The song “Daddy Phone,” by country artist Marty Raybon, portrays a divorced dad who only gets to see his son occasionally. To stay connected, the dad gives his son a cell phone and tells him, “When you’re missing me, or feeling all alone, just push ‘1’ on your daddy phone. I’ll be on the line when I hear that ringtone. We’ll talk anytime on your daddy phone.”
Whether or not you’re a country music fan, this song has a powerful message.
The cell phone idea might be one you can use if you’re a divorced dad, but there’s a larger principle here that is useful to all dads. We all spend time separated from our kids — some of us more than others. And part of being involved in their lives is making ourselves available to them whenever they need us. A child gains security and confidence if she knows Daddy has made himself accessible and available to her.
Are you available to your kids? Any time? Any place? It might mean giving your son a pre-programmed cell phone, like in the video. It might mean giving your daughter your work number and saying, “Feel free to call any time.”
Of course, sometimes dads aren’t really available even when they are with their children. So, being accessible also means investing in the relationship with your child and making him or her a priority when you’re together. If the two of you don’t connect during those times, then your child may not want to reach you or stay in touch when you’re apart.
Ask each of your children, “Do you feel like you can reach me any time?” “How can I be more available to you?”
Be involved in your children’s day-to-day activities. Tuck them into bed. Quiz them on spelling words. Coach their soccer team. Take your teenager to breakfast. Be intentional about doing things that show you’re available for your child. And that you’re happy to be involved!
Be the taxi driver for one of your kids’ evening activities and just soak in all that’s happening.
Ask your child to help you with a project this weekend, even if it’s only for 20 or 30 minutes.