Confessions of a Scared Dad: Why I Take My Kids on Dates

This past week I took all my kids out for special dates with their dad. It was awesome. We saw two movies, ate an unbelievable amount of popcorn, tried ice skating, and even painted a pottery version of a purse.

It was good intentional time with each of them, and it made my heart full.

I posted pictures on social media so they even could live on for perpetuity and so in years to come I can look back at those pictures with joy. One of the things that happens when you do that is that people tend to comment on those pictures (after all, that’s what makes social media “social”). One of the comments I heard on several occasion is what a good dad I am, well… let me be honest with you about something:

I’m not a good dad, I’m a scared dad.

I’m scared that something is going to happen to me or my kids and they won’t know how much they mean to me. I’m scared that something is going to happen to them, and I won’t have any memories to hold on to. I’m scared that my kids will feel as if I chose work over them. Or that my kids will resent God because of the way I serve Him.

See, my kids sometimes get a raw deal; I work weird hours, I go to school full-time, and often times their schedules and my schedule don’t match up. Sometimes, there are days where I may only see my kids for 15 minutes, and some days not at all. I’m not saying this for sympathy; I’m not asking you to feel bad for me – I chose this life. We love and enjoy this life.

The reality is that because of this life I have to be intentional with my kids when the opportunity arises.  When there is a moment I can create a memory, I always create the memory. This week, when the world was taking a deep breath between Christmas and the new year, I made three individual memories that my kids will hold onto forever. Heck – I even took my wife on a date!

I know that some of you will say, “Tony, you shouldn’t operate out of fear.” You are right. You shouldn’t operate out of fear, but fear has a unique way of giving us an awareness of certain realities. So, don’t operate out of fear, but certainly be aware of your fears. If you can be aware of your fears then there is a clear path to overcoming them.

I know that if something were to happen to me (or to them) there is no way they don’t know how much I love them. I have been super intentional about expressing my love with them. Hugs, kisses, words, and intentional time.

Notice that word intentional? That is another little thing that has been on my heart lately:

Intentional time always beats an amount of time.

One hour of intentional time with the people I love is far better than eight hours of just being in the same room together. I want the time I spend with my kids to count. (Now, please realize there is still a lot of unintentional time.)  And if doing that makes me a good dad, or a scared dad – well, I’ll be okay with that. At the end of it all, I want my kids to describe me as a loving dad.


As the new year kicks off let me ask you this: Where do you need to be intentional with your time?