For me, Fathers Day is always a day of reflection… an evaluation of sorts…regarding Fatherhood.
How am I doing… am I making the grade… am I making a difference?
My wife and I were expecting with our first (and only) child… our son, Carter, during my stint as Defensive Coordinator at the University of Central Missouri. I remember how all of our friends and coaching colleagues that already were parents would constantly be telling me, “having a child will change you!”
I remember thinking, “well I am sure it will change me, but it will not change my coaching”
You see, prior to my son being born I was fairly selfish coach. I was the type of coach that would just piddle around the office… looking at a little more film… examining a few more tendencies. My wife understood… we got married on August 13, 1983 … and I started two-a-day practices on August 15. She knew what she was getting into, understood and supported my career, and had a career of her own.
Well I am here to tell you today that having our son, Carter, did change me and did change the way I coached… for the better.
While my wife always understood my career and allowed my to spend all the time I wanted in the office and at work, I knew that a newborn (or 1 year old, or 5 year old, or 10 year old) probably would not understand to the same degree. I wanted to be a great father… and also wanted to be a great coach. Each takes a large time commitment. There are only a given amount of hours in a day. So how was I (and my family) able to reconcile the time demands each “career” (coaching and fatherhood) need? If I shirked either responsibility, guilt was sure to follow.
A couple of things made it possible in our situation.
I became a more efficient, organized and focused coach. Instead of just piddling, I always tried to work with a purpose. It also helped that I was a morning person, and my wife (and son) were not. By going into the office early, (5:00 am) instead of going in at 6:00 or 7:00 am, I would not be missing any family time.
The most important cog in making our family work, and allowing me to be a meaningful father (especially in season) was my wife, Jamie. It is funny now to look at family videos and pictures from that time period. It is amazing how many were shot at the Multi, Walton Stadium, or the practice field at UCM. Jamie would schlep Carter up to campus whenever I had a few free minutes… after practice… prior to team meetings…. during a recruiting weekend… just so we could have some family time.
If I could sneak away for an evening meal at home before heading back to the office to work, she would make sure that the family schedules jibed. We would read to Carter every night before he went to bed (even through most of the Harry Potter series) and if that meant he stayed up a while longer until I made it home, Jamie allowed that to happen. Sunday night became our “Library Night”. Before coming home on Sunday evening, I would head to the children’s literature section of the UCM library and get 5-6 new books to read.
So each year when I reflect on Fathers day, it really is a reflection on how lucky I am… lucky to be the father to our wonderful son, Carter… and lucky to have my wife, Jamie of 30+ years that made our family, and my fatherhood, FUN!
You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!
Jeff Floyd – firstname.lastname@example.org