Father’s Day Resolutions

06/17/2011 By Shawn Burns

Another year of fatherhood is coming to an end. And although no matter how many years of fatherhood you have, there’s always someone with more, I still feel like I’m a bit of a veteran at this now. I have battle scars, and badges of honour. I have memories that elate me, and memories that haunt me. I am a father; I am overflowing with dadness.

Since this year of fatherhood is wrapping up, it’s time to think on my mistakes and triumphs of the past year, and make some Father’s Day Resolutions for the coming one.

In the coming year, I will seek out more experts for advice about parenting and teaching matters. This stings a bit to admit, since my pride is so very fierce, but I don’t have all the answers, and sometimes this year my not having the answers was not something that I should have been blasé about.  I ought instead to have recognized that if I didn’t know the answer, the problem wasn’t going to go away on its own. Some things are phases; some things are problems. Too often I treat everything like a phase instead of trying to understand my own children and how their minds and bodies are working. I can do better. I can trust that there are experts in the world who know more about kids than I do, and that their knowledge applies to, yes, even my own children. My kids are unique and special, of course! But they are also kids. I don’t have to face this year half-blind just because I don’t want to open both eyes.

In the coming year, I will more often let my children sway me into doing what they want to do instead of what I want them to do. I find, as I reflect, that I’ve turned down an awful lot of opportunities to play games or do things that my kids, Erin in particular, would be really interested in, and enthusiastic about, doing. I’m not callous, but I’m skewing my priorities a little to the “Not now, I have to do these dishes” or “Maybe later, when I finish writing this” side of things, and sending them off to play with each other, or, even worse, alone. I can’t help but regret all of the chances I’ve missed to cheat at Candyland or watch them do somersaults in the front yard. The things I’m doing aren’t unimportant (mostly?), but surely they can wait until the sun isn’t beaming down quite so perfectly, or until all of the dominoes have been played. Surely. They must. They will.

I resolve these. We’ll see if I’m any better at keeping Father’s Day Resolutions than I am at keeping New Year’s Resolutions. I hope so.

And you, dads? Will you make resolutions with me? Will you take an opportunity to reflect on your own dadness, and wonder if there is something you wish to do consistently better? Please do.