The past two years, I’ve written new year blogs from a mother’s perspective. This year, I asked my husband to put down his thoughts. So here’s new year goals from a father’s perspective.

As the new year approaches, it is always a good time to start afresh. Forget the past and press that reset button. For many, including me, it is a time for goal setting. Goals are an effective way to ensure that the year ahead would help us progress, and not regress. These goals are often those that would help and benefit us personally. Which goals we end up sticking to and which we give up are often based on our own convenience.

As a parent, my kids feature prominently in my goal setting. Being a better parent is something most of us aspire towards. Every year I end up setting goals such as ‘spend more time with them’, ‘take them out on dates’, ‘read more’, ‘play more’ etc. etc. All these are things I promise myself (and them) that I will do each year. But as I put down my goals for this year, I recalled an advice I received from my mentor who conducts parenting workshops across the nation. He said these words that form the underlying philosophy for my parenting goals for this year as well as for this blog. When it comes to kids, “more is caught than taught.” In other words, kids are astute observers. They learn more from who we are than what we try and tell them.

I realise this more as I see my seven year old son liking things I like, saying things I say and doing things just like I would do. For example, he doesn’t really understand cricket. But he says it is his favourite sport and loves to watch, just because I do. Whether we like it or not, we are kids primary role models.

As a result, this year Ive tried to set goals not just involve  what I do with them but also I want to be for them. Hope it helps anyone reading.

1. Be more present

My son is at that age when he really enjoys using my phone. Sometimes, he gets quite desperate. Whenever we go to the restaurant and are waiting for the food to arrive I feel a little hand trying to dig into my pockets to access my phone. He finds it hard to just wait and talk to the rest of us (I wonder where he gets that from-me of course). So this year I want to change my attitude towards my phone. The big goal is to be present with them when I am with them. Smaller goals include not carrying my phone all the time with me, shutting off all push notifications (especially WhatsApp)and acting like its not the end of the world if I can’t find my phone or if the battery is low.

2. Be more conscious of the environment

I may not see the pressing need to be conscious of the environment today as long as there is clean water flowing through my taps. But who knows if what the situation would be when they grow up. So for their sake I want them to know me as a person who cares for the environment. So my goals include picking up litter I see on the roads and even at home. Even making a game out of it. I also want to show them how it upsets me when people litter on the streets.

3. Be more fun
Life can get pretty serious with all the daily responsibilities, school pick-ups, food and bath times, and last but not least the never-ending bedtime routines. (As I type this I can hear my five ear old what to tell me ‘one last thing’ for the 18th time). ‘Dad mode’ usually involves this strict sergeant who wants to survive through the daily war with the little minion soldiers. Most days I would end up shouting at one of them and then feeling terribly bad about it. But at the end of the day they are kids. So this year I want to be a bit more playful with them. Make silly faces, crack silly jokes and do silly things. Pick them up from school like the avengers on a mission or wake them up in the middle of the night and go for ice cream. (Wow! I can’t believe I just said that) But I want them to know that humour and fun can be are best companions in a pretty much hard world.

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