I just wanted to take some time to talk to all the dads (and dads-to-be) out there.

There’s no doubt that this is a stressful time for all of us, and for some it’s more stressful than others. As men, we want to be the ones to take care of and protect our families. We want to be the one they look to for leadership, comfort and strength. In times like this, it can be a tall order. So I want to give you dads some encouragement and advice. First, the encouragement.

This will pass.

Obviously, we don’t know exactly how long it will be, but eventually, it will end, and you will still have your family. Secondly, you’re not in this alone. We’re literally all in this together, and we’ll help each other through it. Lastly, there is help. If you’re in need of basic necessities, call the United Way at (800) 273-2275 or (661) 336-5200.

Now for some advice:

  1. Have a plan. Plans can be flexible, but start deciding how you’re going to navigate the next six to eight weeks with food and finances. Having a plan will help reduce your stress and anxiety, even if you have to tweak it now and then.
  2. If you’re home all day, don’t spend all your time looking at a screen (tablet, phone or TV). Make some time to spend with your family – playing board games, going for a walk (observing social distancing, of course), doing a puzzle or just pitching in to get long neglected chores done. Wouldn’t this be a great time to clean and organize your closets? Your garage? Staying busy is important. It will keep your mind occupied and let you focus on less stressful things.
  3. Be a source of hope for your family. This can be tough if you have little hope yourself, and I’m certainly not suggesting that you be dishonest. It’s okay to tell your kids that you’re not sure what will happen. Just remind them that you will all get through this together and that it will end. Kids especially need reassurance that the adults in their lives are there for them.
  4. Carve out time alone for just you and your wife. Since everyone may be home all day, the best time is probably after the kids are in bed. Talk to each other. Tweak your plan if necessary. Pray together. Home dates are the only ones you’re likely to have for a while.
  5. Give this to God. Honestly, I think God has to remind us now and then that we do not have total control over what happens in our lives. He wants us to rely on him. In fact, Jesus commands us not to worry – good advice, but hard to do. Worry only worsens our situation by multiplying our stress, it doesn’t fix the situation. So when you’re feeling stressed, just pray “God, I give this to you. I’m not going to worry about it.” Then go clean your garage!

In closing, let me say again that you will get through this. Times like these will test us, and tests are no fun.

But decide right now that you will rise to the challenge and be the leader your family needs. Years from now, they will remember how you dealt with this situation. What do you want them to remember?

Philippians 4:6-7
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

-Volunteer Male Coach at the Bakersfield Pregnancy Center

For help or more information call (661)326-1907.

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