One thing is true for most parents: we all want to do the very best job we can. When my kids were little, I used to ask my friends how they would rate themselves as parents on a scale of 1 to 10. What would it be? I’ve asked myself that same question many times, wondering how I measure up, and if there is anything I could be doing to improve.
It’s something I think about a lot, actually. I have had my own struggles as a parent. It’s never been easy, but I know that I have always put my kids first and tried my very best. Which is why I usually think of myself as an 8 or maybe even a 9 on a good day. But no matter what, I have always wanted to improve as a parent and give my kids the very best of me.
I’m a general contractor and we joke around a lot on the job. One day I asked my friend, who is one of my sub-contractors, how he rated himself as a father. He is such a fun dad and so great with his kids. I really admire him and respect him as a father. I was sure I’d get at least a 9 from him.
He thought about if for a moment and came back with his answer. Just a 6. I started laughing at him, thinking he was being sarcastic. “You are out of your mind! You must be joking!” I told him. “You are the funnest, coolest dad.” But I was surprised when he replied in a serious tone, “Thanks Rich, but you know I’m far from perfect and there’s a few things I need to work on.”
I was baffled and wondered if there were some parts of my friend I didn’t understand. But we left it at that. He didn’t really seem like he wanted to discuss it further so we got back to work. I didn’t think about it again.
Six months later, I was at a gathering with my friend and noticed he wasn’t drinking. I joked with him and said, “What? No beer for you?” When he told me no, which was unusual, I asked him why. He said, “Because I want to be a 9.”
It took me a second, but quickly I remembered our conversation on the job site all those months ago and realized what he was referring to. Wow, I was blown away when I realized the impact that my question had on my friend. It was a powerful moment. He explained that he was concerned about his drinking and didn’t want to set a bad example by drinking in front of his kids.
Parenting can be incredibly rewarding, but it can also be isolating and lonely. And I’ve found that most of us want to do all we can to be the very best parents we can be. By reaching out and sharing our struggles, we can support one another in striving to be better. Whether today you rate yourself as a 6 or a 9, I hope you’ll find someone you trust to share the joys and challenges that parenting brings. You are not alone!
So how do you rate yourself as a parent? Leave your answer in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!