Growing up, I was one of the lucky ones. My dad coached my Little League teams and ate dinner with us every night. He was present and involved; making every effort to be the type of father he did not have himself. As a child, I knew he was a good dad, but it was not until I became a parent that I realized how much his presence impacted my own parenting philosophies.
When I would complain about my jobs as a young adult, he would often say, "Work isn't supposed to be fun. You work so you are able to enjoy life with the people you love." Until I had children of my own, I could not fully understand the significance of that statement. Thank you for teaching me that being a good parent means being present, patient and involved. In honor of Father's Day, I want to thank my dad for taking the time to teach me many important life lessons, even if I rolled my eyes at the time.
Here are a few of his most valuable life lessons.
1. Things are never as bad as they seem, things are never as good as they seem.
This phrase was said often as I became a young adult; when I got a bad grade, got rejected from a college or got a great job offer. To many of us, situations seem only amazing or awful. My dad never jumped to extremes and spent time and effort teaching me that I could do the same. In other words, he taught me to chill out.
2. Wait a few days before making any important decision.
I am impulsive by nature. I like to make decisions quickly. My dad is not driven by that same "need to make a decision right this second" impulse. He always made me let things simmer. Most important decisions deserve a few days.
3. You can add value without being the best.
My dad wished for children that were good athletes. Unfortunately, my brother and I were not. My dad was the coach of my Little League team and I was one of the worst players. Instead of sticking me in outfield to chase butterflies or putting me in a position I wasn't qualified for, he put me as catcher, where I could I be part of the infield but still feel OK dropping the ball now and then. I learned to contribute and succeed in my own way. Being a successful member of a team or group means figuring out where you add value.
4. Parents do not need to agree with all their kids' decisions; they need to support them.
I transferred colleges and changed careers after turning 30. As a man who likes to be prepared and secure, my dad was incredibly nervous. He did not agree with some of my decisions, but always told me that whatever I chose, my parents were behind me. Looking back, I realized I felt confident to make those changes because of the support I had. Be your child's biggest cheerleader, even when their choice wouldn't necessarily be your choice (legality permitting).
Read the next 5 lessons on The Good Men Project.
For many of us, the holiday season brings obligatory family time and interactions we'd rather avoid. Whether it's your mother-in-law sneaking cookies to your son after every meal or your father dishing out tough love to your daughter, our family members can do things we don't like – and find difficult to manage.
If you dread the family get-togethers of the holiday season, you’re in good company. A 2009 study found that nearly two-thirds woman report suffering long-term unhappiness and stress because of friction with their mother-in-law. Some women have more difficulty with their families than their in-laws because spending time with them can trigger emotions that date back to childhood. Watching your kids interact with your parents may remind you of the difficult parts of your own upbringing. Or maybe it's a hard adjustment if they are completely different as grandparents than they were as parents.
Here are some easy strategies for managing the emotions of this complicated time so that the holidays can more closely resemble the relaxing, connected time they promise to be.
Read the rest of the article on Seleni Institute.