We were talking about the “Parents” theme of this issue of Youth Leaders Only, and the thought that youth leaders and musicians share some of the same, umm, “unique conditions” in which we ourselves are trying to be good parents. We wondered if we could get a conversation rolling between several of our Team interlínc youthworkers and Team interlínc artist-musicians about this subject. What you’re about to read is that virtual conversation. There are some deep insights here, and some smirks that are too good to miss. Read on!
L = Lecrae Artist Atlanta, GA
ST = Steve Taylor Artist Nashville, TN
RB = Rick Bundschuh Youthworker/Pastor Kauai Christian Fellowship, Poipu, HI
JW = Jeremy White Youthworker/Pastor Valley Church, Vacaville, CA
TP = Todd Pearage Youthworker New Hanover UMC, Gilbertsville, PA
DR = Doug Ranck Youthworker Free Methodist Church, Santa Barbara, CA
Youth leaders and musicians don’t have normal “9-to-5” schedules. How do you work around your schedule in order to be a good dad to your kids?
L It’s all about prioritizing and reverse-engineering. I treat my family as a priority over work and outside obligations, which then governs how my weeks and months are laid out on the calendar. I tour a lot less than I could simply because I value the health of my family over whatever I might gain from doing more concerts. Some practical things I do in planning my weeks include consistently giving my wife a day off every week. My wife and my team know that the kids are my responsibility for that entire day, no matter what. I also commit to doing breakfast with my kids every morning, and devotionals with them every night when I’m home.
RB I found that my weird schedule actually worked as an advantage when the kids were young. I was around a lot in the morning. And since my wife also worked, we juggled our schedule so that we seldom had daycare. When the kids got older, I would yank them out of school from time to time to go with me to a conference or speaking commitment. Oh, and I insisted that I would work from home rather than a church office.
ST Early in the morning isn’t always my favorite time of day, but it’s the one time I know nothing else is going on. So I’ve always been the one to drive our now teenage daughter to school; for some reason it’s easier to talk when we’re both looking through the windshield than when we’re sitting across from each other having a “talk.” We also try to schedule weekly daddy/daughter nights that typically involve going out to eat—she’s more talkative when there’s food involved—and although I often work nights, there’s usually one or two free nights a week.
DR When the kids were still at home my short answer was to “bend and flex.” If I had an evening away from home, then I had “down” time scheduled in the late afternoon or morning and tried my best to choose time when they were around too. Taking at least one day off a week is important too. Although the kids are out are of the home now, I still want to take care of my marriage in the same way.
What advice would you give to a youth leader or musician who’s about to become a parent?
ST Having been both, I’d advise you to kiss life-as-you-know-it goodbye.
L Parenting is a priority. God gives specific directions to parents and it’s a…