I had a difficult time trying to get my kids ready for school this morning. My oldest son, who is eight-years-old, is constantly making noises, singing or talking. Sometimes this can become very annoying very quickly and cause me to yell at him. I don’t know how many times I have had to tell my son to act his age. What I think I am missing about the whole thing is that he is eight. He is not old enough to be an adult or act like I am. I rememeber when I was young, I always acted similar to the way he acts now. I enjoyed singing or making noises. It was fun to run in the house or climb the walls. I am not saying that it was permitted. I just knew it was fun and did these things when I felt I could get by with them. I wonder when I yell at my children to act their age, if what I am really saying is, “act my age.”
I often wonder if I am failing as a parent. I can’t help but wonder if I am good enough or if I provide the necessary needs that should be provided for a young one. I have been divorced for over three years now and it seems the further I go, the more I realize, I am not a mom. It is easy to be a dad. I enjoy the role. Most of the dad traits just come naturally to me. But to be a mother . . . not so much. I struggle to give them what they need and can only hope that what little bit of good I can instill in them will grow in them, causing them to be great when they get older.
Now, I look at myself. Do I act my age? Am I as mature as the common 29-year-old man? I want to tell myself that I am. I can’t help but see all the areas where I am lacking though. I am not acting my age. I am acting like someone who doesn’t have it together. Sure, I am stretched to the limit with my hands and feet spread apart, clinging to what little bit of life, peace, hope and happiness I can hold on to, but in the end, I feel I have fallen behind and not only is it a struggle to act my age, but to be my age. I fail. I fail regularly. Is it this failure in me that has caused me to redirect my children when they act like me? The very things that make up who I am is the things I try to change about my children. I wonder if it is fear that they will one day become me, and fail in the same way that I have.
The outcome of my life is still under my control. I may seem to old to change my ways, but this old dog is going to learn new tricks. I am ready for a different life. A life where my kids can look up to me and feel proud to be my son. A place where my kids can be themselves without fear of getting reprimanded for it. I love my children. Really, they are my life. Without them I am nobody. They have shaped in me the very essence of who I am. With all that they have given to me, I feel it is time to give back. My kids shouldn’t teach me, I should teach them. I am their father. It’s time to act my age.