Yesterday, my family interrupted my work countless times.
For months, it has been this way. The kids schooled from home during the lockdown. Now they’re mostly summering at home, too, as most of their typical summer programs are still on lockdown. Every few minutes, there is something they need. “Dad, where is the soft bread?” “Can you log me on to the computer?” “What’s for lunch?” “Do I really have to go outside?” “Can we come back in and watch a movie?” “I’ve only been outside for thirty minutes?” “Can I come back in after thirty-five minutes?” “Daddy, lookit!”
Yesterday, I interrupted my work for them begrudgingly.
I tried to hide it. I tried to be patiently responsive. I didn’t yell. I didn’t shame. I didn’t tell them how much I wanted to be left alone. After all, they didn’t ask to be a child in the age of coronavirus. So, I thought I did a pretty good job not punishing them for their circumstance. I subtly gritted my teeth, smiled a little tightly, and got through it without doing anything that might warrant a therapy appointment somewhere down the road.
This morning, though, during my meditation, I saw something else.
I saw that yesterday I’d been on autopilot, prioritizing my work over my family. Yes, some days this absolutely has to happen—boundaries are a good and necessary thing sometimes. However, yesterday wasn’t one of those days for me. Yesterday, my work was interruptible, but I’d absentmindedly chosen to see them as the interruption of my work life, rather than seeing my work as an interruption of my family life.
So, today, I set the intention of interrupting my work for them gladly.
When they interrupted me, I chose to see it as an opportunity to attend to the people l care about most. Several “interruptions” in, my wife looked at me with a grateful smile and said, “You love us this morning, don’t you?” The truth is, I don’t love them any more than yesterday. I’ve simply set the intention of responding to them so that my love can actually be seen and felt.
In the end, intentionality is as important as love, because it’s the key that unlocks our affection for our people.
There are lots of ways to be intentional about loving our people better. Meditation. Reading. Therapy. But I can’t think of a better way to be intentional about this most important of endeavors than the upcoming “Evolve as a Father” Front Row Dads Online Summit. Every time I’ve met in person with a Front Row Dad, I’ve come away a more intentionally loving father and husband. I’ve come away unlocked. And I know a few thousand pixels between us isn’t going to change that. I’ll be there on August 20. I hope you will be too.
Let’s get unlocked.