Life In Beta

Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.
— Vince Lombardi

Pardon the army recruitment line, but here at The Dad Habit we're operating under the belief that you want to be all that you can be.  After all, as corny as the slogan may sound, that IS what we want for our children.  So, what better way to teach them than by being a living example.

There's no such thing as the perfect Dad.  The needs of every child are unique.  After my son was born we literally had two doctors give us the exact opposite advice on how we should handle certain situations.  That really stressed out my wife.  She wondered how we were supposed to know what to do for our child if even the doctors couldn't agree.

For me, the disagreement was a relief.  If the doctors weren't sure, it meant it was ok that I was still figuring things out for all of us.  With that in mind, it gave me a chance to view each new challenge with my son as an experiment.  If one hypothesis didn't help solve his crying, I could move on to a new hypothesis and run the experiment again. On those few nights when the crying persisted, it was easier to cope with a failed experiment than a personal failure as a father.

Photo by xubingruo/iStock / Getty Images

In life some experiments will work, others won't.  But it's important to test those hypotheses without worrying about being wrong.  If the experiments you run are geared toward you becoming your best, then you will always come out ahead.  Through the experiments you'll learn something, gain experiences, and see new points of view.  

Let's put it in terms of fatherhood.  If you're trying to bond with your child you could experiment with a camping trip, build something together, or play a game.  Even if the camping trip doesn't go as planned, you've shared an experience and created a memory with your child.  Maybe you learned camping isn't your thing.  Next time you can run the experiment with a different activity.  Eventually you'll find the activity that helps the two of you connect.  And by viewing each activity as an experiment you don't have to feel personal disappointment for the ones that aren't a success while still enjoying the joy of discovery for the ones that work.

So, start running those experiments.  If you need a refresher on the scientific method maybe your kid can help.  And as you begin that scientific search for perfection, you may find excellence along the way.