Perseverance and Fatherhood

I recently found myself on YouTube marveling at a video of Hawaiian youth soccer prodigy KJ Ahlo’s morning routing. In the opening frame, you see him sleeping with about a dozen soccer balls. The first thing he does when he wakes up is kick one of them. As he walks to his bathroom to brush his teeth and get ready for the day, he kicks another one of the many soccer balls strewn on his floor.We can learn a lot as fathers from that small clip. We may not know what KJ is thinking, but we can see that he’s keeping his mind on soccer. And if you keep watching the video or venture into any of the clips on YouTube of KJ playing with kids twice his size and age, you can see that it pays off. You can’t help thinking: “how does he do that?”Our path to being the best father we can be is the same – the more we keep our mind on being available to our children, the more we will become the father we envision for our children. When we surround ourselves with inspiring images or thoughts about fatherhood, they will seep into our minds and bodies until one day we look at ourselves in the mirror and see a great father.Like an athlete, there is something that we already have that we can build on. It may be the ability to teach our child something, a commitment to care-giving that goes beyond traditional models, or the ability to be patient and gentle under difficult circumstances. Whatever it is, we can nurture it constantly by going to sleep with it, waking up with it, and walking through our day with it. When we do that, we find that it’s not so much that we are building ourselves up to be a loving father, but that we are removing all resistance to unleashing the loving father that already exists within ourselves. Like KJ, we just keep at it until people look at what we do with our children and ask: “how does he do that?”Right now, pick up a pen and write three things about yourself that you would put on a list of the characteristics of a great father. You can even make them into statements, such as: “I recognize the importance of getting along with my spouse,” or, “I love my daughter even when she is throwing a temper tantrum.” Then put them somewhere where you can see them at least 4 to 5 times a day. I like to enlarge them and tape them on the ceiling right above where I sleep. I guarantee that you will see a shift in your awareness of how these traits make a positive impact on your relationship with your son or daughter.P.S. Don’t forget to check out KJ’s morning routine: