Being Present Is More Than Simply Being There

  by Dan Wolgemuth

A popular local breakfast restaurant was the perfect canvas on which to paint a morning memory. Mary and I took advantage with scrambled eggs and biscuits and gravy as our pallet.

As we were enjoying our final bites, a dad entered the restaurant with his young daughter at his side. They were ushered to the perfect two-person table in a quiet corner of the thriving establishment. It was a dadcraft moment if ever there was one.

Dad + 10-year-old daughter = lasting memory and repeatable tradition

But that’s not what happened. Within seconds of being seated in the ideal memory-creating location, the dad was transfixed to this cell phone. What made this more offensive than a typical cell-phone distraction was that his daughter had nothing in her hand. No phone. No game. No book. Nothing.

She sat, staring at the face of a dad who was enthralled with anything but her. She faded to boredom as he grew increasingly more unresponsive.

This wasn’t a moment stolen. It was a privilege given away.

Make no mistake, the message was powerfully clear to me, and to the wanting heart and fragile self-image of a 10-year-old. “My phone and the information or entertainment that it provides are more important than you are.”

dadcraft is a commitment; a priority setting; a calibration on the transcendent relational realities that while my kiddos are still within my reach—both physically and relationally—I would be wise to steward each moment with intentionality, focus, and enthusiasm.

So, here are some suggestions from a seasoned dadcraft dad who had his own addictive distractions:

  • When you’re on a daddy date, leave your phone in the car. Seriously.
  • Ahead of one-on-one time with you child, on a 3-by05 card, write 3 to 5 questions that will draw you into the world of your child.
  • On another 3 by 5 card, write down 3 to 5 character qualities that you affirm in your kiddo.
  • Carve out cell-free times in your home. Blocks of time when no work interruption or sports score is going to hijack the minutes that could be used to roughhouse, read, or create.

Take it from a seasoned dadcraft dad; a dad who squandered his share of biscuit and gravy moments: Don’t let the latest app, the trendiest Tweet, or the most compelling headline entice you to ignore the precious opportunity that sits across the table.


Another activity suggestion is supercharged coloring. And don’t miss another confessional, instructional “seasoned dadcraft” reflection on bathtime.

Picture by Nick Wilkes; Used via Unsplash license.