Thirty-five year old Floridian, Nik Wallenda, has been nicknamed ‘The King of the Wire.’ Wallenda is a high-wire artist most well known for his dangerous tight rope acts done without a net or other necessary safety precautions over such grandiose locations as Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon.
Wallenda’s tight rope act over a section of the Grand Canyon last summer was the highest rated live television event in the history of the Discovery Channel.
I thought about Nik Wallenda as I prepared to write about the balancing act required of men on the second shift. As husbands and fathers, we walk the fine line everyday of seeking to provide for our families physically during the first shift and seeking to provide for them emotionally and spiritually during the second.
If we are honest, oftentimes as husbands and fathers we overcompensate to offer our families provision and protection during the workday at the expense of offering them assurance and affection during our time at home. The two are not mutually exclusive. Our families crave our affection equally as much as they desire our protection and seek our assurance as desperately as they need our provision. As men of God, called to lead our families, we must be diligent to balance the physical demands of the first shift with the equally as demanding (if not more so) emotional and spiritual needs of the second.
Here are three practical things to remember about being a husband and a daddy on the second shift:
Availability is paramount to success on the second shift. The obvious application of this truth is to make sure you are physically present during the evening with your family, but the more subtle application is in regards to our minds and affections.
Unfortunately, too many times I find myself physically present but mentally and emotionally checked out on the second shift. Television, emails, and our smartphones are most often our family’s greatest competition in the battle our minds and affections.
With all of the wonderful advantages provided to us by technology, one of the most serious side effects is technology’s ability to rob us of ever being fully present. As men, we must discipline not only our bodies, but also our hearts and minds to be offered in service of our families. Make a plan to disengage from the outside world and involve yourself in the lives of your wife and children upon your arrival home.
Seek out opportunities to encourage and engage the hearts of those God has entrusted to your care.
As a kid I was an avid collector of baseball cards. Occasionally I would look on the back of a player’s card and find his position listing as “UT”. For those unfamiliar, “UT” stands for ‘Utility Player’, meaning that the player can play multiple positions depending upon the circumstance, need or specific demand of the team on any given day.
I believe that as men, we must begin to train ourselves to be great Utility Player’s for the sake of our families.
In my experience, the demands of the second shift can differ depending on the circumstances of the day. We must be ready to serve our families in a variety of capacities depending on what each individual situation calls for. Oftentimes what my family needs from me changes from night to night. This rings especially true in my house where I’m not the only one on the second shift. Having a wife who works full time outside the home changes the dynamics of our specific situation.
Some nights I’m called upon to cook dinner, while other nights I’m in charge of playing with our son or taking time for conversation with my wife. Headship of our home means that no task is beneath me in my efforts to be the servant leader to my wife and son.
I heard a pastor say once, “Everyday is more important than the big day.” This simple statement speaks to the immense importance of faithfulness in the life of the husband and father. Unfortunately as men, we sometimes seek to assuage the guilt we feel over time lost with our family by making grand gestures. Although we would never say it, somewhere deep in our hearts we hope that we might earn the love of our wife and children through gifts given and sacrifices made. However, what our families need more than our lavish gifts is our obedience to Jesus and faithfulness to them.
As men, our goal should be to bless our family not impress our family. The greatest gift you’ll ever give your family is the example you leave them of what it means to be a faithful follower of Jesus, husband to your wife and father to your kids.
As a husband and a dad, I desperately need help in these areas. To often I find myself unavailable, inflexible and unfaithful in my responsibilities as a husband and father. The good news is that help is available for me (and for you). Our help lies in the power of the gospel. In 1 Peter, Peter writes, “…Whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies- in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To whom belong the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Pet 4:11b) Men, let us always have before us the aim of our efforts in regards to our families, namely that we would love, steward and shepherd them for the glory of God and the exaltation of His name. When we seek to serve our families in the strength God has supplied, through the gospel of Jesus, for the sake of his name; He will get the glory and we will get the help.
ABOUT DAVID: David serves as the Teaching Pastor at The Church At Cane Bay in Summerville, South Carolina. He is married to his wonderful wife Allyson, and they are the parents of one son, Titus.
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