This was originally posted by the Marion & Polk Early Learning Hub here.

It’s a New Year!  The calendar has switched over and for many people this feels like a time of change, of new opportunity and perhaps starting over.  Many resolutions are made about working out more, eating better, or changing a habit.  These resolutions are often well-intentioned and typically self-focused.  May I suggest a different type of resolution if you’re looking to make a change in the New Year?  How about a resolution that involves the special little ones in your life?I’ve always believed that a big part of my job as dad is taking a look at places where I know I can improve and working hard to find ways to better myself in those areas.  What better time to think about those areas and focus on making a change than now?  I’ve noticed in tougher moments I can have a tendency to speak harshly or have too high of expectations.  In this New Year, I would like to focus on taking a breath before I respond to my children and make sure to speak with less frustration and more love.  I’d like to work on reminding myself that my children are still young and are learning so much.  While it’s great to set high expectations for them it’s also important to remember that grace and gentle encouragements can really boost a child’s ego after failing to live up to those expectations.

So what is it that you feel you could work on with your kids?  Would you like to read with them more?  Take more time out of the busy day just to play?  Simply give them more “I love yous” and affirmations?  Encourage them more often to try new things or take on more challenges?  Whatever it is, this year instead of a normal self-focused resolution I encourage you to look at a change or resolution you can make to be a better caregiver to your kids.  You may notice that this type of resolution ends up being more self-focused than you think, and helps you feel a lot better about yourself as well.

This is fatherhood…