Grit (noun) – courage and resolve; strength of character
It’s been said that grit is the one trait that can truly help individuals find success in this world. As parents, we know that we’re going to have a number of tremendous, memory-making days with our kids. However, we are also aware that there’ll be more “Wanna get away?” days than we’d care to admit. It will be on those days that we will need to dig deep, find a level of grit that would make even the strongest superhero blush, and persevere through the unexpected detours that we’re forced to navigate on any given day.
So, how can we develop such grit? In this writer’s opinion, it’s all about setting attainable goals for yourself and working relentlessly to achieve those goals – regardless of the blood, sweat, and tears that may be required to get there. By constantly striving to reach a goal, you’ll be subconsciously training your mind to work through obstacles without desiring to wrap your best clothes in an oversized handkerchief, tie it to a stick, and hop on the nearest Commuter Rail train.
Leave the bindle sticks to the drifters!
As I look to become a grittier father, I’ve decided to set three important, and certainly attainable, goals for myself that should produce highly desirable results for me and my children. Not only will accomplishing these goals help my kids lead happier lives, I’ll have finally learned how to push through those chaotic days that all parents tend to purposely leave off our social media pages.
So without further ado, here are the three #DadGoals that I’ve recently set out to achieve.
- Ditch the electronics.
I’ll admit that my kids are way more familiar with electronic devices than I had originally intended when developing my parenting mission statement. I was intent on keeping them away from television and games for as long as possible. Yet, here we are. My five-year old can navigate the complexities of the Verizon Fios guide with surgeon-like precision. My three-year old can turn on the iPad, open the Nick Jr. app, and confidently scroll through available Paw Patrol episodes until she finds just the right one to fit her current mood. Before I know it, they’re glued to a device on a crystal clear summer day.
The sensory overload induced by these electronic devices is already producing undesired results. At times, their attention spans seem exponentially shorter and their lack of desire to be physically active can be downright disconcerting. Sadly, I’ve let this happen. I haven’t had the grit required to get through the day without needing a device to act as a babysitter so I can get just a sliver of alone time. It stops now. I’m challenging myself to push through those exhausted moments by suggesting family story time or offering to play a game in the front yard. Electronic devices may not be inherently evil, but there’s a time and a place for them. It’s time to make sure that the majority of my kids’ waking hours are spent being fully engaged in enriching activities – regardless of my energy level!
- Promote mindfulness.
As many of my readers know, I am not a religious person. I have not had the kids baptized, and I have no plans to. It’s just a personal preference. I do, however, find personal peace in the spirituality attained through the practice of Buddhism. I’ve been steadily working toward adding daily mindful meditation to my jam-packed daily schedule, and I hope to soon have the kids join in.
Daily mindfulness exercises allow us to focus on the present moment and appreciate all that we have. During those quiet moments of reflection, we aren’t thinking of the past or future. We aren’t thinking of the stressful things that may have happened earlier or the anxiety we may be feeling regarding future tasks. Instead, we are giving our mind and body an opportunity to settle and be present in that given moment. Kids naturally perseverate on the past and constantly ask about the future. I’m hopeful that by getting the kids interested in the art of mindfulness, they’ll slowly begin to display increased levels of patience along with a newly found appreciation for life.
- Perform a Daily Act of Kindness
I want my children to grow up to be caring and empathetic members of society. I want them to understand that while they may be the center of their father’s universe, they aren’t the center of everyone else’s world. The universe isn’t all about them, and they’ll be better off discovering that early on in life. There are people out there experiencing unfathomable hardships and could use a pick-me-up.
I hope to someday witness my children extend that helping hand out of genuine desire rather than an attempt to appease their dad. I look to instill that intrinsic desire to offer aid to those in need by requiring our family to perform at least one act of kindness each and every day. Hopefully the kids will experience the same sense of joy that I do when seeing a smile light up the face of a person that may have been longing for a reason to once again see the beauty in this incredibly difficult world.
So there you have it…
Three goals that will undoubtedly test my resolve as a parent.
As difficult as these goals may be, I believe that I will become a grittier father upon the completion of the aforementioned tasks. With that increased level of grit, I will finally have the ability to become the kind of father I hoped I’d be since the moment my first-born came into this world…
Like my father…
The grittiest dad I know.
Until next time,