2020 has been difficult. No doubt about it. The new year arrives with hope for a calmer, safer landscape in which to live. And, we traditionally make resolutions. We resolve to be better dads, to get healthier, to finish projects, etc. The years of fatherhood are littered with resolutions. We don’t keep many of them. We mean well, but we get busy and forgetful — tired and lazy.
Still, now is a good opportunity to conduct a personal review and start those improvements that can make a difference for us and for those we love. The key is to focus on areas of highest interest to us—and to be specific about what we want to accomplish.
Be a father. It sounds simple, right? Well it’s not. Being a dad is a hard job. It requires growing up, being patient, setting an example and showing respect and understanding. It’s truly a tall order. Being a dad is a unique role because it comprises many parts: cheerleader, teacher, role model and mentor.
Be a listener. Clear the clutter from your mind. Take control of your ego and don’t insist on having the loudest or last word—or fixing something. Cherish the fact that your kid is speaking to you. Listen. Get to know him or her better. What an incredible new start!
Be a partner. Couples immersed in raising a child can drift apart, lose the spark. When their child grows up they find themselves married to someone they don’t know. Rev your engines, embrace change, and cherish your relationship. Keep in touch with each other.
Be a child. Sometimes it’s good to see things from your child’s perspective. Delve into his feelings. Notice her moods. Ask for their perspective. Be open to listening. Watch for opportunities to connect. You’ll learn a lot.
Be calmer. Focus on yourself a little. Fortify your mind and body. Take time to de-stress. If you’re constantly under pressure, impatient or agitated, you’re not going to be a very good listener. Your ability to be in the moment will not be very strong. You will be quick to react in the wrong way, and your relationships will suffer.
Get physical. Exercise will help you to slow down, gain perspective and be a more responsive person. Physical activity improves your heart rate, blood pressure and the ability to handle challenges. Check first with your doctor before you start an exercise regimen. And, of course, practice good pandemic habits by keeping distant, wearing a mask whenever possible. Once you know your limitations … reach them!
Get mental. Try some mental calisthenics as well. Make time for yoga, meditation, daily prayer or personal reflection. A de-stressing process such as this is important in reducing tension and increasing your ability to listen, to interact and to be more centered.
Get nutritious. The body needs fuel. You are what you eat. Make sure your diet is supporting your ability to deal with the challenges you face. The better the food you eat, the better your capacity for meeting all the needs of an active day.