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When You Comin’ Home Dad

Finding balance as an educator is an ongoing challenge.  All the time spent prepping, assessing, meeting, and learning are the things that make great educators but they also affect life’s balance between work and family.Family

For my wife and I, these next few months will be the most exciting, challenging, and  joyous times of our lives as we are expecting twins in November/December.  As these children will be our first-borns, I want to make sure that I alter my life in such a way that my family is always the priority.

Education will always be ONE of my passions but it will never come close to the passion I have for spending time with family.  The main goal for me in the next year will be: BALANCE.   I want to be the parent that my parents were to me.  I want to be there to play, watch, teach, learn, read, coach, share, and love.

Although I have heard this song many times, I have never really listened to the lyrics.  As I am now approaching fatherhood, this song brought tears to my eyes as it developed a whole new meaning to me.  Please have a listen and reflect on the balance in your life.

The saddest part of all this is that Chapin died 7 years later… and never got to see his children grow up.

I need to find the balance to be there for the many special moments with my children.  I never want to answer the question, “When you comin’ home dad?” with “I don’t know when“.

Thank you to presenter and ex-principal Denis Harrigan of Victoria for introducing this to me.  Thank you to my parents for always being there.

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Chris Wejr

Proud father of twin girls and a son. Currently working as the Principal of James Hill Elementary School (K-5) in Langley, BC, Canada. Passionate about strengths-based education and leadership, reconciliation, assessment, and human motivation.

14 Comments

  1. Chris,

    This song really came to life for me after my husband and I had children. Balancing family and the principalship is definitely challenging! Sometimes I feel like the best part of my stays at school where I always have to be “ON”. It is so important to take off that hat when you are with kids – and enjoy the times you have with family. It is not something that comes easily – it is something you really have to consciously work at – as with everything in life that is worth doing. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Chris,

    Thanks for this very honest post. I truly understand what you are saying. As a working mother, first as a teacher, then as an assistant principal and finally as a principal, I lived by the mantra,”Work is part of my life but it is not my life.” It took me some time, but I found out how to balance home and work and be there to support my children. You know the necessity of finding this balance and you will find it. You will be a great dad and an ever present cheerleader for your children.
    Lots of good luck to you and your wife on the upcoming birth of your twins.

    Best,
    Gail

  3. Okay, now I KNOW you weren’t listening to me! 🙂 🙂 This song meant so much to me when you were growing up and I used to ask you to listen to it. Now that you are going to need to be spending quality time with your own kids, I am confident these words will come back to remind you many times over how important it is… before it is too late. Time goes by far too quickly so you have to start from day one. Keep the song handy. It paid off for us… look at you now! Luvya

  4. As an administrator I often find myself espousing to my staff the importance of balance. However, I also find at times that as a father myself I fall short at times. And like you, I too have heard this song countless times but was unaware of the message.

    Great post. Thanks for reminding me of the importance of balance.

  5. Wow! What a great blog post, Chris! I think that balance is really important too, and I love how you’re looking at how to do this now before your twins arrive. Reading your tweets and blog posts show me what a caring person you are, and I know that your children will be lucky to have such a wonderful dad (and mom too)!

    Aviva

  6. Chris, I mean Mr. Wejr, you will be the most amazing dad….you have always intuitively done the right things for kids. Thanks for your time spent coaching and teaching my special girl! As for balance, I have no doubt that you have your priorities in the right places. You always have!

  7. Chris,
    Balance. This word is so powerful. My family is the most important thing in the world to me. Like any Mother, I would do anything humanly possible to ensure that my kids never go without or feel that someone was not there for them. It took me a while to figure out how to balance family and career and you will take some time to find your groove as well. But, you will find your groove and just knowing what sort of influence and time you want to spend with your children and wife will aid you in this new journey.
    You do what you have to do to make it all work. You learn that no child ever remembers how clean the house is….they remember the family ball hockey game. And you also learn that you can be an effective educator without spending endless hours within the school walls.
    Best of luck to you and Tonya!!! I know your family will be balanced 😀

  8. Awesome Post Chris. Lots of truth here. As a dad of 2, I concur with what you’re writing, and I think most dads feel a twinge of guilt when they hear this song. Sobering, for sure.
    Finding balance between your family, your work and everything else will be a constant challenge. Take the advice that I was given when we were expecting our first: Make sure that your family doesn’t get the leftovers.
    In a career where you give many hours of your day to other kids and other families, you’ll have to redefine boundaries so that your wife and your kids know that they are your first priorities. That can be challenging in busy weeks! But from what I know of you and your heart for others, you are well prepared to enter the “daddyhood” phase. May you truly enjoy the upcoming weeks, (to be read: Get lots of sleep!) and wisely spend lots of “we time” with your bride. You’re going to be a great daddy!

  9. Chris, you and Tonya will be the most amazing parents because you both “get it” regarding where the importance should be placed when juggling busy lives. I don’t think you need to worry about finding that balance, as you will intuitively seek it, knowing that family always comes first.
    However, there will be challanges and my advice is communication. Sharing with your family that your heart always belongs with them as you deal with the necessities of your job helps. Building memories is the best way to bridge this conflict. Life gets as busy as you make it and it’s OK to say no to others if they are impeding on family time. You are a rockstar in your kids eyes as they gleefully shrieking and scramble to the door upon your homecoming. Perhaps this is where you will seek your balance…you only need to be a hero in the eyes of those that love you best!

  10. You will be a great father, I’m sure of it. I read Heidi’s blog and she’s right: you learn as you go. Katie has a much different mother than her older brothers – I cringe when I think about how uptight I was back then, and how many mistakes I made. The important thing is, children are resiliant and forgiving, and all about ‘the now’. If you yelled five minutes ago, but apologized and hugged them five seconds ago, it’s the hug they will remember and hold on to. It doesn’t mean you don’t try not to yell in the future, it just means you get another chance – almost endless chances to prove your love. And as long as your kids know they are the most important thing in your life…that goes a long way, even if you don’t always make it home before bed time. All the best as you wait for the big day!

  11. Interesting comments folks, but the bottom line is I have to travel to make a living (or work for minimum wage). By traveling I provide a quality lifestyle for my wife and son, but yes ever Monday when I leave, I damn near tear up. What I was looking for on this site (anybody know any others) is “How to be a good dad who travels”. For example . . . one thing I do before I leave is to set up at treasure hunt. Then I call my son and say look behind this. Behind this he will find a clue that leads him to somewhere else where another clue is hidden, that leads him somewhere else, and so on and so on, until he finds the treasure (a toy or candy). Then he calls me on the phone all excited saying what a fun time he had and I am happy sitting in my hotel room.

    Anybody else got ideas like this to make traveling tolerable as a dad? Let’s share and become the best traveling dads/parents that we can be.

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