It’s nearly Father’s Day, and that always causes me to reflect on what kind of father I am. I think I’m pretty decent, though I’m not where I’d like to be.

The good things I do: I try to inspire my kids, I do projects with them like programming and chess and website building, I read to the younger ones, I do outdoor things with them, I teach them about responsibility and compassion, I try to set a good example for them.

But there’s always more I can do, always. Actually, it’s not that I can do more, it’s that I can be with them in a different way.

This is the father I aspire to be:

I want to drop my expectations of them, and be more accepting of who they already are.

I want to be less controlling, and let them be.

I want to be less strict, and just be with them.

I want my actions around them to be less driven by fears, and to let them make more mistakes and have more freedom.

I want to be less focused on their future selves, and more grateful for their present selves.

I want to be the example for them: to be happy, inspired, mindful, peaceful, loving, accepting, grateful.

In the end, I will never be the perfect parent. I aspire to be better, but I will never reach that ideal state. I still think the aspiration is a worthy activity, if only because it causes me to reflect on my actions and see if they’re aligned with my best values.

In the end, it won’t matter if I’m perfect as a dad. It will only matter if I am there for them, and if I love them, which I do with all of the depths of my heart.

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