If we took an assessment of working dads, we’d likely hit a common cord that would sound something like, “I work very hard to make a living and provide the very best for my family.” And while that’s commendable and sounds noble, we must also examine whether this strikes the same chord within your family members. We recently caught up with Antar Muhammad, bestselling author of HeartCore to talk about the importance of prioritizing family and developing as a servant leader to your family first before all “other” roles whether professional, ministerial, entrepreneurial or organizational.

Antar recalls when he was a young boy around 10 years old, he found himself serving instinctively from his core—that typically looked like carrying his Pastor’s bible, fetching a glass of water or performing whatever tasks to ensure his needs were being attended to.

“When something flows out of your heart, you just find yourself doing it. It’s something I’ve always done, something I’ve always had a passion for. It’s who I am.”

This can also apply to your own household. Oftentimes, if not careful, as purpose-driven men, Antar expresses that you can give the world the best of you and give your family the least of you. An effective leader is servant of all, therefore serve your household just as effectively as you serve your organization, company, ministry, and the association you’re a part of. The top order of the day, and every day should be: how can I best serve my family?

Muhammad further explains that this doesn’t mean that one needs to have a subservient disposition by being an open doormat, but rather an attitude of how you can make your household and family better. And that means having open conversations and fireside chats to get feedback and give input. That’s goes for your spouse. That’s goes for your child or children. Your relationships matter because after all, these are the people who know you and love you the most. 

“You don’t get to be the boss or the dictator just because you’re the parent. You’re there to serve your children too.”

There have been numerous occasions where Antar have returned from domestic or international travel, perhaps extremely tired or depleted. However, if his daughter desired to do something in particular or special, he typically makes himself available. Serving her needs are often trumped at the expense of his own need for extended rest or relaxation. That’s just one form of servitude in parenthood. In Chapter 8 of Heartcore on balance, one of the tips discussed is “Just Say No.” That doesn’t necessarily mean turning down your family but rather declining the things that rob you of your family. “Sometimes people forget that just because you are loyal, responsible and efficient at what you do, you’re still human. And sometimes the most relieving thing you can do to find balance in your life is to say “no.” Real balance is the prioritization of what is most important in your life—and creating the freedom and fluidity of when to say yes, and when to say no

Muhammad didn’t have a present male figure or model growing up. However, he didn’t allow a temporary reality to shape, dictate and define him as a father. “Just because you didn’t get it, doesn’t mean that you can’t become it. It’s our responsibility to teach them of what it means to give back to somebody else.” This is also one of the primary reasons that he has also founded the non-profit organization, DadsUnited, designed to uplift men, encourage dads in their fatherhood role and support those who may not have a dad present in their lives.