“They Are Watching Everything I Do” – #40Days40Dads


Today’s featured father in the #40Days40Dads project is Shawn Albright, who offers a wonderfully deep dive into his experience of fatherhood. Some dads who participated in this project really used it as an opportunity for serious introspection, and I appreciate the incredible insights Shawn offers below.

#38: Shawn

Brandon is the father of an 8-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old son.

What was the moment when you first felt like a father?

I think I started to feel like a father while my wife was still pregnant with our first child. I felt responsible for another life and took on a different seriousness about providing and protecting my family.

What’s your favorite part about being a father?

I love helping them experience or succeed at something for the first time. When doing something new, they have so much fear and doubt about the situation. I get to teach them about pushing their comfort zones and not allowing fear and the opinions of others determine what they can do in life.

What’s the hardest part about being a father?

The hardest part about being a father is letting my kids fail. I always encourage them to try, but sometimes they are going to fail. I hate to see the disappointment, and I try to help them learn a new lesson or have the proper perspective about the situation. The easiest thing to do would be to intervene and do everything for them, but then they would miss out on some of the best lessons in life: try, fail, pivot, try again.

What’s the dumbest/funniest thing that your kid has cried about or fought with you over?

I had a teachable moment with my kids after reading a story about a humanitarian worker in Africa that found a toddler that had been abandoned and was near death from starvation. After we talked about how there are bad things in this world, but that a single person can change things for many, or even just one other person, I made a statement about all of our blessings and being grateful. My daughter understood, but my son said, “Wait, what? If I’m not grateful, you’re going to stop feeding me?”

What are you most proud of having taught/shared with your kids or what are you most looking forward to teaching/sharing with them?

Every morning that I take them to school, I tell them “Be brave and be smart.” We talk about the meaning of that on occasion. Being brave is about facing fears, standing up for what you think is right, protecting those who can not, living the life you want and not the life others think you should live, and not caving to peer pressure. Being smart is about making good decisions, being respectful and having manners and common courtesy.

What’s your favorite thing about your kids?

Their willingness to forgive me when I make mistakes. Also, how they find so much excitement in the little things. We have “Family Movie Night” on many Friday evenings, and you would think we were going to Disney World.

If you could go back in time and give yourself a piece of advice when you first became a father, what would you say?

I would remind myself that they are watching everything I do and are learning how to respond to certain situations. If I lose my temper regularly, they will. If I’m disrespectful to authority, they will be, too. Harsh words or words spoken in anger can not be unsaid.

Any other comments to share on fatherhood?

The best thing I can do to love my kids is to love their mom. They need to see that I do in fact have a relationship with a higher “priority” than them. It doesn’t hurt their feelings or self-esteem, it makes them happy to see us treating each other with love and respect.

You can read more from Shawn on his website.

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