Two of my kids were competing in a swim meet recently at our township pool. It was a great event and I had fun watching all the kids compete. My two swimmers, who aren’t the strongest swimmers on the team, did well and improved on their personal bests in five of their six races.
Setting The Dad Example
The reason I’m writing about this is that I’ve been journaling about the type of example I want to be for my kids. I’m coming up on two years of significant personal development in my journey and I don’t think it is a coincidence that I see my kids really pushing themselves and getting out of their comfort zones these days.
My kids are doing the work but I’m convinced their growth is directly connected to how they see me living my life.
Our swim meets end with relay races in each of the age brackets. It is usually pretty loud with all of the spectators cheering on their team at the top of their lungs. There were two dads I didn’t know standing next to me as the relays were about to begin.
One dad was bitching to the other dad that he had to park about two blocks away from the pool because turnout for the event was high and the parking lot was full. Additionally, most of the area’s public parking spots were taken.
This conversation went on for a good ten minutes, with both dads bitching that there should be better parking facilities at the pool. I couldn’t believe how much negative energy they were giving the topic while the kids were competing directly in front of us.
During one of the relays, the dad doing most of the bitching began to scream at his daughter to “swim harder” in a race that was pretty close. His daughter was competing in the ten and under age bracket. She came over after the race and her dad, who seemed to have some swimming experience, constructively began giving his daughter pointers on what she could have done better.
Overall, it wasn’t a bad conversation. In general, he was reasonably supportive of her effort and she was excited to get his attention. She was really proud that she and her teammates won the race.
Today, I can’t shake the thought that there was a lesson to learn for me here. Kids are fucking smart. They see everything. They see the big things and the small stuff, too.
- What example am I setting in everyday life?
- How am I handling the parking spot and the two additional blocks I have to walk to an event?
- What cues am I giving my kids?
- How do I handle adversity?
- What kind of leader am I?
- Am I a hypocrite or do my kids see me walking the walk?
- How am I attacking life when I think no one else is looking?
Sixty Percent Version of Dad
This guy at the swim meet didn’t seem like a bad dad. He kind of reminded me of me before my recent evolution…the sixty percent of potential guy. He was there at the event (check), he supported his kid’s effort (check), but I believe something was missing. The little things can leave a void where our kids look for our leadership but don’t find it.
Here’s the thing. I had a great fucking parking spot for the event. I was there early and volunteered to assist at the event. I even made sure to have my toolbox on hand for the unknown challenge that was surely going to come up during the event (we ended up needing electrical tape for one of the damaged extension cords and I was there with a resolution to this small issue).
This is who I am now.
This dad parked two blocks away because he was late for the meet. In fairness, maybe he had a good reason. But, I’m betting he dragged his sixty percent ass out of bed after a few sessions with the snooze button. And as he chased his day he wasn’t going to miss this opportunity to play the victim.
Who Are You?
So I ask myself…what kind of leader do you want to be for your family? I take that pen out and I start writing. My answer is evolving every day and I am not only seeing the results in me, I’m seeing the results in my family and those closest to me.
I’m being the dad I was destined to be! Embracing the daily grind and looking for opportunities to lead by example. I’m giving my kids a foundation they can rely on for years to come. That makes me proud. I’m checking the big boxes and the small ones too. If my kids see me when I don’t know they are looking I have no doubt I can be proud of what they see.
When I’m not on my A-game, the man in the mirror holds me accountable. That is my life as a Dad at One Hundred Percent! And I’m 👏never 👏 looking 👏 back!!
I look forward to our collective sharing and growth together as thrivers!
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