I stood above the crib and watched my 9-month old boy as he kicked his little legs, fighting sleepy time with everything he had. That little dude melts my heart, especially when he tries my patience. In fact, I absolutely love it when he does.
Here's why: It strengthens my resolve to be a better father, and a better human.
When he refuses to sleep, or when he dumps his blueberries onto the floor, or when he poops at the worst possible moment, I can choose to react to the situation emotionally/egoically, or I can choose to act in a way that provides a good example for him. He is there watching every move I make. And he's learning life-long habits from me. It's within micro-moments such as these that character is built, mine, and his.
My wife and I made a pact before we were ever pregnant. We committed to our children that we would do everything in our power to limit the amount of emotional baggage that we might bestow upon them. We are, of course, human. We WILL make mistakes, and plenty of them. But it's our mission to focus our attention on those micro-moments, on those times when we're in a hurry to be somewhere, or when we're tired, or when we have so much more work to do before we go to bed. Taking the time to simply BE with the little guy, engaged, focused, and gracious for his existence IS my life.
When I look at him, tightly squeezing my arm toward his little chest right before he lets his eye lids fall, HE is the only thing that matters. HE is the reason I've gone through my life's trials and tribulations, and learned from them. It is attention to these exact micro-moments, or lack thereof, that make up a life.
I challenge you to pay attention to your reactions today. They will reveal a pattern, and are a direct reflection of your character.