I was recently asked what the most difficult thing I have ever done was, and the answer is simple: being a father. Nothing I’ve ever done in my life compares to being a father. Because nothing else really mattered. If the product I want to develop, the disease I want to cure, or the deal I want to do doesn’t work out, there will be a thousand more things to attempt the next day, but I only have one chance, one moment with my children, to do the right thing.
When I talk about stress and individuals with children tell me they don’t have any, I don’t believe them; I know they don’t comprehend the question. Children are extremely difficult; what worked yesterday does not work today. What motivated you yesterday does not motivate you today. Little things change so quickly that it’s impossible to find a consistent path. There are no genuine checks and balances in place. It’s because I did this and got outcome X. You do the same procedure the next day and receive result Y.
I know it’s the same for all of you moms; I’ve asked a lot of you, and the conclusion is that it’s difficult all around. I wish I could give you wise counsel at this moment, but I don’t. However, from what I understand, if they know you love them and are trying, they tend to goof up less. I also know that you establish the example they will follow because kids do what we do, not what we say.
So the only advice I have is to be the person you want your children to be. Because you have complete control over yourself, utilize it to demonstrate the way. Don’t let your health suffer as a result of stress or your job. Show them how important they are by committing to spending more time with them. Create the energy and physique to be present and do things. My children recall everything I did and did not do with them.
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Dr. Matt Chalmers
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