Well, this has been my most trying year as a father. So many times I felt like I had failed. I’ve always said, parenting is about consistency.
1 – Consistently being a good role model. I have 3 daughters, so my challenge is to treat them they way I want their husbands to treat them…that way they know exactly what they are looking for. I take this very seriously.
2 – Consistently being a loving parent. No matter what, no matter how good or how bad, my love is without conditions. You can love me, you can hate me, you can be amazing and you can not be amazing….Dad will always love you. I have never not been completely madly in love with my daughters.
3 – Consistent boundaries. Kids need boundaries to know that they are loved…that’s why they always go looking for them. (My step-dad Larkin taught me this) Boundaries are hard, saying no is hard, being a good parent is way harder than being a lousy parent. Having consistent boundaries, even when it causes conflict is a good thing. I firmly believe that when my girls are fully grown they will appreciate that they were loved enough to be held to those boundaries.
4 – Consistently being honest about my flaws. Yep, Dad is not perfect. Not when I was your age and not now. When it is warranted I have always admitted when I was wrong and asked for forgiveness. See, my baby girls, being perfect is not our goal and it’s certainly not my expectation for you. Being real and being humble and being willing to ask for forgiveness is what this life is all about. I hope, if anything, that is what you have learned from me.
There were times this year that I felt like I had failed. When I was on national news begging for my daughter to come home, when I was praying for my daughter to get the job of her dreams, when I was hoping my daughter would take the chance to get to know this distant part of her family…I felt like my prayers were falling on def ears.
I’ve always believed that this whole parent thing was a marathon and not a sprint. I am here for the long haul. I am here for every step of the marathon. I am here for my girls when they are trying to find their way, just like my parents were there for me when I was finding my way. I found myself through them. I found my purpose through them. I only hope that I can inspire them the way they have inspired me.
Thank God for my three girls, I don’t know where I’d be without them.