Dads: Out with the old, in with the new

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Farewell 2018, hello 2019. The baton passes from one year to the next. It’s time to reflect on what has gone before and make plans for what is to come. Here’s a sample of what has been on the minds of me and my fellow dads over the Christmas and New Year holidays.

The old year

Christmas is a time for celebration but also for reflection. Nigel from DIY Daddy discussed how lucky he is, while thoughtfully recognising that not everyone is so fortunate. The lonely, the elderly, the homeless – there are so many for whom Christmas is just another day where the joy of others serves only to underline their own circumstances. For those of us who are surrounded by the love of friends and family over Christmas, it’s not something we should take for granted.

On a related note, Ian from Dad’s Delicious Dinners created his own version of the traditional Advent calendar. Every day from December 1st to 24th, he listed five things he was grateful for. My personal favourites were the ones for the 1st and 24th. Have a look and decide which are yours.

The clue’s in the name. Kieron from Father Reading Every Day set himself a target for 2018 of … well, you can work it out for yourself. Looking back on the year, he listed seven things he had learned from reading a bedtime story every night to his three-year-old son. You’ll have to read the rest for yourselves but I particularly liked number five: ‘libraries matter – lots!’ This really resonated with me. In a world of tablets and YouTube, it’s easy to forget the simple pleasure of taking your children to the local library. It’s an excuse for a walk. It’s an opportunity to explore and choose some new books every few days during the holidays. And it introduces them to the joy of browsing, a leisurely activity often overlooked in our busy lives.

On its own, a nightly story doesn’t require much effort. But when you put all those little moments together, it adds up to a heck of a lot. Here’s how Kieron totted it all up:

367 books (often read twice). 220,000 words. 11,744 gorgeous, varied illustrations. 10,950 minutes reading and discussing books. It has all added up to having a huge impact on T.

The new year

For Phill from Four Seasons Dad and Corporate Dad, 2018 came to a tumultuous end when his contract was abruptly terminated shortly before Christmas. It’s a cliché, I know, but sometimes opportunities spring from the most unlikely of sources. Phill’s now striking out on his own and the reflections he posted on his Instagram are ones we would all do well to heed:

For those that know me know I’m a workaholic. It’s what’s made me successful to date but at what cost? I’ve lost contact with friends, neglecting family and running through life without living it.

My resolutions for this year involve creating a sustainable and consistent personal, family-oriented wellness day. One day a fortnight just for me and my family to switch off. Something that’s engrained in our lives that it’s permanent.

Not everyone is so keen on setting New Year’s resolutions, though. Darren over at Bearded with Boys explains why he doesn’t in his post New Year, new resolutions? Regardless of whether you agree with him or not, he makes some important points about not setting yourself unrealistic targets.

If you do decide to make New Year’s resolutions, then make them achievable. Don’t set yourself up for failure.

I completely agree. Personally, I focus on setting myself stretching but achievable goals under the four banners of Family, Work, Blogging and Me. The key things for me for 2019 are to set better examples for our kids and to continue the improvements to my health that I initiated in the final three months of last year. Nothing too dramatic and nothing that requires me to transform into a different, unrecognisable person. The ‘new me’ is basically just the old me minus a few rough edges.

And so on we march into the new year. Who knows what it will bring? Whatever happens, I hope your 2019 is a good one.

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About Tim Liew

Tim, also known as @thatchamdad, is a blogger, a podcaster, a father of three (aged 11, 9 and 7) and a master of none. By his own admission he’s forever stuck somewhere in the mid-1980s, probably a Thursday. In between bouts of nostalgia, complaining about his aching joints and compiling endless music playlists, he has been writing about his experiences as a working dad on his blog Slouching towards Thatcham since 2008.