Not all mistakes I make as a dad necessarily involve doing the wrong things. Often, my mistakes come from doing right things in wrong amounts.
As a dad for nearly 36 years, I've compiled a list of 36 "quantity adjustments" I'm trying (or trying to try) to make as I head down the stretch.
1. Being a little more firm, a little less harsh.
2. Doing a little more "show" and a little less "tell."
3. Acting louder, talking softer.
4. Keeping more promises, making fewer threats.
5. Being quicker to sympathize, less hasty to rescue.
6. Investing more time, wasting less money.
7. (In my kids' hearing) Praying more short prayers, fewer long prayers.
8. Lingering more at the dinner table, less at my desk.
9. Eating more breakfasts together in the morning, less junk food together at night.
10. Tuning in more to my passengers, less to the radio announcer.
11. Tossing around more Frisbees, fewer criticisms.
12. Training my facial muscles to show more delight and less frustration.
13. Being more eager to understand what my children actually mean, and less eager to correct what they actually said.
14. Making more home movies, watch fewer Hollywood movies.
15. Laughing more at my blunders, barking less at theirs.
16. Being more consistent on the rules, less insistent on my preferences.
17. Reading more books together, fewer media stories alone.
18. Playing more games, winning less often.
19. More face-to-face, less Facebook.
20. Listening more with my eyes, less with my mouth.
21. Doling out more rewards, fewer free passes.
22. Disciplining wrongs more swiftly, judging motives less quickly.
23. Ordering more toppings on my kids' sundaes, fewer on mine.
24. Pitching more, batting less.
25. Going to more places where we can serve, fewer where we get served.
26. Singing more, sermonizing less.
27. Trying harder to have fun, less hard to be funny.
28. Finding more solutions, less fault.
29. Introducing them to more heroes, fewer celebrities.
30. Teaching them to give a little more, take a little less.
31. Wrestling with them more, arguing with them less.
32. More discussing the Bible with them, less throwing doctrines at them.
33. Reading more to them in their bedrooms, less to myself in the bathroom.
34. Saying yes more often to "May I come?" and less often to "May I stay home?"
35. Discussing more heavyweight issues, rattle off fewer lightweight formulas.
36. Hugging them tighter, holding them looser.
These days, that's generally how I'm trying to try to approach parenting...more or less. Lord, help me.