I don’t often think about what it takes to be a better dad. I just do what comes naturally, and hope that my children can feel the sincerity in my actions and see the honesty in my eyes when I look in theirs.
But when the National Fatherhood Initiative invited dads in December to sign up for a new-year’s campaign, “30 Days to Be a Better Dad,” I saw it as an opportunity to challenge my own thinking about myself.
I figured I would write about my efforts regularly, at least two or three times a week, if only because it’s what I do best and how I try to make sense out of the many complicated workings of life.
But life intervened, and I couldn’t make the time to write as frequently as I planned, and I quickly rearranged my plans.
I would still participate in the program by reading the e-mails and answering the probing questions the initiative asked — What three things do you want to improve for your family? What was your children’s favorite family memory of 2010? Is my energy being put into the right place? — but I would only write once a week.
Then life intervened again, and I missed my writing schedule a time or two, and here I am in February, a week after the program ended, and I just now read in detail the final e-mail.
It didn’t go exactly as planned, but I don’t see it as a failure because my children are part of the reason, and they take precedence.
If I have to choose between making a snowman with my kids or sitting at my computer and writing, well, I will choose the former every day, even if what I would have written would sell millions.
I can always write more words, but I only have so much time to make a snowman with my kids, and making memories with them is worth countless times more than what I might make sitting at this keyboard.
And I still have the e-mails from the National Fatherhood Initiative, so I can always read them later and challenge myself to be a better dad.
After all, being a better dad is a work in progress, and the work is never done.