How Your Schedule Could Be Sabotaging Your Parenting

It’s about to be Father’s Day again, but in a way, every day in a family is Father’s Day. Fathers play a critical role in how the next generation turns out, and these days there are a lot of dads who are just not doing their duty. They are good people and they have the greatest of intentions, but the follow through is lacking somehow.

I understand. I know the struggles firsthand. In some ways, the more successful you are, the more difficult the parenting job gets. The excuses for not doing it almost make sense until you really parse them and carefully weigh all of the issues.

For example, we are all working hard to take care of our families, and that’s a good thing when it’s not out of balance. But, success is beguiling, and before long it can take all the hours away that you had hoped to spend with your family.

We make money because we want the best for our spouse and kids, but money, too, has a downside.

John Rockefeller, one of the richest men of all time was asked once “How much money is enough?” His answer speaks volumes: “Just a little bit more.”  If you truly believe that there’s never enough, then working nonstop to earn more makes good sense.

I think to combat these half-truths you have to be pro-active about your life and you have to act on what you know is true.

I used to have an airplane, and I played a lot of golf. While I received a lot of enjoyment from flying and golfing, I figured out one day that those things were taking precious time away from my wife and kids. So I sold the plane and put golf on hold. I loved both of those things a lot, but not as much as I cared for my family. I had to prioritize and so do you. When you do, you’ll find a lot of fat in your schedule that can be trimmed.

I can guarantee you that your family will appreciate your sacrifices. You can’t get this time back. Figure out what can wait or be jettisoned altogether, and then take the all-important next step: do it. Be relentless for the sake of what is most important.

And, full disclosure, I am facing a little test currently to see if I can and will follow through on this commitment to my family and be relentless in spite of some special circumstances. I have a new book that will publish in July called Trade Up: How to Move from Just Making Money to Making a Difference. That means that along with all of my duties here at the Halftime Institute, I also have a full slate of book launch duties as well. My son is a fine baseball player and is in the national playoffs right now, and I promised him that I’d be there for his games. Yes, it will be difficult, but I am going to be there.

I’d like to close with one other thought about fathers and what we tell our kids by our actions. According to a poll by The Gallup Organization, only one person in five (by their own admission) gets to do what they do best every day. Just twenty percent. That means eighty percent of us are just doing stuff and not doing that one thing we were wired and called to do. Take some time and figure out what that one thing is. Find a good coach. Reach out to the Halftime Institute and see if we can help.

Your kids are watching you, and your bravery and willingness to step out in faith and find your place in the world will hopefully inspire them to do the same someday.

But just think about it: If you do this and they follow in your footsteps, they will most likely live fulfilled and joyful lives using all of their gifts and talents.

I can’t think of a better gift for Father’s Day. Can you?


Dean Niewolny
Dean Niewolny spent 23 years in executive roles with three of Wall Street’s largest financial firms, finishing his career in the financial sector as market manager for Wells Fargo Advisors in Chicago, where he oversaw a $100mm market. While in Chicago, he and his wife, Lisa, traveled many times to Africa and, seeing the abject needs of widows and orphans, made life changes that enabled them to get involved, such as helping to complete an orphan home and a Hospice home in Durbin, South Africa.

In 2010, Dean traded his marketplace career for Halftime to help more people who, like him, wanted to expand their own “first half” success and skills into passion and purpose for meeting human needs and making a significant difference. Dean joined Halftime as Managing Director and in 2011 became Chief Executive Officer.

Dean speaks all over the world to marketplace leaders who desire to use their gifts and talents to serve others. His passion is to encourage business leaders to channel first-half achievement into a second half defined by joy, impact and balance. His first book, Trade Up: How to Move From Making Money to Making A Difference, was published by Baker Publishing and released in July 2017. Click here to buy Trade Up.

Having grown up playing sports—eventually in college and semi-professional baseball—Dean still enjoys coaching youth sports, especially his son’s little league teams. He and Lisa have two children and live in Southlake, Texas.