Imagine that you’re gone and able to look down now and see your kids from above. Or imagine that somehow you had magical powers and could see inside their heads and read their thoughts. What is it that you would never want them to witness? What is it that you would never want them to feel?
Not failure, obviously, because you know that’s a part of life. Not suffering—within reason—because that too is a part of life, as the Buddha says. But you would never want them to feel stupid, or feel unloved, or feel that they had to earn your approval. You would never want them to feel worthless. Or find out that they really needed you but were afraid to come to you for help. You would never want them to think you were too busy for them, or that you cared about their success more than their happiness.
This is basic stuff, right? Okay, but honestly, if you really looked at your behavior, do you think you contribute to those exact feelings? They came to you and instead of listening… you rushed right in with judgement or a lecture. You criticize far more than you compliment. You are cold or easily disappointed… because you’re still dealing with your own issues. You lost your temper. You say harsh things.
Every father does this. We make our kids feel a way that if we heard their boyfriend or their boss made them feel that way we’d drive down and kick their ass. We do it because we’re not aware enough, because we don’t take our influence seriously enough. And that’s not okay. We can do better. We have to do better.
Imagine you could see the world from inside your kid’s heart and head. Now look at their father—look at the way you act towards them. It’s not the picture you want to see, is it?
So change. Now.
P.S. This was originally sent on April 7, 2020. Sign up today for the Daily Dad’s email and get our popular 11 page eBook, “20 Things Great Dads Do Everyday.”