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The 7 Habits of a 24/7 Dad

Posted by Ryan Sanders

There are good dads and then there are average dads. I talk to fatherhood leaders daily and often ask them what their biggest challenge is facing the dads they serve.

You can imagine the varied responses. Money...sure. Relationships...of course. Addictions...yes. But, often leaders say their dads struggle with "time to connect with their child".

This answer is well-meaning; and I understand it. Dads are busy. Everyone feels busy. But, if a dads biggest challenge is spending time with his kids, time probably isn't his problem.

Here's the question: Do the dads you serve know the difference between an average dad and a good dad?

Hint: His answer depends on how well he handles these seven habits...

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We all have 24 hours a day and seven days in a week just like our good-fathering neighbors. How a dad spends his time is the real issue. Which comes down to his habits. His habits will reveal whether he's an average dad or good dad.

What is a habit? A habit is a behavior you do over and over again. It's a daily thing. For example, brushing your teeth, eating healthy, these things are habits.

Let's look at the difference between how an average dad and a good dad handles the 7 Habits. The 7 Habits of a 24/7 Dad™ is an 8-hour workshop that combines The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Dr. Stephen R. Covey with the fathering principles of NFI's 24/7 Dad® program

Some organizations use it to ease dads into work on their role as dads by offering it before dads start a more in-depth program. Others use it as a follow-up to a more in-depth program. For example, here's how two fatherhood and family programs use it...

I currently use 7 Habits to distribute to all 10 of our centers. I also use the material in workshops with my dads. 
—Shadrach M., Male Involvement Specialist, YWCA St. Louis, MO

We are using the 7 Habits of a 24/7 Dad to provide Fatherhood workshops for the Pregnancy Resource Center called Birthline of Loveland. We are trying to provide these every 3 or 4 months. 
—Lloyd N., Birthline of Loveland Assistant Director, Loveland, CO

The 7 Habits of a 24/7 Dad™

1) Be Proactive 

The way we see the problem is the problem. —Dr. Stephen R. Covey

The average dad is reactive. He doesn't consider the consequences of his actions. The proactive dad does the opposite. He considers the consequences of his actions.

2) Begin with the End in Mind

The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule,
but to schedule your priorities. 
—Dr. Stephen R. Covey

The average dad wanders through life. The good dad understands he can shape his future. This takes creating a picture of what he want his life to stand for.

3) Put First Things First

The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. —Dr. Stephen R. Covey

The average dad lives in crisis. He always feels busy. Is this the dads you serve? A good dad knows to plan his week and make time for his priorities.

4) Think Win-Win 

While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free
to choose the consequences of our actions. 
—Dr. Stephen R. Covey

The average dad competes with everything and every one. Win-Win agreements have the following five elements...

  1. Desired Results > What's the job or task the child needs to accomplish?
  2. Guidelines > How will the child get the job done?
  3. Resources > What does the child need to get the job done?
  4. Accountability > How will dad know whether the child is getting the job done?
  5. Consequences > What are the rewards or consequences of completing or not completing the task?

5) Listen First, Talk Second 

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand;
they listen with the intent to reply
—Dr. Stephen R. Covey

The average dad does the opposite of this habit, he Talks First, Listens Seldom. Dr. Stephen R. Covey was known for saying...

"I think the deepest hunger of the human soul is to be recognized, valued, appreciated, and understood. When you acknowledge others and adapt yourself in an effort to reach them, in effect you say to them, “You matter. You are a person of worth…” 

6) Synergize

Synergy is better than my way or your way.
It's our way
—Dr. Stephen R. Covey

The average dad lives in conflict with his kids. On the other hand, the good dad works with his child, creating a feeling of "togetherness" or "synergy."

You can help teach dads to recognize the importance of being there for his child. 

7) Sharpen the Saw

Effective leadership is putting first things first.
Effective management is discipline, carrying it out. —Dr. Stephen R. Covey

What's "sharpen the saw" mean? It means a dad takes care of his relationships. The average dad neglects his kids. 

Just like a dad and his four areas of care from above, a child has areas that require constant attention: Brain (Mind), Heart (Emotional), Body (Physical), and Spirit (Spiritual). 

So, are you an average dad or a good dad? For the leader, are you teaching dads these 7 habits? 

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The 7 Habits of a 24/7 Dad™
 can be used in as little as a day (e.g. a Saturday) or a couple of days (e.g. two 4-hour blocks), or break it into seven weeks. It's also a great compliment to NFI's more in-depth programs, such as 24/7 Dad® and InsideOut Dad®.

Leader > How do you see "7 Habits of a 24/7 Dad" fitting into what you're already doing with fathers and families?    

Free Download > 
Access your free sample of 7 Habits of a 24/7 Dad.

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