Ideas in the Wild: How Justin Batt Launched a National Movement to Help Fathers Connect with Their Children

In today’s world, fathers face a dilemma: how can they balance their career and family while connecting with their children in a meaningful and intentional way? Being seen as a great father in the eyes of your children is the dream of every father, but achieving this goal is not easy. It requires intentionality, which […]

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In today’s world, fathers face a dilemma: how can they balance their career and family while connecting with their children in a meaningful and intentional way? Being seen as a great father in the eyes of your children is the dream of every father, but achieving this goal is not easy.

It requires intentionality, which is why Justin Batt created Daddy Saturday eleven years ago. He wanted to connect with his children’s hearts and minds by creating epic memories they could all share together. Since then, Daddy Saturday has become a national movement that other fathers have joined to achieve that dream of active, engaged, intentional parenting.

Justin wrote his book, Daddy Saturday: How to Be an Intentional Dad to Raise Good Kids Who Become Great Adults, to share a blueprint that fathers can use to create epic memories with their own children. I caught up with Justin to see what inspired him to share his ideas, which idea from the book is his favorite, and how he’s applied the book’s lessons to his own life.

What happened that made you decide to write the book? What was the exact moment when you realized these ideas needed to get out there?

About eleven years ago, I decided to become intentional about spending time with my children, and in doing so, I created Daddy Saturday. I have spent almost every Saturday since then with my four children, accumulating more than 13,000 hours of time engaging my children in planned and purposeful ways on Saturdays. It was about two years ago when we were in the middle of a Daddy Saturday and a whole group of kids from our neighborhood came over asking if they could also participate. I included them in the experience and it wasn’t long before their fathers were also asking about this thing called Daddy Saturday.

Simultaneously, I had also received questions from fathers through social media from all over the country asking how they could do their own Daddy Saturdays. I had seen the positive change in the relationship with my children and my wife and heard great feedback from other fathers in my local community. As I read through all the questions I received, I felt like my calling was to make a positive impact on the world and help other fathers achieve what I’d found.

As I thought about all of the books I had read on parenting, almost all of them came from the perspective of a PhD or a psychologist and were based on theory. There was nothing practical out there, so I decided to put my experiences as a father on paper by writing Daddy Saturday.The book is a field manual for fatherhood from an everyday dad who’s in the middle of his own fatherhood journey. My hope is that fathers reading this book will have a similar wake up call like I did and find the information practical and applicable to their lives.

What’s your favorite specific, actionable idea in the book?

Merge your professional and personal calendars into one calendar in order to prioritize personal events (date nights with wife/daughter or ball games) at the same level as a business meeting.

I don’t care if it’s digital or on paper, the practice of calendaring allows you to create your best day and your best week. I also don’t have separate calendars for work and life, either, because I don’t want to isolate those two areas of my life. By combining work and life calendars, my coworkers can see when I’m busy with my family, like the one day a week I’m joining my kids for lunch at school. If it’s on my calendar, it’s blocked off. That time is sacred; it’s preserved.

A word of advice to the men out there: if you have a daughter and you do date nights, ensure you at minimum double up on the amount of dates you take your wife on!

What’s a story of how you’ve applied this lesson in your own life? What has this lesson done for you?

Years ago, I implemented this practice and blended my professional and personal calendars. As a result, I schedule a date night with my daughter each month and weekly one-on-one time with each of my four children — and the appointments are equally as important as any business meeting. I also share my calendar with my superiors and colleagues so they can see my priorities. If I need to leave early for a ball game or a dance recital, I’m able to plan in advance to ensure I’m not overbooked with meetings and can make the event on time. I’ve found this practice allows me to better manage the tension between work and home and I’m far more engaged during the personal events because I’m fully present and not focused on work.

For more advice on creating deeper father-child relationships, check out Daddy Saturday on Amazon.

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