By Kevin Sprehe, NOLACatholicParenting.org
The emails come well before 8 a.m. and after 5 p.m. Today, a man’s career can be all-consuming and a threat to parenting.
Sons need fathers glued to them, not to their iPhone. Our sons need time, love and discipline.
I am a full-time working dad, and the time I give my boys is of the utmost importance.
It’s difficult entering in as soon as I get home from work. A boy needs his dad to be a boy with him, wrestle with him and be willing to step outside into the sweltering Louisiana heat (where’s the perfect Colorado weather when I need it?) and throw a baseball.
I spend more waking hours at work than at home. I need to use that time wisely, roping the boys into whatever I’m doing. If I don’t teach them what it means to be a man, someone else will.
Boys need love and affection. I think about the times I don’t have energy but my son wants to show me that Lego creation he has made. Am I willing to go look at it, talk to him about it and tell him how amazing he is? Affirmation and love for a little boy paves the way for a grounded man.
Lastly, I don’t mean discipline in the sense of punishing them for doing something wrong (although that is needed too), but teaching them to be disciplined. Let them pretend to be knights, super heroes and warriors, and let them roughhouse with one another.
Boys will be boys, no doubt. I let my boys fight each other much more than I allow them to beat up on their sisters. However, they need to be respectful, polite, care for others and be willing to sacrifice like Christ.
I have seen glimpses of it in my boys (who are 3 and 6 years old). My older son understands that his little brother thinks the world of him and wants to do everything he does. He is learning to be disciplined and to do his whole morning routine by himself.
During this time, he has taken his little brother under his wing and has taught him everything that needs to be done to get ready for the day.
Our sons today have many influences who will tell them what it means to be a man. Not all of them will be good.
It’s my mission to make sure my influence on them is a holy and lasting one. That’s harder than any day job I’ll ever have.
Kevin Sprehe is originally from Colorado. He and his wife, Casey, have four children and are members of St. Benilde Parish in Metairie. Committed to outdoor adventures, Kevin takes his family to see the world whenever the small moments arise. Daily, though, he works in the construction industry for a local general contractor. He also serves on the board of the Woman’s New Life Center.