watch their dad’s and they copy them. Being a parent is one of the most influential roles you will ever have, whether you are a mother or father.

Sometimes fathers have a difficult time being involved with their children after a long day at work, caring for one of their primary stewardships – providing for their family. Because of the dilemma of work and family, too often “parenthood” becomes simply “motherhood.” Professional research has found that a child’s intellectual, emotional, and social development, masculinity and femininity, even the ability to function effectively in a future marriage, appear to be influenced by the father’s personal relationship with the child and with the child’s mother; dad’s need to be involved with their children, because, Fathers do matter. They matter to their son’s and to their daughters.


As with all important responsibilities, to be successful with our children requires making them an important priority. One of the most important gifts a father can give is a small portion of his time.
Richard L. Evans said: “In all things, there is a priority of importance … and one of our urgent opportunities is to respond to a child when he earnestly asks remembering they don’t always ask, that they aren’t always teachable, that they won’t always listen. And often we have to take them on their terms and at their times. But if we respond to them with sincere attention and sincere concern they will likely continue to come to us and ask. And if they find they can trust us with their trivial questions, they may later trust us with the more weighty ones.” (The Spoken Word, KSL broadcast, 31 Jan. 1970.)

In order to respond at the time of need, a parent, a father, has to be present, in body, mind, and heart!
When over two thousand children of all ages and backgrounds were asked, “What makes a wonderful father?” the essence of their replies was, “He takes time for me.” One of the misconceptions about this is that taking time means a lot of time. Actually what really matters is small amounts of time, consistently given.

I’ll never forget the day that a dad of multiple children came up to me after a workshop I was giving on becoming a more present parent. He had tears in his eyes. He was weeping because as he said, “I have always wanted to be more connected with my kids but I work so many hours that I just couldn’t see how. Now I see that it’s possible!”


There are opportunities to connect with your children every day, dad. Here are four of the Touchpoints that happen in almost every family daily and you can use them to connect. They usually take 15 minutes or less and some as little as 3 minutes. If you want a deeper explanation of how to use them effectively on a tight time budget request the free chapter on Touchpoints from the book Becoming a Present Parent: How to connect with your children in five minutes or less, which will not only detail how you can make these four Touchpoints work for you and your children but will give you four more.

• Mealtime
• Bedtime
• Transitions
• Chores/family work

Dad, no matter how hectic your life is you can be present every day and increase the quality of your family relationships.