I have to admit that I want my children just as proud of me as I am of them. I have read many articles and have seen many a television show or movie when the topic came up. “I just wanted my dad to be proud of me”. I’m sure you have heard it many times. Many of you may even feel the same way. Perhaps your father did not show or verbalize his pride in you. This breaks my heart every time I witness it. There is no way to undo wasted opportunities.
Perhaps you were a father that has failed in this area. Start where you are. That’s all we can do. How do you start? Humble yourself. Apologize for missed opportunities. Assure your kids that you are proud of them. Lastly, make an effort to regularly affirm your kids. Unfortunately, you can’t force the response that you want. Perhaps they will be accepting of your efforts. In some cases, they will not, or it will take time. Most of the time, I believe that kids programmed to “want” to believe that your dad is proud of you. Therefore, when they receive it, they grab it. Many kids that even abused or neglected don’t want to view their parents as bad.
A dad once asked me how long I thought it would take for his kids to “come around”. He had come to the realization that he had failed at affirming them. I told him that was hard to say, but I gave him an illustration that a fitness trainer gave me when I asked how long it should take to get in shape. The trainer said, “I don’t know. How long did it take for you to get fat?” I did not take offense to it. To me, it became the perfect visual (no pun) for the phrase “it will take time”.
For me, and I bet for many dads reading this, we want our kids proud of us too. This does not get the same amount of attention in articles or entertainment, but for me it is huge. Many of you may not know this, but at one time I was the most popular man in the world. I would come home and the most beautiful girl in the world would run and jump into my arms. I would not give that up for anything in the world. There was no way to elevate me higher. I would never be as important as that time. I was addicted. That same little girl also chose to sit with me at lunch every day her senior year of high school. I worked at the school she attended. Did you hear what I said? She CHOSE ME! It still chokes me up today.
My boys show their adoration in the form of respect and seeking me out on decisions that they are about to make. They want my advice. They value my words. It is very humbling. Especially now that they are grown. They don’t have to listen to me. They don’t have to do what I say. I feel very honored when they seek me out. Again, I would not trade it for anything.
Having my children proud of me is something that I attribute to 2 things, the grace of God, and having a dad that affirmed me. I have to admit that I was and am blessed. However, some of the best dads I know had crappy fathers. It does not have to be a vicious cycle. You can learn what to do and what not to do. You have the ability to decide to turn left or right. You have the ability to say “I am going to do a good job as a dad”. Then you have to start the process. Just start from where you are. Just as my daughter did for me, you can CHOOSE them. That is what they want. They want to feel their worth and importance. This, in turn, will make them proud of you.
When kids are proud of their dads, it becomes an addiction. Can I get an amen from some of the dads? If you haven’t experienced it yet, I’m sure you will be addicted the first time it happens. I love to see young dads get kisses from their little ones. I think to myself, “he’s hooked”. They are your children, but they will “own you”. It is what makes everything worth what we go through in our daily grind.
Through the years I have been asked by my students what it is that I want more than anything on this earth. I tell them that I want my kids proud of me. Most of the time this causes a look of confusion. I either get 1 of 2 responses. 1. “That’s it?”. My response: “Yep”. 2. “Your kids already are proud of you”. My response: “Then I guess I have everything that I want”. I just want to do all that I can to be the man that they need. I also want to be the best dad possible.