Screw Cliff Huxtable. Be Yourself.

Posted November 5, 2011 by jimhigley

I stopped worrying about being a picture-perfect dad a few years ago. And I actually think it’s helped me do a better job with this parenting gig.

As a young dad, I lived with a vision in my head about what a father should be like. Act like. And react like. I was pretty much the living, breathing version of the dad I imagined I should be—influenced by an assortment of things including my own life experiences, stereotypes in the world and even my favorite television dad, Bill Cosby in his beloved role as Cliff Huxtable.

In truth, I was a caricature of what I thought I should be. Don’t get me wrong. I was a good dad. But I realize now how wrong I was in approaching my role.

You see, a funny thing happened along my journey of dad-dom. Call it what you like. Family crisis. Emotional struggles. A dose of cancer. A couple family tragedies. In truth, what you should call it is life. A real, family life. And what I learned through it all was the most valuable lesson of parenting I’ve ever received.

I learned the importance of simply being the parent my children need me to be. Not the situation comedy dad. Or mom. But the parent. The adult. The protector. The teacher. The safety zone. The listener. The encourager. The beacon of light. And I learned the importance of being diligent in taking cues from my kids. 24/7.

Ironically, when I do that, I become not only a better parent. I become a more enriched, blessed man.

  • Dad Vs. Spawn

    “In truth, what you should call it is life.”

    This paragraph sums up so much of what I try to explain to people. Thanks!

  • Tea

    So many people “act” out whatever roles they’re currently playing, and forget that being themselves is even an option. Thanks for this post!