To achieve my ambitions in life I set out where I want to be, visualize the goals, and then map out all the things I need to do to get there. I do the same with my approach to fatherhood, I set my goals by visualizing all the things I want my kids to say about me when they grow up. Here are the responses I hope to get.

“He let us discover ourselves”

A lot of parents have big dreams for their children and put a lot of effort into ensuring that they get the best growing up. That’s a great approach to take but not at the expense of allowing their children to pursue things they feel passionate about. Their happiness, not our ambitions, should be the priority. If non-traditional careers such as dancing or singing are what makes them happy then support them and stop worrying. In the end they will be motivated because it brings them joy, that’s what matters the most and the future will take care of itself.

“He was there for us”

It’s important for your children to feel your presence regularly, which is why I make it a point to spend regular time with them almost every evening. We find happiness in simply being together, where we are or what we’re doing comes second. I’ve found that when you have that attitude almost everything becomes fun, even buying groceries.

“He loved us and we knew it”

Show your children you love them, never assume they know and never think that a gift will take it’s place. It’s three words, “I Love You”, say it to their faces every chance you get, hug and kiss them regularly, let them know how special they are. I don’t think I’ve ever known someone who showed too much love to their family and regretted it, and I don’t plan on being the first.

With regards to being a parent I will forever be a work in progress. I accept that there’s no such thing as the perfect father, I can only be the best. Even if I can’t give my kids all the love and time in the world, I can give them all the love and time in my world, and that’s exactly what I plan on doing.

To my boys Khalifa and Abdullah (and to any other angels that bless our lives in the future), I hope you read this one day, smile, and say yup, that was our father. I love you with all my heart, Baba.