Yes, the New Year is a good time to conduct a personal inventory – how can we change for the better, start those improvements that can make a difference in our lives and for those we love? The key is to focus on areas of highest interest to us – and to be specific about what we want to accomplish.
Resolutions have the potential to improve your effectiveness as a father and have a reasonable chance of success if you focus.
If you’re still with us with all this resolution talk, here’s your last one to keep for 2018.
Be a father
This sounds simple but it’s tricky. It requires showing up for your kids, not just when it’s convenient but when they need you and when they don’t even know they need you. It means communicating with your kids – not just talking but actually asking them about their thoughts and feelings and then listening to what they say. It calls for exercising patience, viewing things from your child’s perspective once and a while, and acting the way you’d like to be remembered, being a role model your kids can emulate.
Being a dad is a unique role because it comprises many parts – cheerleader, teacher, model and mentor. It’s a vitally important role in our society and it doesn’t get enough credit. The pay is poor, the hours are long, and the recognition is low. But it is one of the most important responsibilities you will ever have.
Always be there
So this year, think about what it means to be a dad and how you can be just a little bit better. Fatherhood expects maturity, demands discipline, involves setting an example, and calls for respect and understanding. It’s a major job assignment.
You can start simply by being there for your child. Try listening better, being reliable, dependable and trustworthy. Pick her up when she falls. Listen when he speaks. Empathize when they share. And always, always respect your children.
Never give up
You shouldn’t call in your performance as a parent. It’s too important. Avoid thinking, “Oh, there’s a next time.” The play, the concert, the game, the performance, is important. Your child wants to talk? Listen. We’ve never heard of a man who, at the end of his life said, “I wish I had worked more.” We often hear fathers say, “I wish I had been there more for my children.”
Do it. Now.
Tom Tozer and Bill Black are authors of “Dads2Dads: Tools for Raising Teenagers.” Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @dads2dadsllc. They are available for workshops. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.