One of the hardest things for a man is trying to figure out how to both love and lead his family. If you’re like me, it’s easy to lead at work. I say it’s easy because I don’t categorize my relationships at work under “love.” It’s easy to be the leader, make the hard decisions, and confront those people at work because generally there’s not that emotional tie that makes it difficult. We are called to be leaders. The problem is, we are supposed to do it at home, too. How do we do that? How do we love them and lead them? Here are a few ideas.
1. Lead your family as if you were leading your business. That sounds strange, doesn’t it? Think about it. The goal at work is to perform at a level and lead in a way that is beneficial to the business. You want to be successful. You make the decisions that you realize are best for the company. You work at it and make changes where they are needed. If you perform poorly, there are consequences. It’s the same at home, guys.
We are expected to do the same thing when we get home. I know you’re tired. I know you view your house as your escape from work. This isn’t about work. This is about how we are to perform and live. I want my family to be successful. I want them all to succeed. I have to make decisions and perform at a level that assures that will happen. I have to make changes when changes are needed. I have to make the change. I have to lead. Even if my kids don’t like it, sometimes as the leader, my decisions aren’t always popular. Even if they’re right. Here’s the hard truth: If I perform poorly, the consequences are life-long. I don’t lose my job and go find another one with a fresh start. Instead, my kids grow up making poor decisions. They wonder where they belong and who they are supposed to be. My wife wonders where she ranks in my priorities. My family becomes my acquaintences, and then life begins to spiral. It doesn’t just affect me, if affects those closest to me for the rest of their lives.
2. Watch the bottom line. Yes, financially, we must lead as well. Just as you have to make sure that what you do financially is beneficial for the company, your decisions at home must be financially sound as well. What is it that you have to be responsible for at work? You may think that you have none. You may even believe that you don’t have any impact on the “books.” That’s simply not true. How you perform has a tremendous impact on the company. If you are constantly goofing off, taking breaks, multiple smoke breaks, long lunches, and spending more time devoted to Facebook than to what you’re being paid to do, then you are a financially liability to the company.
At home you have the same responsibility. Your decisions impact your family more than you could ever know. Often, your money could be telling your family message. It may tell them what is more important to you in your life. That new boat/truck/car/computer/etc may tell the wrong story. If your family is struggling, if they are trying to figure out who they are and what’s important, they need only look at that new purchase. It may not say that the purchase is more important, but that your needs are. You have the job of making sure the bills are paid. Your wife and your kids should not have to worry about food, shelter, clothing, or transportation. That’s your job. If your wife needs a better car, if your kid needs braces, if someone needs glasses, but they can’t get them because you’re saving up for something else, or because the payments on some purchase prevents you from providing, then you need to sell it.
3. Pray that you would learn how to love and lead better. If there’s one thing that men don’t like to do, me included, is to look deep inside and pick out a weakness and then pray for it. This is one of those areas. Make it a habit to pray for wisdom in how to be a better leader at home and how to love your family. I try to make it a daily prayer. I want to be a better husband, a better dad. How else do I get there? I can read a book that will give me knowledge, but it doesn’t change who I am. Prayer changes who I am.
Perry Noble said, “Information does not lead to transformation. Application leads to transformation.” That’s what I believe as well. If I pray to change, I will change. If I commit to praying, I will change. I need to be the man that God designed me to be! If I try to be something else, I’m fighting a stupid battle. I was created to be something special. I was created to love and lead my family.