Jim Higley says he’s the dad worthy of emulation.
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, and 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.” 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.
And when I do that, even Cliff Huxtable should stand up and take notes.