One thing I do that helps keep me focused is to have a daily battle plan. It's a tool that I picked up from Ryan Michler of Order of Man. He breaks down his daily goals into one of four categories, Condition, Calibration, Connection, and Contribution. Each category covers a different aspect of his daily life that contributes to his success every day.
As I read about his planner, I found that it was a great starting point for me to develop my own. One that fit me a bit better. I've already gone through a few iterations and I'm sure that I'll go through more, but here's where I've landed for the moment.
I keep a Google Doc with this template at the top of it and every day I copy/paste it and update the date. Then I run though the template and populate that day's plan with the goals that I have in the various areas that I've set for myself as priorities.
Here's a sample of a daily plan:
Take what works for you, toss out what doesn't. Build your own from scratch or buy one from OoM. Do something to help keep you focused and don't forget to set aside time to review how you're doing. Writing it down is great, checking in on your progress is critical!
To pass this week's weekly challenge, you have to play a game of cards with your son.
Go Fish is a great, easy game. So is King's Corner. Maybe 5-Card Draw or Blackjack. My kids love playing War. Which game you play isn't important, setting aside the time to be engaged with your son is.
In addition to the enjoyment from being out on the trail, I also really, really look forward to coming home. Yes, of course I look forward to seeing my family again, but I'll admit that I also am excited to re-enter my cocoon of comfort.
I can lift a knob one direction and have clean cool water, then turn that same knob the other direction and have toasty hot water. Pressing a few buttons will heat my food. Turning another knob will flush my poop. It's down right luxurious.
The problem is that it's too luxurious. All of the modern conveniences that we've acquired to make life easy have done just that. We've gotten that which we've worked so hard to get. A life of ease.
Is it what you had hoped for? Truthfully, I'm a bit disillusioned. Looking back on it, I'm glad that my childhood was a bit rough and that I had the struggles that I did. Sure, my struggles weren't as bad as other people's was, but everyone's story is going to be different. My struggles are what produced the greatest growth in me and what fuel me today.
As a dad, I want to see that same growth in my kids. I want them to become resilient and tough. I want them to be capable at dealing with the challenges that life throws at them. I want them to struggle. If they're not struggling, then they're not growing.
The question is, "How?"
How can I make my kids struggle AND be a loving, caring father? How can I put struggles in front of them that will help them grow and learn? How can I prompt the development of strength in my kids in a way that is positive and constructive?
The answer is: I have no idea.
I don't think that there is one answer or solution to this question. I think that we, as fathers, have to be tuned in to our kids in a way that enables us to notice when they're struggling with something or are weak in some area that we can help them grow in.
We also need to be willing to watch them struggle. We have to stand back and not solve their problems for them. Now, I'm not telling you to be negligent or let your kids get hurt, but you've got to let them make mistakes and figure things out. You've got to let them learn to adapt and overcome.