Focus on developing your core values.

For working parents, life is often hard. Regularly I have heard Moms and Dads say; (partially in jest), “if I had known it was this hard, I don’t think I would have had kids.” This statement usually comes after little Edgar has painted the entire dining room set with wallpaper paste or when you find out that Edwina has dyed her beautiful strawberry blond hair a “wonderful” shade of neon green, (the day before school pictures).

For parents who already feel like failures, the everyday traumatic events they face seem to push them relentlessly closer toward resigning. But why don’t they quit? Why is it that parents tolerate the never-ending onslaught of spiraling costs, endless laundry, making cupcakes at 2 am, or driving to Hockey practice when it is -5 degrees outside and they don’t serve coffee? The reason parents don’t quit is that great parents have learned to live their lives based on internal values and for most, not quitting is a key value.

As I Was preparing to publish my book, Call Me Dad; Five Steps To Becoming The Parent You Never Had, I reached out to each my four kids. Primarily I wanted to get an endorsement from them. I did not want to write a book about being a dad without some feedback from my kids about how they felt.  I asked each of them; “How do you think I did as a father.?”  My son Adam had an interesting reply. He suggested that I instilled in him and each of his siblings, the core value Of never being a quitter.

In high school, Adam was both a great student and an outstanding athlete. He had drive and tenacity both academically and athletically that I saw in few of his classmates. Today Is a father himself and Adam Is very successful in his career? But he also Has passed on His tenacity To his kids Izzy and Will.

When you play football. In Upstate, New York In the shadow Of Buffalo, you get to play very few of your games when the temperature is mild and Ther days are sunny. Usually, gameday Is cold, or rainy, or snowy, or all of the above. Particularly on those kinds of days, Adam would rise to the occasion and he played some outstanding football. I remember. One game where It was 30 degrees out It was sleeting and the wind was blowing parallel to the field.  Adam was covered with frozen mud and he had ice water dripping from his helmet.  It was easy to see that Adam could have focused on what a lousy day it was or on the horrible playing conditions. Instead, he chose to focus on giving it all he had.

That day Adam played great football. As I remember it he scored twice, and he had about four unassisted tackles.  As he came off the field Adam’s  comment was; “ That was awesome.” He focused on doing whatever he needed to do to win. In spite of the horrible playing conditions, Adam’s value system kicked in and he lived his life based on those values, which told him we don’t quit.

As a parent, your values will not only define who you are as a parent, but those values are the very things that will help you balance the stress in your life. If you Are making decisions over and over again about what drives you It will cause you anxiety every time a problem comes into your life. But if you make the decisions ahead of time about how you will respond. In any given situation, It will make your life a whole lot easier and a whole lot more fun.

Take a hard look at who you are? Reflect on what is most important to you and let those things be your guide. In his book Uncommon, Coach Dungy refers to this as “finding our landmarks”. He says; ” When you get lost, those landmarks will guide you back safely to where you belong. Who you become is who your kids will become.”

So when those unrelenting struggles come and when the kids try to flush their socks down the toilet, remember your values; parents don’t quit. You can do this.

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