To Others I am a River.

My kids taught me to redefine love. Before 2010, I had a vision. I saw a family in my mind that I wanted to have. And I was pushing and driving hard for my picture, and then I realized everyone has their own journey. I have to support what they want to do. I have to support the vision that they have for themselves, not my vision. That was excruciating for me. That was excruciating because I’m military-minded. And to have to back up off of the masculine in that way, to have to embrace a more gentle, understanding, loving, and caring side—that was a tough transition for me – Will Smith, March 2015 Esquire Magazine

I learned from a father this past week that one of the hardest things he deals with as a husband and father is being selfless; putting someone else’s needs and wants before your own. You want to go hang out with your boys….. can’t, your daughter has a recital. You want to come home and have a drink or smoke a cigar….. won’t happen because you need to run an errand for your daughter’s bake sale. It is even more difficult – I think – to be selfless in your parenting. To think about the person you are raising and what their vision might be for their life before you try to impose your own idea. As someone who has been wiping my daughter’s ass since it squeaked its wrinkled surface into the world that’s a sobering thought. I have to see my daughter(s) as they see themselves and support that? But aren’t I the person shaping who they see themselves as?

Yes and no.

Part of who my kids become will be what I instill in them. Yet another part will be something else that comes from inside them. I (like Will Smith) have to recognize that, give it its own room and cultivate it even if it isn’t my first choice. Why? Because it is not about me. In Will Smith’s article in Esquire he goes on to  discuss his overarching journey from hip hop youngster to actor to man with greater vision for himself, his family and the impact he can ultimately have on the world.

As a father [a person] I hope you understand that you are [should be] constantly evolving. You should always be aiming at the best version of yourself. That comes with making mistakes and learning from them; more than once. I personally believe that’s one of the only ways you can begin to accomplish developing AND supporting the growth of your children and family.  Will Smith is a GIANORMOUS movie star but openly speaks on the things about himself he isn’t all that content with. He is an introspective person who looks at his life objectively. Will Smith looks at Will Smith in a holistic sense of what his notoriety can mean to others and not just himself;  his wife and children. He is looking to make a positive impact on a large amount of people before he leaves this earth.

I know many of us will never become a Will Smith, but we can aim to positively impact people while we are here. Hint: start with yourself, then work outwards towards your children.

Check out the article here.

– A Single Dad

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