Comedian Jim Gaffigan, who has five kids, joked, “raising kids may be a thankless job with ridiculous hours, but at least the pay sucks”. Jim has a point, fatherhood definitely isn’t for cowards. But being a Dad is one of the best things in life a man can do. Just ask CEO Naveen Jain, whose net worth from the businesses he has started is estimated at $8 billion, “being a father has been, without a doubt, my greatest source of achievement, pride, and inspiration.”
My Dad was one of my heroes. A major reason why was Dad maintained great zest for life which was incredibly cool. Great Dads exude a positive energy which is very attractive and empowering to their kids. Young children see their Dad as bigger than life. Teen children with a Dad who keeps his enthusiasm for living continue to admire their Dad. Middle age kids whose elderly Father still has zest for living are in awe. These fortunate kids are inspired to live their life to the fullest, making a positive contribution to their world.
On the other hand, Dads who lose their energy and joy in life eventually bore their children who look elsewhere, too often in negative places, to find excitement in life. Confucius was correct when he wrote, “wherever you go, go with all your heart”.
The fact remains, Dads, you can’t give your kids what you don’t possess. Kids are looking for inspiration and they find it with a Dad who enjoys life. But this is easier said then done. Which means to keep my zest in life I need to exercise wise energy management. There are drainers and fillers in life. Circumstance or people who drain energy from me then activities and people who fill my life with energy. Zest limits drains and prioritizes fillers.
The wise Dad limits drainers as much as possible and is constantly doing things which replenish their positive energy in life. My Dad, who has now passed into heaven, enjoyed life. He laughed. He ate with gusto. He worked with diligence and productivity. He shot baskets with me. When I was 18 years old and my Dad was 60 I grabbed him to wrestle in a fit of testosterone overload. The next thing I remember was sliding down a wall upside down as Dad did a neat little judo flip on me. The old man had game and earned even greater respect!
Don’t be Daddy Downer, men. Kids love a Dad who exudes enthusiasm for living. So limit drainers and maximize fillers. Remember that in life many more things are caught than taught. Let your kids catch zest for life from you. I admired my Dad in large measure because he inspired me with his love for life. I hope to do the same for my kids.