I thought I understood what toughness was. I had experienced culture shock and sleep deprivation. Physical and mental stress in a multitude of forms. I had operated in dangerous situations across the globe as a United States Marine. I thought I understood what heart was. Then I became a parent of three beautiful children in two years.
It may feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. It is the highest responsibility on this earth in our walk as humans. You have a duty to provide in all forms for your family as a parent. I, as a father, have a duty to support my family in all ways in my power. I took it upon myself when my wife and I made the choice to become parents to give my full self to the mission at hand. As Chad stated in a prior Encouragement Post (First Rule of Parenting - Give Yourself Grace), you can read books, listen to stories, be an uncle and or aunt, be a big brother or sister…none can truly give the true experience of being a parent. It is a situation in the world where you have to live it.
I have never had a duty that never stops. I have never had a duty that had such a long reaching consequence. No job has a 24/7/365 requirement. That is why being a parent is not a job, but a livelihood as I have stated prior. A child needs you as a parent. Many kids want their parents, ALL need them.
It doesn’t matter what you have the next day. A long day of work, a big meeting, a final exam, a life changing event. A child needs what they need and it is our job as a father and parent to shield them from our hardships, our stress, our problems albeit the world's dysfunction and be there for them to the best of our ability. My wife and I have and will continue to strive to create a calmer world in our home to aid my children’s development and wellness.
I found out in my path I had to mature and work to achieve this level of understanding. It is easy to think about oneself, my fatigue, my frustration, my hardship. When I would do this I found I was not centering my focus on my children and their well being. I would be more frustrated with them, less patient, and less able to withstand the hustle and bustle of a wild home with kids in a constructive manner.
When humans are stressed, when you are pushed in a mental and physical form, I take great interest in what comes of it. Look at how people speak or react to one another when they are unhappy, when they are scared, when they are pushed to their limit.
Will you as a father take your stress out on your children? Your wife? Will you take the stress out on yourself? Will you be stressed by the micro and macro world and lower your standard to your duty? There are many descriptors to utilize to combat this stress. I have spoken of this stress and the importance of fatherhood in my past posts with a plethora of descriptors. I like the descriptor of someone having heart. I like to think it's not the visceral organ that allows our soul to fight through challenges, although vitally important in its anatomical form.
I like to believe it is the spirit of the heart. That's what allows boxers to get up from the canvas in the 12th round. That's what allows a service member to charge through gunfire to save a fallen friend. That’s what allows us to try again when we fail. The idea of the heart can lead us to be better men. Perhaps for us it will not be the penultimate moments I just described, but the all important daily act of fatherhood.
Gents, with heart I have faith we can be the fathers we want to be. With heart and the practice of it day in and day out we can push through the hard times, through our personal stress, and still present patience and love to our children and family. It is a daily plight for me. I have not found perfection in any form. I am challenging us to be willing to fight forward to that perfection with heart. Making ourselves better will have the desired effect in multitudes to our duty. To our family.
Stay the course gents, I will see you out there.