New Dad Diaries 33: Bore your way to success

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Chronicling life as a new father to his beautiful firstborn child – daughter Thea – Chris Kerr’s goal is to provide all men experiencing fatherhood for the first time with some invaluable tips and tricks as they are learned – the hard way. This time, Chris challenges dads to drop the motivational books and bore their way to success as a dad.

My personal fashion style as a kid was fairly ordinary.  Everything was plain and neutral in colour.  Until one day when I was 13, a mate advised me that the key to being attractive to girls was to wear bright clothes. “You don’t want to blend in with the crowd Chris. You need to stand out, it’s the only way.”

So, out went the beige clothes and in came the reds, blues, pinks and greens. I even owned a yellow tee shirt with a huge logo (on a rainbow background) which was three sizes too big for me. Now, it cannot be denied that I stood out in a crowd, but it was more in the way a donkey would stand out in a field of thoroughbred horses.   

This (dumb) process is called, ‘peacocking’, a concept developed by the self-labelled ‘pick-up artists’.  The idea is that the more ostentatious one’s clothing and behaviour is, the more one will stand out from other ‘competing’ males.   

Now, I am sure this approach has led to some success, if your metric for measuring prospering relationships is being noticed. But have you ever noticed that ‘pick-up artists’ are never called ‘keep-it going artists’?  I’d love to see the data on how many of their tricks help them to develop and maintain healthy, happy, long-term relationships (hypothesis: it’s 0%).    

That’s because they fell into the trap of trying to get the maximum result (love) with minimum effort. It’s the same trap that our society falls into regularly, whether it’s trying to lose weight rapidly with a diet that isn’t sustainable, or trying to be healthy by taking loads of supplements while eating a rubbish diet, or trying to force a legacy by saying stupid things on social media to get followers. Just like my attempts at ‘peacocking’, such strategies lead only to disappointing outcomes. There is no quick fix if you want to be truly successful in any area of life.   

That is particularly true of parenting. There are no shortcuts if you want to raise healthy, wholesome children. It’s a long, hard walk in the same direction and the roads are paved with nappies (literally thousands of them). Kids thrive on routine, so expect to do a lot of the same things every day and every night for years. Expect to read the same book over and over and over again to the point you can recite it from memory. Expect to play the same games multiple times throughout the day. Expect to sing the same songs to the point that when those five little duckies go over the hill and far away you actually hope that something has happened to them and they DON’T come back. Expect the expected. Bore your way to parenting success.   

I am afraid there is no other way. No amount of grand gestures or big toy purchases will be able to cover up for what your kid really needs: your time, your attention, your love. If you give them those things, you can expect something else too: joy. Because there is nothing quite like having an unbreakable bond with your child and seeing them grow up into everything they were born to be. 

Author’s Note:  I can imagine the motivational speaker book publishers are queuing up to publish a book on the back of this article as the potential titles would no doubt inspire many sales:  Bore your Way to SuccessExpect the ExpectedGo UnnoticedDon’t Change your LifeDon’t Climb a Mountain, Just Walk in the Same Direction for a Long Time with No Views. At least we could actually guarantee the outcomes, though.

Authors Note 2:  No, there are not any photos of me in that bright yellow tee shirt with a garish logo that is three sizes too big for me. At least, not that I know of… 

TIP OF THE WEEK:  When you get a bit fed up of doing the same thing over and over again, focus on the ‘why’ behind it. Every nappy you change, story you read and interaction you have with your little one is building him or her up. The task may seem insignificant but it’s actually really, really important.

Chris Kerr

Chris is a husband to Alicia and father to Thea, who is the subject of his columns on Fatherhood for Sorted.  In his spare time he works for a national law firm in an executive capacity and provides crisis leadership consultancy support for non-profits across the UK.  He attends Urban Crofters Church in Cardiff.  A keen weekend adventurer, Chris is regularly spotted in the sea or on mountains.
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