Taylor Swift, the "Wobble" and pink ties—what do they all have in common? That’s right, it’s daddy-daughter dance season.
I recently attended the last elementary school daddydaughter dance I will get to experience with my princess. As I was dancing up a storm and looking around the cafeteria, I noticed that there were hundreds of dads standing around talking to other dads, while only a few dozen dads danced with their daughters. It made me wonder, why don’t we live every second under the notion of W.I.N.—What’s Important Now? I think the Below 100 tenet should not be used exclusively for on-duty situations. It needs to be used in our daily lives, too.
We all have busy schedules, demanding bosses and "stuff" that needs to get done for work. The weeks leading up to this dance had been insane. I had a large state tactical conference in one week and it was my responsibility to make it happen. Annual evaluations were due for all those I supervise and I am part of one of the greatest law enforcement training efforts ever seen—Below 100. I need every second of every day to dedicate to my projects.
But, you know what? My children and my wife don’t care about that. They care about family time, playing catch in the yard, wrestling on the floor and, yes, dances. I could have easily dismissed that dance in the name of getting caught up. In fact, over the years I have missed out on a lot of important things. Like many of you, I often say something along the lines of, "Family is the most important thing you have." But, are we practicing what we preach? I can honestly tell you that I do … at least sometimes.
But sometimes is just not good enough for those we love. You must always make family the most important thing. Ask yourself, when was the last time you said, "Screw it!" and just did what was right and what was important to your family?
Another thing I challenge you to consider: When you choose to work that overtime, part-time job or take on that special project that eats so much of your family time, how do you make it up to your family? A day out spending money on new clothes and toys? Taking them to special places or spending money on special (read: expensive) vacations? Guess what? They don’t care about those things. The old saying, "You can’t buy love," is true. Our families just want quality time with us. As I danced with my daughter to a slow song, I noticed her crying. When I asked her why, she simply said, "Because I love you." It doesn’t get any better than that. Spending that precious time with her was priceless.
Supervisors, listen up. We have shifts to run and units to provide specialized services to our citizens. But do you make a conscious effort to encourage officers to take time for their families? Do you know when your troops have special events coming up—birthdays, anniversaries, recitals or little league games? We should know when those things are getting close and do everything possible to help them attend, even if that means paying some overtime or working a beat yourself. What’s important now is keeping our people engaged with their families. What’s important now is keeping our people mentally and spiritually healthy. We owe it to them and their families. Why is W.I.N. so damn important? Because it is about making the right decision, right now. You must live in the now, because you don’t know if there will be a later or a tomorrow.
A fellow officer recently made a comment that has really been echoing in my brain: "When you are on your death bed, no man will ever say, I wish I had worked more hours." Take time to make your family the most important thing in your life.