What I Hope My Children Will Remember Me By As A Father
“It doesn’t matter who my father was, it matters who I remember he was.”
- Anne Sexton
The role of a father has evolved over the years, from the yesteryears of being the sole breadwinner to today’s modern dad, who are more involved in their children’s day to day development.
A study in 2011 by Pew Research Centre showed that fathers today spend 7 hours a week on child care and 10 hours a week on housework as compared to 2 1/2 hours a week on child care and 4 hours of housework back in 1965. That’s more than double the amount of time in the span of 40 years.
Most parents desire to leave a legacy for their children. As you sit, read and ponder over the title of this post, these tips in the next few paragraphs are helpful not just for dads but moms as well! If you’re a single mother taking the role of both father and mother to your child, we want to raise a glass to you for being the strong momma you are in raising them to be the best you want them to be.
1. That time you handled a difficult situation
Children will remember how you faced death of a loved one or illness within the family - by learning how to grief and overcome emotional pain. Asians are known never to display negative emotions in public and they grow up learning to suppress it, with detrimental effects on their children’s mental and emotional wellbeing.
Being transparent about your feelings (sometimes even crying in front of them) is a sign of strength, not weakness in emotional recovery. Guide them during this time so that they are prepared to face scenarios like this when the time comes.
2. The times you praised them
Take some time this week to meaningfully praise you child. Words like “What a smart boy/girl!” and “I love you!” can sometimes be overused in your daily vocabulary but give them purposeful words of encouragement that can empower them and build their self esteem in the long run.
3. The time you talked about your struggles
It is one of the most difficult things to do, and yet, one of paramount importance. Many children grow up entitled because parents are not ready to expose them to real life experiences and prefer for them to live in their perfect little bubble because they do not want their children to be worried.
Being real and sharing about not just your strengths, but also your weaknesses and how you overcame them can teach your child empathy and to weigh out good judgement in decision making, which can be a great asset as they navigate through life.
4. The times you weren’t there
This is not a post trying to make you feel guilty about not being there enough for your child but it is about the day you empower them to be independent. There may have been times when you had to be away for the entire week in another city for work, but by delegating simple household responsibilities and teaching them how to be independent in their daily life, it will translate to the the freedom you entrust to your young gentleman/lady.
*cue proud parent tears*
5. The times you interacted with your other half (and grown ups)
Children mimic you, good or bad. It’s no use teaching manners to a child and then after that acting otherwise. The way you act around your friends (aka other adults) would be a sign for your children to think that it is OK for them to act that way when you’re not paying attention to it because “mummy and daddy are acting like that too”.
Let them know and practice the importance of treating others with kindness and respect.
6. The time you put down your phone for them
These days, it is so easy to get caught up with the external things in our life that sometimes, we tend to forget to be in the moment.
Just by taking a stand of not answering your phone calls when you’re spending family time with your kids or even resisting the urge to scroll through social media, you are giving your child total attention. Your kids know that you constantly love them but they will see how much you care when you choose to turn off your device in favour of spending time with them.
There are two things Deborah loves: going on adventures and discovering good eats.
You will also find her hogging the fiction aisle in a bookstore.