Foolishness can sometimes look you straight in the eye – the ironic thing is I am looking at my own reflection. I will try to explain. Hard wired behaviors and control patterns can be unseen governing forces as we carry ourselves in life. Sure I am a product of my own upbringing and sometimes being a parent and Father has its challenges. Sometimes I do not even know what I am doing in regard to child rearing. The whole process of life can be a blur of work, paying bills and raising children. Yet, somehow, we all move on with smiles on our faces –most of the time.

Sometimes I am tough on my 10-year-old son. Tough in ways that I think are proactive to his wellbeing and development. Am I a professional at this thing called parenting? I guess so; I have been at it for 10+ years. Still, today, I realized when I look into my son’s eyes; I am looking at myself 31 year ago – a mirror image of a child and existence that seems so far gone. Maybe that is why I do not relate to my sons frustrations and challenges as well as I could or should. Well, not anymore… Today, while on the beach in Kauai, I had an epiphany. In the reflection of my son’s eyes, I saw myself as a child: meek, soft-spoken and awkward in many ways. Though most of my thoughts do not turn to actions, I still feel bad and remorseful. Could I be a better parent? Actions speak louder than words, right?

Enough of the negativity… I turned and praised my kid for all his good attributes and gave him a big hug and a kiss. And then I gave him another big hug and kiss. No one is perfect, but we can improve – even as parents of wonderful children.

Ohana means family in Hawaiian. As New Years looms, I am very thankful for my family. We all make mistakes time to time, but the important thing is to learn from our errors and makes sure our kids know they are loved.

Tomorrow is New Years Eve in the Hawaiian Islands – more to come!

John C. Bader


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