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What does a picture say about who you are as a father?

If a picture says a thousand words…

I have a lot of pictures of me with my kids, surely I’d have many more if I asked people on the streets to take pics of us or if my fiancee or another adult was always along to to take pictures.

I post them often to social media. And often people will comment about what a great dad I am. While I’m grateful to get the compliments and recognition, at times I also feel like it’s undeserved. I posted a pic the other day and a friend commented:

“You are such an awesome father Sean!”

But earlier in the day, before that happy moment of the four of us captured on camera, I had a 15 minute semi-meltdown / lecture session with my kids about what a giant mess their art supply cabinet was, and them not putting things away correctly, etc. And you know the faces you get when you’re giving any kind of constructive lecture to your kids. Maybe I should take a picture of that and post it. I might as well have been talking about quantum physics or my take on foreign policy politics (neither of which you’d ever hear me seriously talking about by the way). But ask my kids how awesome of a father they thought I was at that moment.

It’s human nature to want to try to capture the happy moments, especially when we want to share them with our friends. I’m sure subconsciously (or maybe not-so-subconsciously) I want everyone to “see” what a good father I am… but I don’t always feel like I’m doing the best I can do, I always feel like I could be a better father. I always fee like I could yell less, provide more, be more understanding, be more fun, entertain my kids more, teach them better, be a better friend, be a better role model, and on and on and on… On top of that, I’m about to be a step-dad again, which is a whole other set of pressures and expectations. And I’m sure this is how 98% of parents feel.

Despite what the pictures may tell you, I’m sure I’m not always an awesome dad.

I can say, in those pictures though, you do see my dedication to my kids. Theres nothing manufactured about those moments, the love and the smiles are genuine. My dedication to my kids has become a brand. It’s how people see me now, and that is something I should be proud of. It’s also something that will hold me accountable to be dedicated to my kids always.

 Originally published on Medium

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