The terrifying truth about marriage and fatherhood is that you don’t know if you’re going to suck at it until you’re already committed. Nate Bagley explores his fears.
The leaders of every generation continuously set out to become better than the generation of their fathers.
We stive to improve upon their failures and shortcomings. We want to provide our children with more opportunity and a better education, shield our families from the pains we suffered, be more attentive, patient, involved, supportive, healthy, eco-friendly, and tolerant and less bigoted, work-obsessed, over-protective, close-minded, and all the other hyphenated words you can imagine up.
The pressure we put on ourselves and each other to rise above and build upon what we’ve been given is daunting.
I don’t know about you, but I was never given a manual or a training course for how to be an ideal spouse or father. This makes taking the obvious next step in my life an incredibly intimidating one. I mean, if you fail a class in your youth, you can beg for extra credit, or worst-case scenario, retake it. Lose your job? Good thing you’re still a dependent of your parents.
There’s no real safety net as an adult. Get married and find out you’re a crappy spouse? Or worse… find out you’re married to one? Tough luck. Work it out, or be branded with the mark of divorce.
Don’t spend enough time with your kids? Spend too much time being a helicopter parent?
Don’t give them enough opportunity? Overwhelm them with too many extra-curriculars?
Discipline them too much? Don’t provide them enough freedom to act as individuals?
Too bad. You can’t un-make your decisions. You can only do the best you can with what experience you’ve been handed and the resources you have available.
So, what do you do to overcome that fear? How do you come to terms with the fact that your best may not be good enough? How do you stare failure in the face every day, and conquer it?
Originally appeared at The Loveumentary