The impact that engaged fathers have on significantly reducing at-risk-behavior in their children has been well documented. Additionally, fathers who are physically and emotionally engaged lead to increased cognitive development, emotional health, and positive peer-relationships in their children’s lives. This pattern points to God’s design for families to function with men as active participants, not passive observers. As men who desire to follow Jesus, honor God, and lead our families, we are not simply called to be present but engaged fathers — and engaged husbands as well. Before we can begin to lead our children well, we must first pursue an actively growing marriage with our wives. Men are meant to be participant-leaders in the home.
Admittedly, it is often difficult to remain engaged at home. After a long day, it is easy to detach from our family and enter the worlds of media, technology, and sports. Our minds are occupied with the work we left behind or looking forward to the sleep that is to come, but God calls us to more as husbands and fathers.
Here are four ways, among many, that men can be more engaged at home.
1. Put away the smartphone.
When our wives and children are awake and want to be with us, our phones are a distraction from what matters most in that moment. By the time we get home most days, our children will be asleep within a few short hours. Don’t waste it on your phone.
I am not great at this. If my phone is in my pocket, I am prone to pull it out and check email, news, sports scores, articles, tweets, or Facebook notifications. It can happen without even thinking. I have tried to proactively remedy this barrier of engagement by taking my phone out of my pocket when I get home and putting it on the kitchen counter or fireplace mantel.