Thirty Ideas for Long-Distance Dads
Being a good long-distance dad is just as important as being a good “regular” dad. In fact, in some ways it is even more important. Your kids still need your love, your support and your encouragement—probably more than ever. And here’s the good news: You can give it to them, even though you aren’t physically there with them.
“It’s hard to be away from my family for long stretches of time. It’s really hard. But we make it work—and that is what really matters.” Dave L., U.S. Army
Perhaps you are serving our nation in the U.S. Armed Forces, the State Department or in some other branch of government far from home. Or perhaps you are a businessman, a researcher or have another profession that takes you far away from your family for long periods of time. Perhaps you are required to be away from your families for many months or even years at a stretch, or maybe you are able to get back home from time to time. Or perhaps your children are going off to college or into the military hundreds, or even thousands, of miles away. Regardless of your particular situation, know that you’re a member of a growing club. Long-distance fatherhood is a rising trend—and one that is going to continue to increase for the foreseeable future. So no matter why you find yourself serving in the role of long-distance dad, thank you for still wanting to be the best dad you can be.
I say “thank you” because your role as a long-distance dad is just as vital and important for your children as a “regular” dad. You have the same challenges as any other dad, but with the added difficulties of multiple time zones and large distances thrown in. But don’t let the fact that you aren’t with your kids every day fool you: Your kids still need your love, long for your approval, and look for your counsel (even though it may not seem like it at times). Your kids still need you, no matter where you (or they) are based in the world—and they always will (and, by the way, that is also absolutely true for your wife as well).
Being a good dad is never easy, but it is 10 times more difficult when you are far from your family. I know this from personal experience. One time, I was working in South America while my family was in New York. We did that for more than a year. I got to fly home from time to time, and we were mostly in the same time zone, so in many ways my long-distance dad experience was easier than most. But it was still plenty stressful for our family, and out of it we learned some important lessons. I’ve also spoken with many long-distance dads who have dealt with much tougher assignments—and I’ve learned a lot from each of them. (I have no doubt that if you’re a long-distance dad yourself, you have some nuggets of wisdom for us as well. I hope you will share them with us—and benefit from the fellowship and support of other long distance dads—at www.FellowshipOfFathers.com.)
01 – The Importance of Fatherhood
02 – The Power of a “Noble Family Vision”
03 – Overview of the Ten Tools of Fatherhood
04 – TOOL #1: Family First/Fun
05 – TOOL #2: All-in Marriage
06 – TOOL #3: True Moral Compass and True Humility
07 – TOOL #4: Heartfelt Love
08 – TOOL #5: Empowering Servant Leadership
09 – TOOL #6: Relationship Tools that Work
10 – TOOL #7: Heaven’s Help
11 – TOOL #8: Other Good Dads
12 – TOOL #9 Optimistic, Never-Surrender Attitude
13 – TOOL #10 Dynamic, Whole-Person Support
14 – Being the Best Single Dad You Can Be
15 – How to Handle Lifes Beanballs
16 – Thirty Ideas for Long-Distance Dads
17 – Conclusion: The Ongoing Fatherhood Journey