What I don’t like about you?

As a father of young children celebrating Christmas, Birthdays and occasions like Fathers Days are extra special events. It is normal in my household that on the morning of a special occasion the other members of the family enter the bedroom of the recipient with presents and cards.

The excitement and anticipation on the morning of this event is indeed very special.

The recent Father’s Day was no different. I lay in bed as I could hear the sounds of tiny feet running up and down the hallway as my children Charlie (5 years old), Sophia (7 years old) and Isabella (10 years old) started waking each other up, collecting their presents and cards before entering my bedroom, jumping up on the bed with an excited “Happy Father’s Day!”

 “Which card shall I read first?” I said. Charlie and Sophia battled it out to have their cards read as Isabella waited patiently before delivering a Father’s Day card like no other card I had received before.

The card was beautifully designed, with lots of colours and even started with “Dear Dad……”.

However, It was the content that really had an impact on me.

On the left hand side it said ” I don’t like it when: (improve these things!!!)

  • You don’t let me have dinner late (it’s only 6pm!)
  • Are mean to us?
  • Don’t take jokes and get MAD
  • You get angry at us when you are stressed about – Toasting the Masters!!! (Ha, Ha, Ha – True)

I like you when: (Keep doing these things!)

  • Take us out
  • Are nice to us
  • Let us eat anything

I must say I was glad that there was some things I’m doing well! I have never received a card or even been given feedback that included a comprehensive, hard hitting on the money section titled “What I don’t like about you”

How often do we read cards almost expecting pleasantries from the giver?

Imagine receiving a card or even have a conversation with someone who cares who tells you sincerely and honestly what they really think about you, especially when you least expect it – on Father’s Day!

I read this card and re-read weeks later as it was real, true and beneficial. I knew there was real truth in the words of this card and it had so much meaning behind it. I value this card and thank my daughter for shining a light on some of my apparent weaknesses as a father and perhaps as a human.

I now think about how I can better balance my personal ambitions – which often causes stress, with my relationships – that desire a bit of relaxation, enjoyment and simply having fun!

About the author

Mark is co-host of the Candour Communication Podcast where we discuss interpersonal communication and all the human stuff that gets in the way.

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