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Encouragement Article

3 Best Decisions I've Made Since Becoming a Father

Whether it was planned or a surprise, you are 30 or 18, have a doctorate degree or joined the work-force out of high school, having a child changes your life.

Bluntly stated, as a new parent, you have less personal time. Whether it's changing diapers, warming bottles, or simply rolling around on the ground with your child, your time becomes occupied in a different manner. In turn, time becomes more valuable.

For me, this shift put life's priorities into perspective. It was a catalyst that help me determine how I wanted to spend my time. Not that time was being wasted prior to children, I simply wasn’t living with the intentionality I am today.

On that note, these are the best 3 decisions I've made since becoming a father.

Cut Fantasy Football

This one was tough. No doubt. I had been in a Fantasy Football league with my friends for 10 years. Granted out of those 10 years, the best I had ever done was place 3rd . . . once. . . but it was still fun to be a part of. It was a means to keep in touch with old friends and made watching NFL games more enjoyable, not to mention the competitive aspect.

However, for me it became a point of obsession. If I wasn't watching the games every Thursday night, Sunday all day, or Monday night, I was continually checking my phone. I stayed up to date on player stats, health, opponent match ups, etc. Given my record, this all seems unnecessary, but it was daily during football season. Events were planned around certain games depending on which players I had in the lineup. I then had the audacity to complain about not having time to "do what I wanted to do".

Then, I started listening to Gary Vaynerchuk. Basically, Gary Vee (as he is known) was one of the first people to see social media as an opportunity for a marketing platform in the mid-2000s. He started by making wine tasting videos to sell wine for his father's liquor store. Today, he is mostly known as a motivational speaker/content creator, encouraging people to stop complaining, get off their asses, and make it happen for themselves. In one of his videos, I felt his words: "People complain to me all the time about not having time, then they go sit on the couch for 8 hours on Sunday to watch football…turn off the f***ing TV!"

That did it for me.

Once I decided to drop out of the Fantasy Football league, I had no more incentive to watch the games. My only other connection to a team was the fact that I grew up in Dallas, and well, the Cowboys haven't exactly been exciting the past few years…

We may still turn on football as background entertainment. I still enjoy the sport. By no means though is it a focus or distraction in my life anymore.

Now, Sundays are for two things: God and Family.

Started Reading

Not necessarily a big decision, but more so a new found enjoyment that was ignited by a decision.

For me, reading had always been something I loathed. Despised. Could Not Stand.

Sitting still and reading was basically torture.

Prior to the year 2020, I can definitively say that I had NEVER, not once, picked up a book on my own and read it front to back. Rarely did I even read what I was supposed to throughout school.

However, around the time I had the initial thought for The Intentional Father, I wanted to be more intentional with my own son and learn more about fatherhood and leadership, and my feelings about reading changed.

About a year earlier, I went through The Courageous Bible Study at my church. The study follows the movie Courageous. It encourages and inspires fathers to embrace the roles and responsibilities they have as leaders of their household. The movie and study were excellent, and I highly recommended them. However, along with the study, we were to read a book, The Resolution for Men.

At the time, I didn’t read the book. Don't think I even opened it up…

Fast forward to 2020, in my effort to be more intentional in leading my son and family, this was the book I picked up.

I now had reason to read. I had a want and desire to learn. I dove in head first.

Since then I have read about 15 books and listened to about 10 others. Whether these numbers sound large or small to you, they are gigantic to me!

In addition, my thirst for knowledge has now turned into an entertainment avenue as well as a therapeutic method.

Once the kids have gone to bed and the house is silent, reading my favorite detox.

One other plus: My oldest gets out of bed every now and then prior to falling asleep. I greatly enjoy when he sees me reading. I hope to instill in him the same thirst for knowledge I have found. Hopefully at a younger age!

Last note, as I read, and I feel the book is worthy, I will add it to our Recommended Reading. Check it out, let me know what you think, and share your opinion for my next read!

Began Volunteering

Something I talk about often on this site is living intentionally. If we live within intentionality we don't rely on the few moments of specifically sought out teachings but allow our children daily to watch and learn. In practicing this mindset, volunteering was high on the list.

When thinking of ways to get involved and volunteer, you have to consider how your time and talents could best be utilized. In addition, find a mission or opportunity that you also enjoy. This will help sustain the effort instead of it becoming a chore.

For me, playing guitar is one of my passions. I got my first guitar when I was in 2nd grade and have been playing ever since.

With that in mind, I reached out to our church, Stonewater in Tolar, TX to see if they needed more musicians for Sunday worship.

It was a good fit and I started playing in 2019 when my oldest son was about one. Most Sunday's, prior to dropping him off at the children's ministry, he will come into the main auditorium and listen to worship. I love that he is able to see me give of my time and talents. Not only that, but he sees that I enjoy doing it. I hope that as he grows we are able to stay as involved or dive in even deeper. I hope that volunteering and serving others becomes such a normal in my household that my children won't give it a second thought when they are able to get involved.

 

As a parent, especially a new parent, it is difficult to manage what little free time you get. Be intentional and methodical in your approach on how you fill your time. Lay out your priorities and align your actions to them.

What decisions are you proud of as a parent? Is there something you changed in your life after your children were born? Leave a comment or send us a message!

Be Present. Be Intentional.

-Chad Vrla

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As someone who has known you our entire lives, I am so excited to hear you're reading! I know you always despised it. An awesome change to make.

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