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Rising Father

better father

Be a better father: How an old, lonely couple reminded me to be present.

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We took our family to a Jellystone campground for the first time as a last hurrah before summer ends. Our daughter has been holding on to a pamphlet for two years and I promised I would take her. Watching the older couple across the street from us helped me become a better father. 

was camping yesterday with my family. Me, my wife, my 8 year old son and 6 year old daughter shared a tent for one night as a last hurrah before school starts back up. 

Across from us was an older couple with a SUPER elaborate camping set up. They were staying for a whole week. 

There were three huge tents, outdoor couches, and a huge TV. Camping would be an understatement. Clearly, it was a glamping experience. 

I watched them on and off during our short stay and couldn’t help but see myself in them. 

I tried to imagine what they were thinking looking over at our young family… loud kids and lots of life. 

Their side was very quiet. 

From what I could see they barely spoke to each other. 

Most of their time was spent setting up the camp decorations, knick knacks, and watching the TV. 

While we roasted marshmallows at night they watched a movie. 

Little tasks kept them busy until there were none to do. 

old couple camping

She lit up when she talked about her past life. 

The most life I saw was when the lady talked to my wife and very enthusiastically told stories of her kids and grandchildren. Then her face fell as she said how they were getting older now and were bored with the campground. 

She told stories of what her kids and grandkids “used to do” at the campground.

Her site was big enough to have 12 people living comfortably but now just the two of them occupied it. 

They looked small in that space. 

They seemed like they were in a waiting period. 

Nothing really happening, just keeping busy as time went by. 

Watching them at this stage in their lives was extremely heart wrenching and a jolting lesson.  

Make the most of the time you have. 

NOW. 

I scooped up my daughter after seeing them and squeezed her tight so I could remember how small she is right now. 

The realization that my children will leave us someday is always in my head. 

I don’t try to run from it. 

I embrace it. 

I feel the sadness and loss fully. 

This jolts me back into the moment and puts my priorities in check.

Living for a future date is fantasy. 

That day might never come. 

If it DOES come, the people that matter most might be gone. 

Make a Plan To Become A Better Father

Plan the actions in your life so that TODAY is what matters. 

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan for the future. 

It means don’t spend 16 hours/day at the office for 18 years to buy a lake house big enough for your kids to run around and finally buy it when your kids have moved out. 

It means getting in shape so you can say YES when your daughter asks you to run around with her. 

It means learn high paying online skills so you can AFFORD to spend less time at work. 

Make the most of your life NOW. 

Tomorrow is never guaranteed to anyone, young or old. Today could be the last time to see your loved ones, which is why you mustn’t wait; do it today, in case tomorrow never arrives. I am sure you will be sorry you wasted the opportunity today to give a smile, a hug, a kiss, and that you were too busy to grant them their last wish.

-Gabriel Garcia Marquez

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