The beginning of the year can be a time to reflect on how last year went and what we want the next 12 months to look like.
Over the next couple of weeks, we'd like to talk about reflection and direction in order to chart a slightly new course. We'll keep it simple because we really can't handle too many changes all at once. Perhaps you can't either. And perhaps we could all need some fine-tuning.
OK, your first improvement for 2020:
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.
Those Precious, Fleeting Years
As Steve Martin says in the movie "Father of the Bride":
"You fathers will understand. You have a little girl. An adorable little girl who looks up to you and adores you in a way you could never imagine. I remember how her little hand used to fit inside mine. How she used to sit in my lap and lean her head against my chest. She said that I was her hero. Then the day comes when she wants to get her ears pierced, and she wants you to drop her off a block before the movie theater. Next thing you know she's wearing eye shadow and high heels. From that moment on, you're in a constant state of panic. You worry about her going out with the wrong kind of guys, the kind of guys who only want one thing — and you know exactly what that one thing is because it's the same thing you wanted when you were their age. Then she gets a little older and you quit worrying about her meeting the wrong guy and you worry about her meeting the right guy. And that's the biggest fear of all because then you lose her. And before you know it, you're sitting all alone in a big, empty house, wearing rice on your tux, wondering what happened to your life."
For Starters, Always Be There
So this year, think about what it means to be a dad and how you can be just a little bit better. Fatherhood requires patience, expects maturity, demands discipline, involves setting an example and calls for respect and understanding.
You can start simply by being there for your child. Try listening better. Be reliable. Dependable. Trustworthy. Pick her up when she falls. Listen when he speaks. And always, always respect your children.
Tom Tozer and Bill Black write a syndicated column on fatherhood and are authors of "Dads2Dads: Tools for Raising Teenagers." Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter at Dads2Dadsllc. Email them at tomandbill@Dads2Dadsllc.com.