How To Be A Better Parent In 4 Seconds

Something to think about and apply on your commute home this evening, from Jon Acuff.

A few years ago, I learned a parenting trick that changed my life. It wasn’t complicated. I didn’t find it buried in one of those 400-page-long, zero-pictures parenting books that you often assume everyone has read but you. It’s not even that long. You can master this trick in 4 seconds. What is it?

Simple: Hang up and arrive.

Or, in longer form, when you walk through the door after work or a trip or an errand, don’t be on the phone.

One of the greatest ways to destroy a little kid who is waiting for you is to come home and still be on your cell phone.

Nothing deflates a daughter who runs toward you for a hug like a hand that says, “Wait a second, I need to finish this call.”

Nothing says “you’re second place in my life,” like walking through the door while still on the phone.

Nothing says, “my world is more important than yours,” like refusing to end a call when your kids come sprinting down the stairs to see you.

But fortunately, nothing is easier to fix than this issue.

If you’re on a call that you can’t get off, then don’t pull into the driveway until you’re done. I used to park in our neighborhood pool for five minutes to finish calls instead of getting home and talking in my kitchen.

It’s a silly thing maybe. It’s a small thing I guess, but it makes a difference, and I learned this lesson by getting it wrong about a thousand times. And, the scary thing is, you’ve got a limited amount of time to do it.

My daughter L.E. used to knock me down onto my back with a running hug in the front yard when I got home from work. She’s still glad to see me these days, but sometimes I have to find her in the house, and she’s quietly reading a book, not standing at the window awaiting my arrival.

Want to be a better parent in about 4 seconds?

Hang up and arrive.