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Gene Chizik reflects on joys and lessons of ..

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1 month 5 days ago #3208 by Ferrari
Ferrari created the topic: Gene Chizik reflects on joys and lessons of ..
Gene Chizik reflects on joys and lessons of fatherhood one year after leaving football

It’s been one year since I walked away from football to be with my family.

For years during my coaching profession, I always said my family was my top priority. The problem was my words and actions didn’t always align.

During the past year, they have.

I’ve seen 25 of son’s baseball games and never missed one of his football games. I attended multiple football games, hanging back instead of being one of those dads who hovers and offers instruction during practice. I know from experience it’s best to let the coaches do that.

I enjoyed plenty of quality time with my twin girls, from joining them on a spring break trip to Cancun to regular talks and lunches.

I also spent plenty of time with my wife. One thing I have learned is married couples have to make time for each other. And when you are with your wife, you have to be present. It doesn’t work if we are distracted by our cell phones, worries about paying the bills or thoughts about work.

If my wife and I have movie night — which we love to do — I’m all in. To be fair, that’s a lot easier to do now that I’m not a coach. I no longer have to worry about the next recruit to call or what I need to be doing to prepare for the next meeting. We have also enjoyed getaways, which can really do a lot to bring you closer together with your spouse.

This past year was also successful because I was able to fit in my work with ESPN and the SEC Network and also manage my businesses on the side. So even though I got out of football, I’ve managed to put family first while still staying busy.

One of the best parts about spending time with my family has been the noticeable difference in my kids. It’s as if they now have an innate sense of comfort, security and happiness to spend more time with their dad. All children crave time with their parents, need time with their parents, and benefit from time with their parents.

I know it’s far easier for me to put my children first than it is for the typical working dad. You are grinding every day to make a living, juggling responsibilities at home and work and struggling to find the time and energy for your wife and kids. I can relate from days as a coach who worked relentlessly long hours.

If you remember nothing else, remember this: Your job is not more important than the people under your roof.

I hope to offer a few tips that can help. First, eliminate the guilt. Unless you are out drinking beer and playing golf with what little free time you have, give yourself a break.

Make spending time with your wife a priority. God’s plan for marriage was the union between man and woman should come first, even above children. If your relationship with your wife is not going well, nothing will.

As far as time with your kids, look for what I call “steroid shots,” or big events you can do with your kids. It’s especially important to spend one-on-one time with your children. Take them to do something they will always remember, from Six Flags to the beach.

I took my daughters to the beach — just us — and it is something they will always remember. I took my son to spring training games, and we had a blast.

Dads in our culture are under more pressure than ever. I know it’s easy for me to offer advice since I walked away from football. We all need support and we all need accountability.

One thing that has helped me grow is getting into a small group in my church. It really helps me realize every other guy fights the same battles. It has taught me how to balance faith, family and work. A topic we have talked about at length is being intentional in relationships.

The same holds true for our children. Be intentional about how you spend time with them. They payoff will be well worth it.

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