I was recently listening to the “Dwell on These Things” podcast hosted by John Stange where he was discussing with a fellow dad entrepreneur and friend, that as a pastor he sees the lack of connection between dads and the impact it has on the family relationship. I thought about my own relationship with my father and his insane work schedules, and how lucky I was that my grandma and grandpa offered an extra layer of support when my parents couldn’t. In 2020 when I struggled with spiritual connection, listening to John’s podcast I felt this tug back to my grandfather. John is a pastor, husband and father to 4 children (ages 15-20), and it seems everything he touches seem to turn to gold. He is a relentless giver, authentically honest, and uncanningly simple. John has a resume far beyond my introduction, but includes being a host of three podcasts, “The Chapter-A-Day Audio Bible,” “Daily Devotions with Pastor John,” and “Dwell on These Things.” At present, his shows have been downloaded nearly 5 million times by listeners throughout the world.
- Are you someone who says yes to a lot of things? Make sure the power of your yes isn’t diluted with guilt. When you believe in your no, the power of your yes is so much stronger.
- How can you hit pause and take a break to prioritize life? Phase 1 of connection was taking a vacation. Vacation can be a reset or an escape. If you treat it like an escape you simply leave and come back to the same routines and challenges without making a change.
- Phase 2 of connection was noticing if something gets on the calendar it happens, if it lives in the world of good intention it doesn’t happen. John used vacation as a reset and prioritized family night and date night weekly.
- Phase 3 of connection was the practice of quarterly vacations or retreats from the distractions of daily life to spend time together connecting. John and his family schedule 4 vacations a year, their favorite are simply staying at a cabin in the woods.
- Bake the practice of non-negotiables into the expectations of how a week, month or year look in your family life. Your non-negotiables don’t need to be a secret. Explicitly telling others who want a piece of your time when family night, date night, or even quarterly vacations become the accepted norm.
- John reflected that given the ages of his kids, he was so grateful they built this habit early because he looks back without regret on the time he spent with his family and equally the time invested with his wife. He hears many horror stories of empty nest marriages go awry because they didn’t continue to nurture their marriage. If you haven’t started this practice, today is the perfect time to start.
- Family time with teens can be tricky. On the snarky side, John shared “the kids didn’t have a choice, you can either choose to have fun, or be crabby and we’ll make fun of you.” But more significantly choosing activities that everyone liked and adjusting when something wears out.
- Adventure can be a new experience and some of the items on the list might be entrepreneurial in nature. Taking some steps of faith and being obedient enough to take the next step forward can lead to unexpected blessings.
- Just go for it! Some people are so afraid to ask another person to achieve a dream. Just Go for it. The worst that can is happen is they say no, but somewhere along the way there will be a yes or an open door. You’ll be so glad you had the bravery to go for it. The outcome will impress you.