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Fatherhood - Lighten Up Already!

One of the most daunting tasks in this life is that of being a father. I was a perfect father until I had children of my own and found out how hard it really was. Fatherhood poses its many challenges and is not for the faint of heart, that's for sure. One of those challenges is keeping the right balance between being too easy on your children and being too hard. For me, I tended to be too hard.

Let me share with you a journal entry from my personal journal that sheds some light on this subject. I wrote it over nineteen years ago.

Journal entry from July 5, 1988:

I love my wife and family so much and they are so good to me. It bothers me that I get so angry at the kids for even little things and I really need to stop and think about what I'm doing. They are just young little souls trying to figure out what life is all about. They are just kids and I can't expect perfection from them. They need a dad they can love and have fun with and not be afraid of. I'm trying.

I got mad at Erika last night for asking for a drink after we put her to bed. I told her she couldn't have a drink because she already had a drink of soda earlier. She cried as I left her room.

I thought later what a dumb, mean thing that was for me to do. What's the big deal about a drink of water? I cried a little in my shame. I really felt like a heel. I went and got her a drink. She was still sitting up in bed sniffling. Erika is a good girl and I do love her very much.

I hope I can lighten up on my kids and just be their friend and not someone who just tells them what they can't do. Again, I just want to say that I truly love Lisa and the kids and I hope I can be good enough for them.

I think the message from that journal entry is self-explanatory. I have tried over the years to not be so hard on my children and I'm still working on it. Easier said than done! Of my six children three of them are still at home. My older children accuse me from time to time about going easy on the younger siblings. I think that's a good thing. That means I am learning and hopefully being a better father than I once was.

If you are in the midst of raising children, take a lesson from my past mistakes and learn to Lighten Up! Thank you.

Garold N. Larson writes on self-mastery and personal development topics. You can find more information at Keys to Self Mastery.