I’ve been thinking a lot about this whole parenting thing and it’s fast approach. I wouldn’t consider my self scared or unprepared, mostly because I don’t know there is a way to be what one would estimate “prepared”, but I would say I’m awfully curious. There is certainly not a right way to do it, that I do know. But where to start. Realizing something key is a good place to start. That thing is how we perceive ourselves in any life facet and whether that perception is accurate or not . . . call it your self awareness or self intuition, but for this purpose your estimation of your own habits.
I have a hard time being honest with myself on what my habits are. I’ll preach to my athletes that balance in life is key. Their training and diet is very important, but not at the expense of their lives, families, careers, and so on. If those things are in check then they are allowed to come play and have a great time doing so. Then I remember the times when I had a fight with my wife, or a white lie I told someone, or how I know I’m not spending the appropriate amount of time with my head in a book to stay the course and always move forward. These little things are all pieces of my life that matter greatly to me, if not solely, and when I really think about them and remember the times when they’ve become imbalanced I feel a haunting sense of guilt that I am not living up to what I preach.
If I could tell my soon-to-be-future-parenting-self two main things it would be the following. The later hitting home.
Be present. There is nothing worse than thought of not having the ones you love available to love and being available to be loved by the ones that love you. Family is life and the people that spend it alone can testify to that greatly. Watch Family Man with Nicholas Cage if you don’t believe me. Cage plays a character who had everything each of us dreams of. He worked on Wall Street and had amassed great wealth enabling himself to buy anything he’d like. Shitty part was he had no one to share it with and at the end of a long, profitable day he would go to his fancy, high-rise condo and be perpetually alone. Be around for your family. Be available for your friends. Be at work when you’re at work to maintain productivity. Be present for your children. They want nothing more than your love and attention. Do not deprive the people you love of the very thing you want to give them.
Secondly, maybe primarily, be your habits. You can’t claim one way of living and not live that way the majority of the time. The logic is simple: you are the person you are the majority of the time. You are your most habitual actions, words, and feelings. If you want to set the example for your children to be a good, caring, genuine, and generous human, but fail to live that out the majority of the example your children have to watch we can objectively say you’ve failed. Seems so logical until we realize sometimes that’s a personal crapshoot.
If we can hone in on those two things we’ll be all the better for it. I mean, hey, I’m a young gun, so what do I know. Not a whole lot, but I can dream up one hell of a fresh perspective. Take some time, think alone, see what you come up with. Surprise yourself.