Knowing who you want to be is more important than knowing what you want to be.
Fatherhood is a challenge, not in the sense that it is challenging, as in difficult. That is a given. All work that matters is difficult. More so and more importantly, it is a challenge to who we think we are, who we actually are, and who we want to be as men.
For example, my daughter still thinks I am a great singer, a good guitar player, and a skilled martial artist. The truth is that I can barely hold a tune, my guitar playing abilitiy is sub-novice level, and I am merely a serious beginner when it comes to martial arts. Some day, she will figure all of this out.
The question is, when she does, when the curtain falls and she sees that her father is merely a man, simply another flawed human, fumbling to do his best, what kind of man will she see beyond the illusion of youth? Will she see a man who is scared and hiding? Will she see a man who is selfish and dishonest? Or will she see a man who, in spite of all of his flaws and fragility, is trying his best to be present, authentic, and generous?
“As in life, so too it is in budo. As in budo, so too it is in life.”
-Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu