Of Course You Can Do This

There are moments when you think: I just can’t do this anymore. After countless nights without sleep when they’re little. After other nights when they’re older, staying up, waiting for them to come in and knowing it will be another argument about the friends they are spending time with. When you survey your previously nice and well-ordered house that looks like a tornado of children’s toys went through it and despair that it will never be clean again. When you come back from the doctor, having been told it’s going to be a long fight and that the prognosis is not great. 

I just can’t do this. Being a dad is too hard. I’m not sure I have what it takes.

Who hasn’t been there? And actually, that’s the question because the answer should give you some strength: Your ancestors have been there. And guess what? They made it through successfully, or you wouldn’t be here! Each of us comes from an unbroken chain of people who were able to persevere and survive, in some cases through unimaginably difficult situations. Sure, there might also be some deadbeats and duds in our family tree, but as you have seen with your own kids, children are so helpless and vulnerable that none of them would survive without someone who loved and cared for them. You are descended from—you are related to— those people! What they had, you have. You might not believe it, but it’s true. 

We are related to men who raised kids through the Depression. Or the Panic of 1837. Or walked barefoot through the snow in the American Revolution, or left their families to fight Napoleon, or some other invading army. Our ancestors protected their kids from the plague and from Mongol hordes or rival tribes or murderous pirates. We think what we’re going through is hard, but chances are, our grandfathers and great-grandfathers and great-great-x20-grandfathers had it harder. Yet they made it. And if we can think of this, we can find some inspiration and strength.

Yes, we can do it. Because we have it in our blood. We have it in our evolution over hundreds of thousands of years. And we are going to continue this chain unbroken to the next generation, and so too will our sons and daughters.

P.S. This was originally sent on December 6, 2019. Sign up today for the Daily Dad’s email and get our popular 11 page eBook, “20 Things Great Dads Do Everyday.”

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