Establishing weekly action items, such as engaging in fun activities with your family, can help strengthen the bond with your children.
Establishing weekly action items, such as engaging in fun activities with your family, can help strengthen the bond with your children.

The beginning of a new year is usually a time when many people reflect on their life and the goals they want to achieve.

People make resolutions about how they will lead their life throughout the year.

For example, women usually set goals, or make resolutions, that involve losing weight, starting a small business, saving more, spending less, and falling in love (again).


The goals men declare usually involve travelling to a new destination, making more money, building six pack abs, devoting more time to hobbies (golf), reading a big book, and advancing their career. Of course, there are always exceptions to these things.

What do you notice when you look at these common goals and resolutions?

Where are the family relationship goals?

The absence of a relationship goal does not mean that relationships are not important. For men, generally speaking, it’s just that family relationships are seen as private.

A man would rather talk about how well his children are doing in school, or at work, than about how he wished he was closer with them, or that he was a better father. I know this because I have been there.

Actually, I’m still there, sometimes. I am usually quick, and excited, to talk about Dakari’s progress with reading, but rarely share that sometimes I feel like I’m not doing an adequate job as a father.

I am certain that if you are a father, you have dreams, or certain desired outcomes for your relationship with your children.

You have goals as a father. Some of you have even made dad resolutions similar to the one featured in the 2011 popular Christian film, Courageous –– “I do solemnly resolve before God to take full responsibility for myself, my wife, and my children.”

By now, you would have realized that when I speak of a “dad resolution” I am not referring to the practice of making New Year’s resolutions, which have been proven, repeatedly, to be ineffective.

The dad resolution I speak of is your commitment, as a father, to your children.

One way of following through with the dreams and resolution is to make them into SMART goals.

The SMART acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound. How do you go about setting a SMART goal for your relationship with your children?

Here are some questions to consider:

-What type of father are you? Would your children agree?

-What one thing, that if you did it this year, would make a big difference in the life of your children, or strengthen your relationship with them?

-What is your long-term commitment to your children?

-Who do you want to be as a father?

-If this year were your last year of life, how would you prove your love and support for your children?

If you’re feeling really courageous, ask your children what they would like to see, or experience, more of from, or with, you.

When I asked Dakari that question, he told me he would like for us to play more games together at home.


With that information, my big 2014 fatherhood SMART goal became “To engage in more fun activities with Dakari throughout 2014.”

From there, I established weekly action steps.

For example, one of my action items is to play at least two different games with Dakari on the weekends.

I know he really enjoys art and crafts; so another action item is to create a craft with him every week.

I hope you get the idea. You have full responsibility for your relationship with your children.

Wishing and hoping will not strengthen your relationship with your children.

Setting goals and establishing weekly action items give you the power to create the relationship you want to have with them. For 2014, and beyond, resolve to be the father your child needs.

Pete Saunders is a life coach who helps motivated men use their super powers to fulfill their purpose and strengthen their personal relationships. Pete can be contacted at 338-3344.