Do you think being a dad is your most important job?
If so do you have a plan for being a dad? Do you have a plan for your career, retirement, for your household? If we plan for all those other areas of our lives why not make a plan for what we claim is our most important job?
I often say that parenting is like driving. lots of people do it and few try to get better at it. Like driving we all pretend to be experts at parenting. There seems to be this notion that as soon as you have kids you know how to raise them. But how can we do a good job unless we have a plan for being a dad?
I often marvel at how people without children will give awesome parenting advice immediately followed by a phrase along the lines of “but I don’t have kids so I dot know what I’m talking about!” None of us do! We all want to do our best to raise our children. However how many of us simply rely on what we learned from our parents? Hopefully we read a book or two to pick up some new insights, or talk to friends and family but the truth is most of us are just guessing.
SO if being a parent really is important why don’t we have a plan?
If you’ve read my home page then you know about my experience with life book. Life book allowed me to get very clear about many things in my life including my parenting. As a result I have a parenting plan that breaks down into 4 parts:
1.What do I believe about parenting?
2.What is my vision for parenting?
3.Why do I want this vision?
4.Whats my strategy to achieve it?
Part 1: My Parenting beliefs
I have 2 basic beliefs as a parent:
- Why they do things is more important than what they do.
As a sales person I realize my customers behavior is driven by beliefs and values. I need to find out why they’re doing what they are doing in an effort to change behavior. Lets take an extreme hypothetical example. Lets say I killed someone who was threatening my family. Now lets say I killed someone just for fun. The behavior is the same the motivation is decidedly different. You will have a very different reaction to both of those scenarios. We focus so much on behavior instead of what’s behind it. Behavior is always a sign of something else.
- There is only one variable to parenting and that is how will you respond?
Kids in general will act up act out and try to find their boundaries. They will have special needs or exceptional needs. How you respond to those things is entirely up to you. Many of us simply react without thinking about it. Especially with unwanted behavior.
Please consider that you actually have a choice. Understanding this gives me more control when things feel out of control. I stop asses myself and how I feel in order to get a handle on my emotions. Then try to asses why they’re doing what they’re doing and react accordingly. By figuring out what you need in those moments you will help to understand what they need. I don’t always get this right but when I do it has made a world of difference. There seems to be even more trust and respect in my home.
Part 2: Vision
My vision is to be a patient understanding father who helps create self directed capable, confident, healthy kids who happily pursue the ultimate versions of themselves in a positive encouraging environment.
Part 3: WHY Do I Want This?
My purpose for all of this is to help my kids be the best versions of themselves. To me this does NOT Mean making sure they are cardiologists or NHL players. This means giving them the tools to deal with their thoughts and emotions all while teaching them everyday tasks like cooking cleaning or changing a tire. To often we tell kids what they are experiencing doesn’t matter. This plagues us into our adult life. We are constantly told WHAT to think and feel but never HOW to think and feel. And if this is what drives our values and behaviors in the future I want to ensure they’re equipped.
Part 4: Whats My Strategy?
My strategy for all of this is to improve myself. If my vision is to help my kids be the best version of themselves Id better be held to the same standard. Kids follow our example more than our words. I want to set a good example (which includes setting boundaries.) For example, if you’re a smoker do you really want your kids to grow up to be smokers?
I accomplish this with a few simple steps. I check in with myself a few times a day to make sure I’m self aware. I read as much as I can and try to get new perspectives. if I’m to lead by example and I want my kids to be aware I need to be able to this for myself. Like Rhea Lalla says: “The ninja move in parenting is to control yourself.” Think about it. How often are kid tantrums met with adult tantrums?
I want to set that example of patience, control and understanding of my own inner world so that I can help them understand theirs.
That’s it. Simple, not easy. Once again if you tell people being a dad is your most important job then I dare you to prove it. Its an easy thing to say unless your willing to work on it. So now do you have a plan for being a dad? Make one for yourself. That plan can change as you learn and grow. It can be as simple as read some books or websites on a regular basis to get a different perspective. Now implement what you’ve learned.
Be kind and patient with yourself. This will take time, It’s a process not a destination. I believe you will set a foundation for your kids to become who THEY want to be. Instead of demanding they be who WE need them to be. Don’t you wish someone had done that for you?