The Tension Between Providing and Being Present

We want to talk to you guys about a topic that is really important for especially young dads. Ken in our Facebook group, he talked about the tension between providing and being present, and I liked the way that he describes this. He says, “The gap or dichotomy between working harder to bring in more money, to set up your multi generational team, longterm business planning, maybe starting a family business, et cetera, versus the exhaustion that it takes to do that, which will naturally wear on you as you take away the energy to be an intentional husband, father, et cetera. For instance, I can work harder, maybe you pick up a second source of income, but I always find that when I do I’m so exhausted I just want to sleep when I get home. That’s not being a father.”


Oh man. Yeah. I don’t… How’s-

Yeah, no, I mean, it was funny. We were talking about this even last week. I was telling you, I think my way that I struggle with it is similar but different in that, but maybe the answers are the same. It was Ken, right?

Yeah, Ken.

Yeah, is for me, I wrestle with how much do I want to try to build systems and passive income at some level, but just also like certain circumstances so that I can be with the family versus how much do I want to take that, the family, not that like that one as if there’s other ones, the family on mission with me in the work. That’s a tough tension I wrestle with, right? Because at some level, if you’re doing too much of like, Oh, just create all these streams of income and passive generating income, et cetera. Then, what I think sometimes people don’t realize in that lifestyle is then that creates almost a mission less home.

You’re just like, Oh, I’m just home hanging. You’re almost doing that pseudo American retirement thing. We’re just home, we don’t do anything. So, I think that that balance is interesting. One thing I’ve tried to do is it doesn’t need to be one forever. And so I’ve tried to say, “What does this season need?” Does this season need me at home more? Well, then I want to try to create some things that can run on their own, right? Does this season need our kids called up to something? This is something I try to pay attention to when the kids are being a little selfish, a little entitled. To me, I feel like a lot of times, not always, those traits of a heart are usually coming out when your mission less or purposeless. You know what I mean? So, that’s what I’ve realized is man, I usually notice that in the kids, when we’re just subtly getting drawn into a insider insular consumer perspective, right? So, that’s how I’ve come to wrestle with it, which is different than Ken, because it’s a little different question, but how would you say that?

Yeah. I mean, I think it’s really important to think about these in terms of seasons of intensity, seasons of presence. I think that you have to have a long term perspective on what are you trying to build. What point is that presence most critical? In my opinion, you will not hear this I think in most family ministries, I think presence gets increasingly more important the older you get. You have more kids, they get older-

The older the kids get too.

That’s right. So, even when your kids are in your 20s, nobody talks about, okay, I want to be super present for my kids in their 20s and 30s. I think that’s absolutely critical. So, oftentimes if it does take a sacrifice in my 20s and 30s to get to that point. That’s the trade off. There’s obviously a huge balance here, but I really consider making that trade off. Now, in the state of like what Ken described the exhaustion, the need to be present, that’s not a father, what I always look at is in whatever that… If you’re in a very intense work season, maybe you’re working 60 hours a week, if you pick up a second income, then is there any way your kids can be integrated into that second… Man, that’s a game changer.

Because then it’s a win-win.

That’s right. So, for a lot of guys who, maybe their sales jobs and they have to travel, can I bring one of my kids with me? Even though when they’re six or seven, I’ve got a lot of friends who’ve tried this, I’ve done this a lot, it’s really… A lot of people don’t think outside the box that way. I want to be a father everywhere I go, and so the tools that I use is definitely integrating my kids more into my work, finding opportunities to do that. If I’m going to pick up a second source of income, almost a condition of the second source of income is I’ve got to be with my wife or my kids at some level, or it’s just not worth it. 60 hours a week away from the family, even in that really early stage, I think at some point, especially if you’re coming home exhausted, you can’t sustain that for years. That’s just not realistic.

Yeah. And so I would agree with that. Ken, let us know if that served you and encouraged you, but literally this question came, or where I started asking the question wasn’t in-

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