Distracted Dadding

<strong>Distracted Dadding</strong>


By Brent Rinehart

Perhaps you’ve seen this video floating around on the Interwebs – an ad shown at a movie theater in Hong Kong – demonstrating the deadly impact of texting and driving. It’s pretty jarring, especially knowing that we’ve all been guilty from time to time of answering a text, looking at our radio dial, or making faces at our kids in the back seat.

It’s called “distracted driving,” and it’s a deadly problem. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving at any given daylight moment across America. On our last family trip to the beach, I think I saw at least half of those folks driving across the state of North Carolina.

Thinking about distracted driving brought me to another important revelation of personal shame. I’m guilty of “distracted dadding.”

First, let’s get this out of the way: I love my kids. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for them. I can’t wait for the evenings and weekends, those treasured moments when we all get to hang out together.

While I’m at work, I can’t wait for the 5 o’clock whistle so I can head home to be with my family. (As a side note, is there really a place with a 5 o’clock whistle?)

Here’s the crazy part. When I get home, too often, my mind wanders back to that place I just left: the office.

Unfortunately for many of us, work often falls outside of normal business hours. Dolly Parton complained about the 9 to 5, saying “it’s enough to drive you crazy if you let it.” I love Dolly, but 9 to 5 sounds like a pretty sweet gig to me sometimes.

Instead, I regularly find myself “after hours” thinking about the emails I need to answer, the meetings I have coming up in the week, and the assignments I haven’t started. It’s not until my daughter says “Daddy, play with me” or “Daddy, what are you looking at on your phone” that it hits home.

In Planes, Trains and Automobiles, John Candy’s character drops this little gem: “You know, the finest line a man will walk is between success at work and success at home.”

This is a great reminder for me: do I put more energy into being successful at work than I do into being successful at home? I certainly don’t want to be that guy.

Don’t get me wrong, hard work is important. But, piling up treasures on earth is not as important as storing up treasures in heaven. Our largest investment should be into the lives of other people – most importantly, those ones who live under your roof.


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