Having two young children has definitely changed my perspectives in life. From carefree and reckless to an inbuilt unbreakable bond of responsibility and love.
And I want to do what's right for my children.
To give them a solid grounding and teach them that being righteous (as opposed to self righteous) is the correct thing to do.
And yet I feel I am failing.
As much as I encourage good behaviour, good manners, empathy and healthy questioning I can get irritated, frustrated and angry with them and their ‘bad’ behaviour. Afterwards I feel ashamed, a failure as an adult and as a father. I feel I may have somehow damaged their psyche for the future. Part of my negative reactions is due to my own history as a child. I know that. Our past makes our future.
My own father walked out of my life when I was eight.
But at the same time I know that much of my impatience with them is from a feeling that has risen only over the past few years. And it's a feeling I expect others may have too. And that is the realisation that I have underachieved. That I am not where I want to be in terms of financial security. In terms of controlling my own time. In terms of happiness. And at this point the internal conflict begins….
I have spent over 15 years working in emergency humanitarian relief work and have seen what real hate, poverty, unhappiness and lack of freedoms looks like. I know my own feelings pale in comparison to a mother currently hiding her family in a basement in Syria or a father about to defend his family against armed killers in South Sudan. That is real. That is life or death.
Everything is relative.
I know it was just luck to have been born in a safe and stable society. I know that I shouldn't complain. I do what I can for those parents in my day job and it breaks my heart if I stop to remind myself of the conditions they are in. Fear. Rape. Pain. Death.
But I think it would be wrong of me to ignore my own family and what I should be doing for them. And how I can improve.
Listening to The Side Hustle show yesterday a guest paraphrased Carl Jung and it struck me hard. Hard enough to write this post.
‘Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their children than the unlived life of the parent.’
So I will make a change. I will push on. For the better. For me. For them.
It won’t happen quickly but it will happen.
What do you think? Do you have similar feelings? Should I quit my moaning? Please let me know by leaving a comment or get in touch.
Jason is currently an emergency humanitarian supply chain specialist and budding side hustler. He is also the creator of the daily humanitarian focused journal Aid Memoire.
From selling shoes to avoiding bombs. An eye-opening and honest memoir of my time as a novice aid worker in war-torn Sudan at the turn of the millennium.
A simple yet stylish notebook for humanitarians and aid workers. This 150-page notebook is printed with cream coloured unlined pages with a daily quotation on each page to help inspire and motivate.