We all enter fatherhood with preconceived notions and expectations. We hear about that magically profound connection that forms the moment they are born. We’re told nothing will make us feel more fulfilled, nothing will give us a stronger or clearer sense of purpose, nothing will compare to the kind of happiness you experience when our kids do this or accomplish that.
Then it happens…and it’s different than you expected. Maybe you’re struggling with it even. Maybe it’s not as magical as you thought. That connection they’ve been talking about, that bond that’s supposed to instantly form, it hasn’t happened for you yet. Because everything they little baby needs they’re getting from Mom in the beginning. You’re just kind of there…in support. Maybe you don’t like that part. Or maybe you do, and you feel guilty about that.
Guess what? That’s a you problem.
As Brian Levenson—mental performance coach and host of the Intentional Performers podcast—told us not too long ago:
It’s not about you. Your kids didn’t choose you. You chose them. It’s not their job to make you happy, fulfilled, or anything else, that has to come from you. If we are in service to helping them be their best self then the rewards will come, but we can’t take action solely for our own enjoyment. If we are truly in service to our children then their agenda, desires, and needs must be met, not ours.
Especially when they are little, it’s our job…to give and do and create what they need. It’s about them and their happiness. It’s about helping make them feel fulfilled and accomplished. It’s about the joy we can bring into their lives.
And paradoxically, when we put the focus entirely on serving their needs and desires, ours will fall into place. That is not to say we just hand them everything they ask for. We are not talking about spoiling them here. We’re talking about teaching them, providing for them, nurturing them, and setting them up to stand on their own two feet and succeed on their own terms. That is our job.
So ask yourself today and tomorrow and the day after: are they getting everything they need from me to achieve their full potential?