As a single dad of three teenagers, I have had to come to terms with a fact many of us men don’t really like to concede; I’m mortal. As Clint Eastwood’s character Harry Callahan said so eloquently in Magnum Force, “a man’s got to know his limitations. ” Having kids taught me what Dirty Harry was really talking about.
So, what I’ve learned and now advise to every dad out there is simple. Just don’t sweat it!
Instead, be present in your children’s lives. Give them a hug when you think about it. Actually listen to them when you’re around. And remember you’re only human; you’ll do just fine.
We men naturally want to find solutions. We want to fix things. It’s in our DNA. That’s not necessary when dealing with your kids. What’s really needed is some nurturing, letting your children know that you care.
Let them know that all that hard work you’re doing isn’t just for the glory of your own success, but because you care about them and their well being.
If it doesn’t put you in too awkward of a position, why not tell your children that you love them and that you’re proud of them? Doing hobbies together is very nice. Quality time and quantity time are good things. But what’s really great is giving them that ongoing assurance that you’re in their corner.
No matter what, try not to beat yourself up if you don’t do it perfectly. Our children can be our absolute biggest fans. We men can have some pretty fragile egos. If we’ve taken the time to have real conversations and develop authentic relationships with our children, we have a very nice support team when the world is less than nice to us.
Having children is a beautiful thing. We should all take the time to enjoy the gift we’ve been given.