Soldier On

23Dec12

Father’s are supposed to ‘Soldier On’

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Does this mean that fathers are supposed to show strength of character, and be fighting the good fight? Yes. Does this mean that fathers are supposed to display a great work ethic and determination that is awesome? Yes. Does this mean that fathers are supposed to be perfect? No. Even heroes have the right to bleed.

Superman___Five_for_fighting__by_chem_ikal

Five For Fighting – Superman (It’s Not Easy)

It is incredibly important for men to know the difference between being a great dad, and being a perfect dad. A man can be a great dad, and be rewarded immensely in this job. No one can be a perfect dad – perfection isn’t to be had; perfection is to be sought for. If you aim to be perfect and miss this impossible mark, you will always feel like a failure, and this attitude doesn’t fit the frame of a great dad.

“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” – Anna Quindlen

Mr. Perfect is a fictional character . . . and a former wrestler

Mr. Perfect is a fictional character . . . and a former wrestler

So stop trying to be perfect. There is no such thing. Even kids need to learn that everyone has faults or failings, and it’s better that they learn that from you than anyone else. So if you fail to get a fire started (a important job for a man – see http://artofmanliness.com/2008/04/29/9-ways-to-start-a-fire-without-matches/), don’t sweat the small stuff and know that your child will love you as long as you put in the time and attention, and laughing at yourself teaches them to be OK with their own shortcomings.

Fire

So be great by aiming for perfection. But know that this goal of perfection is a constant and that you’ll never get there, and that’s OK  Michael J. Fox said this well: “I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God’s business.”

Bleed if you need to bleed. Cry if you need to cry. This is an important lesson for a child to learn. Knowing that you can see a weakness, and improve upon it is powerful. Instead of being a slave to your weakness, you can gather courage and fight to make things better.

“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them – every day begin the task anew.” – Saint Francis de Sales

confessions_superhero

If you need to put down your hero cape for a while, if you need to rest, if you need to be less than perfect, it’s OK. (I talked about this in my post Of Heroes and Defeat)And how you handle this is an important lesson.

Be a man, soldier on, fight the good fight, work in such a way that your kids think you are awesome . . . but know the difference between great and perfect. One thing you can be, one thing can only be reached for. Forgive yourself for not being perfect.

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