Blog: Our Reality Show

Choose a Category
Back to all posts
  • Fathers, Dads, Etc.

    This special “Father’s Day” essay is brought to you by the Department of Unsolicited Advice…

    Parenting is not a math problem. There are no definite right and wrong answers. In many respects, it’s a matter of taking your best guess at a moment in time and going with that, all the while knowing you might have to change course at some point along the way.

    I’ve been fortunate to have several father figures in my life, even if I didn’t make the connection at the time. Although none was more important than the man I called “Dad” for my first 42 years on earth, these people helped fill in the personal and professional gaps that have made me who I am today.

    Village clichés aside, I learned early in life that “family” has an elastic definition, one not confined to biology or genetics. My parents deeply loved each other and their children, but they also recognized they did not have all the answers. I’m so glad they didn’t try to pretend that they did.

    And despite having such good role models, I spent much of my first 30+ years terrified of actually being a parent, admiring those who did it well and feeling I could never measure up. As a result, much of my self-esteem centered on professional successes and less on personal ones, even after Jill and I got together and my four kids were born.

    It was only after my dad died that I realized my time on this earth was finite, and that my chances to have a direct impact on the upbringing of my kids was fleeting. I also saw the chance to be that male person that others could turn to, and tried to spend time listening and offering realistic, heartfelt advice and support where I could.

    Now, Father’s Day comes down to this for me:

    • Don’t forget to take a moment to realize that a young person is never too old for a hug, and that simple kindness is greatly underrated. 
    • Don’t be afraid to take responsibility for your actions and mistakes. An apology is not a mark of failure, but of maturity.
    • Don’t forget what brought you to this point, or those who brought you there.
    • Don’t be afraid to call out someone when necessary. 
    • Don’t forget to be thankful, even when the day/week/month/year/decade sucks.
    • Don’t be afraid to embrace uncertainty. It's where creativity begins.

    Most of all, remember that your life’s work is never done, even after you’re long gone. Whether you know it or not, your influence — good and bad — will be felt for generations to come. ‪#‎HappyFathersDay‬