The Tome family has a motto that every member can quote and every member currently lives up to.
Tomes hustle. We aren’t the most talented or best-looking, but when we fail it is never because we gave up. We hustle.
Maybe I was so drawn to that motto because it was something that helped remind me of what a good dad does. We hustle.
I’m ashamed to say that my youngest child got the least amount of hustle from me. I read fewer books with her in bed and caught fewer softballs in the backyard than I did my other kids. Not sure if it was because life was more complicated or I was more tired. Either way, I didn’t hustle for her as much as the other two, and while she has turned out great, I regret it.
I recently made up for lost time. My oldest daughter reminded me that I made a big deal out of her significant birthdays, but not so much with my youngest daughter. So for my youngest child’s last significant birthday of turning 21, I chose to take her to Vegas for her first legal drink in public. I’ve taken my other two kids out to a local watering hole for their first, but I hustled more for this one.
I also told the oldest two kids and their spouses that if they paid their ways to Vegas and got their rooms, I would take care of everything else. Being an empty nester brings financial margin for a rare treat like this. We had poolside drinks, went to a Cirque show, visited the Comedy Cellar, and had a couple great meals. There were tears of laughter and we shed a few tears of joy as well. I fronted the money and taught my daughter blackjack. When she successfully doubled down for the first time, it was a sweet father/daughter moment. Vegas needed two separate trips to take her $100. That money was well spent in giving us time sitting, conversing, and laughing together side-by-side.
I’m not interested in convincing other fathers to have my same morals or lack of morals.
I am interested in getting other fathers off of autopilot. It doesn’t matter how old or young your kids are. They want you and you need to hustle for them.
They need you having your eye on young potential friends who are good choices or bad choices. They need you to hustle and influence those choices. When my kids had friends I approved of, I showered them with movie tickets and junk food. I bribed that kid to stay around, and in turn, helped my kids choose the right influences. Autopilot fathers don’t healthily influence their child’s relational choices.
Once when we bought a new TV, I didn’t just want to consume without it being a teachable moment. I hustled in letting my kids know that we paid cash for that luxury item. I worked hard to let them know how money works. Too many dads are on autopilot while their kids rack up six figures of unnecessary student debt, or credit card debt for unnecessary things like restaurant bills that have long since gone through a sewage pipe.
My kids needed me to hustle to be the first one to teach them about sex at a young age. When bathing the kids, that was the time for me to be first to share healthy sexual truth in a way that our culture doesn’t. Our culture wants to dumb us down as parents and put our mouths on autopilot when it comes to talking about sex. No playmate nor health teacher was going to be the first one to break the news about sex to any of my kids.
My role as a dad is always changing and morphing. There are things I used to do that I don’t do anymore. There are things I used to not do that I now do. But the one thing that has remained the same has been hustling for the welfare of my family.
Dads, your greatest accomplishments are residing under your roof, not in your bank account. Your hopes and dreams aren’t held by your manager, but by your own children. As you age, this truth becomes more and more apparent. Hustle your way toward the finish line with your kids, and you will actually find there is no finish line. All of us want to be led well by a father figure who hustles.