Few things are as reassuring in uncertain times as Dad’s presence. Even if the relationship is strained, when the chips are down, Dad on the scene makes everything seem better.
Yet Dads are busy guys. Most vocations require Dads to be away from the family a big portion of most days. Is there a way to maintain that security of Dad’s presence even when not physically present?
For most situations, there is. In our family, we call it the “Dad Link”.
The Dad Link
You may recognize the term because it didn’t originate with us. We adopted it from a family-favorite movie, Richie Rich.
Richie was the most important thing in his dad’s life. Dad’s vault containing his most valued treasure was filled—not with his physical wealth—but with items from Richie’s childhood.
With his virtually unlimited resources, Richie’s dad spared no expense in creating the “Dad Link”—a space-age satellite tracking computer system that could locate Dad any where in the world within seconds and connect with him by video chat. Virtual access to his dad at any time.
“Dad Not Found”
At the crisis point in the movie plot when Richie’s parents were kidnapped, Richie fired up the Dad Link. After several excruciating moments of searching, the screen and audio of the Dad Link declared ominously, “Dad not found.”
The sense of despair is universally felt by those three words.
I love that movie because it was based on my favorite comic book as a boy. But those three words, “Dad not found,” hit me hard as a dad when I first saw it many years ago.
What if one of my kids urgently needed my help or counsel? Maybe they need to be picked up from a situation with friends that was going bad. Or, what if they are wrestling with a temptation? Or, what if they are in a serious emotional frump that makes no sense, yet is cripplingly real?
When my kids were young, cell phones were a luxury—available yet very expensive. And I wanted to provide better access that a landline phone number. So I got a pager—if you remember what that was. They could call my pager and leave their phone number and I would call them back asap.
2 Parts Of A Dad Link
Unlimited resources aren’t required to create an effective Dad Link. Essentially, there are only two elements needed:
- The mechanism. You don’t need the elaborate computer system like Richie Rich. Fortunately, the cell phone is now one of most dads’ everyday-carry items. It’s hard to remember what it was like to not have one. It’s actually everything Richie’s Dad Link was—a satellite tracking device with video chat capabilities!
The availability. This is the most important element. Your child just needs to know that he can reach out to you when he needs you. Just knowing that creates an amazing security. It doesn’t mean you don’t establish some guidelines. Even though Richie could interrupt his dad while meeting with the President of the United States just to say he got his first zit didn’t mean that he should! We had our own criteria for what constituted urgent. My kids knew if a matter was truly urgent—within the criteria we’d established—they would enter a “9” after the phone number in my pager and I would drop everything. Otherwise, I’d call as soon as I could if I was in a meeting. A simple text today makes everything more efficient.
The point is simple: let your kids know that you are available for them 24/7. This becomes even more important as they enter their teenage years and your role becomes more of a life coach. And, amazingly, it remains as important when they are adults and leave home. My Dad Link is still operational and is activated daily.
Set up your Dad Link system with guidelines and review them with your family today. Just knowing that as Dad you are making yourself available is huge. No child needs to hear the words, “Dad not found.”
Question: How have you made sure your kids know you are available and accessible to them 24/7? Share your answer in the comments below.