The Busy Dad (A Father’s Day Memory)

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What we’re doing is pretty radical. I quit my job. We’re selling the house. After a dozen trips to Goodwill, we put the rest of what we own in storage. We’re going to see America. For a year. In an RV. This is not something normal people do. Which is why the most frequent question I get is, “Why are you doing this?!”

A Father’s Day to Remember

To answer, jump back with me to Father’s Day 2017. It was a good holiday. I’d already quit my job, preparations for our travels were underway, and we enjoyed a day of watching the Captain Underpants movie (Tra-la-la!), eating at Rudy’s Barbecue, and opening a couple presents.

But what really got me was the card from my 8-year-old. Mom told Sage to create a card for Dad, so, on his own, he decided he would draw me a comic strip just for the occasion. Here it is:

Busy Dad Comic
“The Busy Dad” by Sage Maselli

You read the title right. He titled it, “The Busy Dad.”

Of all the things he could write about Dad–heroic, loving, thoughtful, muscular, spiritual, wise–he went with “busy.”

This isn’t the legacy I want to have with my kids.

He took me through the story. It goes something like this (you can follow along with the comic and feel the gut-wrenching I did when he read it to me. Fun!):

“Dad wakes early to an alarm. Then he drives to work, but gets a flat tire along the way. He gets it fixed. Then the store he goes to is closed. Then he finally gets in and goes to work. Next, he drives home in very busy traffic. Then he finally gets to see his family.”

Wait…So…What?

In short, Dad wakes early, leaves, encounters a bunch of trouble, has a long commute, and gets home late to “finally” see his family.

Sadly, I wasn’t as surprised as I wish I had been. This is what he’s seen modeled from his Dad most his life. His busy, frustrated, tired Dad. Surely I can justify this, right? Isn’t busy-ness, frustration, and tiredness some of the fruit of the spirit mentioned in the Bible? There are so many of those it’s hard to keep track…

It reminded me of when I went back to work when our daughter was six (I’d been home writing freelance prior to this). Everything seemed fine on the surface, but suddenly she began a habit of biting her nails. Children’s thoughts and feelings come out in interesting ways, sometimes in the form of a nervous habit, other times in art.

Dreamworks Captain Underpants
Dreamworks’ Captain Underpants. This guy has his priorities straight!

Looking Ahead to Our Big Trip

My prayer is that by Father’s Day 2018, we’ll have had a full year of bonding, adventuring and discovering what’s really important in life. I mean, not to be morbid, but life is short. What if I had become a pancake on one of those long commutes to work? Is this the legacy I’d have left my 8-year-old? “He was a Busy Dad…”

Hard work is a good thing. We should all strive to do all we can, to be all we can be. And hard work done in corporate cubicles affords us many things in life that are good:

  • A beautiful house
  • Safety and security
  • Extensive entertainment libraries
  • Technology we can play with together
  • The ability to dine out whenever we want
  • Nice clothes, fun toys…

But this good is the enemy of the great. Gena and I, like so many people we know, have built a good life. We’ve been blessed; we have nothing to complain about. Good heavens, even the poorest among us are richer than the rest of the world.

Our lifestyle has afforded us so many good things. But the good is the enemy of the great.

But it has come at a cost. We’re losing our community–and not just with our neighbors, but also within our own households. We’re moving through our days with our heads in our video screens, with virtual currency quickly lapping the importance of real currency. And in the interest of maintaining what we have, we spend our days investing time and passion into things that are temporary. Grossly temporary.

Tony the Tiger "They're GRRRRREAT!"
This guy knows what’s gr-r-reat!

Why Is Busy Dad Doing This?

Why are we doing this? We have several reasons. But it’s mostly because we’ve enjoyed the good long enough. It’s time to try something great. While this is our “something great,” I’m sure the path is different for every family. But for us, this is it.

In the next week, whether we’re 100% ready or not, we’re launching out into the unknown, heading out to more time together–richer time together, just having time together.

And if the feelings we’re already having are any indication, we’re going to love this. Remember that storage unit we filled? I couldn’t even tell you what’s over there, which is a clear indication that we probably never needed any of that stuff in the first place.

What we need isn’t more stuff. It’s each other. And new experiences. All else is negotiable.

But negotiating is something this busy dad doesn’t have time to do anymore.

8 Comments
  1. Tom Statler says

    Love this and congratulations! I think you will look back on this time as one of the best of your and the kid’s lives! Hopefully CO Springs is on your list of places to visit!

    1. Christopher says

      Thanks, Tom! And actually we’re looking at Colorado Springs as one of our first places to go out of the gate. We’ll check in with you within the next couple weeks. We definitely want to see you guys and get the grand tour! 🙂

  2. Samantha Mathis says

    My husband has a wonderful quote he uses all the time when we sing in churches or someone asks about our large family. “I am the richest man you will meet today, I just don’t have a lot of money” Our children have had to help us with our house and farm, fix old vehicles, work HARD for anything they wanted to buy but they have gained character, a work ethic, and have spent time with us doing it. The children say they wouldn’t change it for a big house and more stuff. We spend a lot of time together having fun and working. Well….a bigger house might be nice. Great article. Stop by if you visit southern Indiana. We have a place to park a camper, riding horses, donkeys, an alpaca, chickens, an awesome creek with fossils and fish.

    1. Christopher says

      Thank you for the encouraging word–love that quote from Mark! You hit it right on the head. We’ll let you know if we come through that way for sure!

  3. Lynda Slininger says

    This is very exciting – I hope Minnesota is on the list!?

    1. Christopher says

      We’re actually thinking it may work to come through there this Fall. Depends on how soon we can make it up North. If not, it would be next summer, I think. But yes, it’s definitely on the docket!

  4. Melanie Hemry says

    Wow, Chris, this is absolutely the truth. So happy that you and Gena had the courage to step out of the rat race. I love following your adventure. Who knows what you might inspire:) Melanie Hemry

    1. Christopher says

      Thank you, Melanie! I’m looking forward to seeing what happens myself! 😛

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