For those who grew up in divorced homes (like myself), sometimes I meet other parents who share a similar experience. It’s refreshing on some level when I do, to be honest. It reminds me I’m not alone.
This post is written for fathers who grew up where a parent consistently let them down. It’s a hard truth to accept, but for many men who are now dads themselves, sometimes the past comes up to bite you on the ass. Of course, this happens when you’re watching your son or daughter run around the playground.
That happened to me a few years back. I thought about the time I spent with my father on the playground. Frankly, those memories are faint and limited in number.
There’s no need for me to dwell on it – what’s the point? For someone who is new to fatherhood and shares a similar circumstance, here’s my humble suggestion.
Consider your lineage for a moment, and the legacy you will leave behind. Put that in context to what you are doing right now; you’re reading a blog about fatherhood. That, in itself, means you care about how you conduct yourself as a loving and attentive father. You could be reading about your favorite sports team at this very moment, but you are not. What does that mean for the next generation, i.e. your kids?
It means you give a shit about providing your kid(s) with a better childhood experience compared to your upbringing. Well done.
Your childhood experience, if it includes a disappointing parent, represents a circumstance. You can call it a sad story or approach the subject with resentment, but don’t forget the flipside.
The next generation represents a clean slate, free from whatever psychological baggage you personally take through life. If you’re an involved parent, your child will never experience the same circumstance. There’s something incredibly liberating about this ancestral element – it provides one the opportunity to right a wrong that took place in your family’s history.
Embrace it. Every time your mind lingers on the past, think about how much more rewarding your kid’s childhood will be. When he has his own kids and he watches them on the playground, he’ll have warm and loving memories from having two parents that loved and cared for him… consistently.
That will be your legacy, and it’s a damn good one.