My Five Dad Goals

I thought I should try and capture my goals now about what I want to try and achieve in being a Dad. I expect that if anyone actually stops and thinks about their Dad goals there will be a lot of overlap with mine, but maybe others will be more important to you.

Why is it important though to think about such things? What difference will it make?

What gets written gets done.

That’s something I’m very conscious of in my life, especially in work. If something is written down, perhaps in the form of an objective, then more effort will be undertaken to try and achieve it.

For those that read this that I know in work, some will be thinking “I hope they’re SMART objectives Kev!” I’ve a bit of a reputation for encouraging SMART objectives you see, those being Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. I’m sure that recognition brought a few giggles from work colleagues reading this!

However, I would say that a goal and an objective are not the same thing. For me a goal is more of a future purpose whereas the objectives are how you can complete the strategy to achieve your goal. So an objective is a building block of a goal. As such, a goal does not need to be SMART necessarily (I can almost hear the tuts from those I work with!).

I’m sure these goals may vary in the future depending on what he is like but here’s my current thinking…

1. Family First

Always Put Family First!
Always Put Family First!

I’m a great believer in putting the family first. Absolutely 100%.

I am completely besotted with N and would love to have been able to take more paternity leave with him, but that just wasn’t possible (wouldn’t it be nice if both parents could take a year!!!). I did however take extra leave thankfully shortly after N was born. I figured that I’ll never regret taking it so why not? I won’t lie on my death bed being thankful that I had been in work during that time so I should take the leave!

This is something key in all my life. My family are the most important things in my life, particularly Clare and N of course. As such, why would I not treat them that way?

Now, let’s be realistic, one of the things that means is that I have to do my job to earn my salary to contribute to a roof over our heads. Sometimes that means longer hours to do that, or the occasional night away, but that’s just a part of life and of the job. Thankfully I have a very understanding employer and manager who also believes in family being the priority, and that counts for a lot.

At the end of the day what I do, I do for my family, and family is the most important thing in life.

2. Supportive Not Pushy

Positive Reinforcement Is Key For Me
Positive Reinforcement Is Key For Me

I’m a huge believer in positive reinforcement. I would much rather say “well done for saving that shot, great job” rather than on another occasion shouting “don’t let them score! What did you do that for?!” I don’t want N to fear my reaction, to dread me saying anything to him that could hurt or discourage him. Try things! Have fun (see point 5) and I will just help him as much as I can and encourage along the way.

I also think it’s important to create the sort of environment where he feels comfortable talking about his feelings. Too many children, often boys, simply keep their feelings internal and don’t share them. This can lead to problems down the line. From an early age trying to encourage him to talk openly with us is extremely important to me. I think I will do that by doing the exact same thing to him, talk about my feelings. Make it normal to do that and hopefully he will feel comfortable doing it in the future too.

Sometimes though he may want to quit something because it’s hard, and that’s where it’s tough to say the right things I expect. I wouldn’t want to force him to continue something he doesn’t enjoy, but it’s also not a good life lesson to quit at the first hurdle. As such, I’ll vary my approach based on the situation and what he says to me.

3. Give Choices

Choices Choices!
Choices Choices!

Everyone in life has a choice in what they do at every second of the day. That’s my opinion. Now some might say that if you’ve a gun to your head then you don’t have a choice but I disagree. That choice can be just about how you react. Do you cry, scream, be defiant, try to fight? There are always choices.

This is something I want to try and encourage in N, that he can make choices within a given set of boundaries. For example if I ask him to tidy his room and he says “No”, then I could say something like “if you tidy your room we could play football in the garden. If you don’t tidy your room then we will just sit here in the lounge all evening and watch what Mummy and I want to watch on TV.”

I like the idea of him having ownership of his actions within certain boundaries and choosing what to do. I’m sure this is very idealistic and he will kick off big style at times (and I’m sure some of you reading this will literally be laughing at me right now for this idea!) but being consistent with it will mean he understands what is happening and can make an informed choice.

4. Kindness

We Love That Little Fella!
We Love That Little Fella!

I think it’s ok to say that I have a bit of a reputation for being kind. Certainly my wife thinks so and others have commented similarly. For me the two most important people that I want to be kind to (and indeed I am) are Clare and N.

However, I think it’s easy to confuse kindness with being a pushover sometimes, or perhaps confuse it as a weakness, that just because I’m nice and easy going that I will accept and do anything. This really couldn’t be further from the truth.

Let me tell you a brief story. On my stag do my best man thought it would be hilarious to take me to a male strip club. He discussed it with another good friend of mine who said “you’ll never get Kev to do anything he doesn’t want to do.” We didn’t go, and I only found out about this chat a couple of days later, but he is so right.

This is something my wife has commented on numerous times too. That I’m very relaxed about many things, but if I’m bothered enough I can be very stubborn (please help us if N develops a stubborn streak like mine!)!

So even though kindness is important to me, it will always be measured with what’s best for N and our family as a whole so when I have to be strict you can bet your bottom dollar I will be.

I also think that kindness is a fundamental trait of a nice person, a well rounded person, and a trait I would like N to demonstrate and embody when he is older. What better way to help him get there by showing kindness myself? Children are like sponges I think, ready and able to soak up so much information and knowledge. Showering him with kindness will hopefully soak into that sponge!

5. Have Fun

Can't Wait To Have Loads Of Fun With N!
Can’t Wait To Have Loads Of Fun With N!

One thing Clare would say about me is I’m definitely a person that enjoys fads. I’ve tried all sorts over the years that I’ve really got in to for a short while but stopped pretty quickly. A few examples include wood carving, painting, drawing and making some golf equipment, to name a few (so let’s see what happens with blogging!!)

However, I feel that only by trying things out and seeing what you enjoy can you find those little gems, those activities and hobbies that make you really happy. For example, only by trying football did I get into it, only by trying astronomy did I become a bit fascinated by it and only by trying blogging did I find it a great way to share my musings (and help me remember things better as I write them down!).

As such, I will encourage N to try out different things, to experiment. By doing so he could find something he’s really good at, something he really enjoys. You want a rugby ball? Ok, let’s give it a try. You want to try painting? Here’s some paint. Martial arts? Here’s a class. Only by trying things out can he decide if he likes something and it’s fun for him. I thinks it’s incredibly important to help children find hobbies, and if he’s anything like me he will want to try so many different things!

Hopes and Dreams

I really hope that I can embody these as I go through fatherhood. These are all really important to me and things that I believe will help N develop into a well rounded adult.

What about you? Would you echo these? Any others that stand out to you?

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