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12_HAR_2015-03_Letter_from_Pub_Shawn_Headshot

Letter from the Publisher

Being a good parent has to be one of the most difficult things many people will do in this life. It’s a long-term, complex balancing act to be a parent at the same time you’re a spouse, an employee or business owner, a child, brother or friend to so many others. But wow, what an important role it is!

With four teenagers in my family, including my daughter, son and two stepsons, I know I’ve made mistakes as a parent more times than I can count. In some cases, I feel I’ve messed up very badly. I often reflect on those times and see that most of the “bad” instances of my parenting come from me not being truly present for my children. When I’ve been short with them, I may have been more concerned about my job, my relationship, rushing to be somewhere else or just being self-absorbed in whatever I wanted to do at that moment that seemed so much more important than being a great father to my precious kids. It’s that last one that creates the strongest feelings of guilt and regret for me.

When I read this month’s feature article, “Enlightened Parenting,” many of the points mentioned in the article hit me really hard and made me ask myself why was it so hard for me to focus on a child who wanted my attention? Why didn’t I do that thing or the other when I had the opportunity? Why didn’t I create those opportunities?

I don’t have answers but I know at 46 years old, I’m a very different person than when my kids were younger and I’ve changed many things. The brutal irony is that while I’m now more focused and present for my teenage kids today, they have far less want to spend time with me. But better late than never for me to improve! The teenage years have brought some serious and difficult challenges to our family, which have required every ounce of presence possible.

I’m hoping that if you’re a parent and reading this month’s issue, you’ll read the “Enlightened Parenting” article and change at least one thing you do with your children. Even if you’re already a great parent, there may be one more thing you can do better. In the end, we can only do our best. And our best will hopefully change over time as our skills, wisdom and personalities change with the passing of time.

Naturally Yours,

Shawn

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