Becoming a dad for the first time, as I mentioned in “The Benefits of Having a Family,” was pretty intimidating. It is the fear of going into the unknown and doing something you have never done before, but change is good and you quickly learn and become confident in your ability. Working as a team with my wife has taught us to learn from each other more effectively. Even though my daughter is just getting started and people laugh and tell me “just wait, it gets better,” I think we will be alright and can’t wait to see who she becomes. It’s my goal to make sure we teach her what we can and what we will expect from her along the way. As long as we stay focused on the big picture, we can enjoy the good times and get past the little hurdles along the way.
The thing is, while I want to be the best dad I can be and teach her everything I have to offer, I’ve began to think back and realize that she too is teaching me. I never would have thought that I could be learning so much from my little girl, lessons that I have begun relating to my career, the day to day, and how I now approach things. When planning for a project, have you ever heard anyone say, “The best thing to keep in mind is that you can plan all you want, but nothing ever goes to plan?” I found this to be true and used to get a little worked up when things didn’t go according to schedule. I now take things in stride and do them with a happier heart.
What my daughter has taught me is that I can adapt and plan for the unexpected. Just smile and push forward. She has also taught me patience, setting a good example, to be present, and to ask for help. It is also learning something new in all the little things that make up the bigger picture. In the end, I do my best and come from a place of love in everything that I do because it will all work itself out, maybe not as planned, and quite possibly better.
Here are 8 ways my daughter has taught me to be a little bit better:
Plan ahead and be organized
Have you ever been in a rush to catch a plane? Becoming a parent you soon learn that you need to plan ahead and expect the unexpected, insert poop story. From planning trips to the day to day, the diapers that work best to backup supplies and snacks. Learn from the mistakes and improve where you can and adapt.
Things like getting out the door take a little longer, potty training, and all the little things. Just watching her learn to walk and learn new things is a lesson in itself because she doesn’t give up. The tenacity in which she pushes forward.
Kids are like sponges and are continuously observing you. So it is imperative to behave accordingly from the way we speak to our spouses to how we interact with one another.
Watch what you say
My daughter has now just begun to repeat what we say. This needs no explanation as there is no filter.
I’m sure I will end up missing this consistency, but the unconditional love my daughter expresses with no judgement makes me think that I could be doing more of that. Appreciate the uniqueness of everyone I meet.
Just putting down your phone and eliminating distractions to give people your undivided attention and really enjoy their company. Her smile and excitement every time I walk through the door is like a ray of sunshine.
Try new things and take a step back to appreciate the little things. Go for a walk and see what grabs their attention.
My daughter has no fear in walking right up to someone to say “hi” or waving at complete stranger. Just the act of acknowledging someone and saying hello may just brighten their day.
What have you learned from a toddler? Leave me your comments.