I know I’ve said in previous blogs that I had to stop working. But that is not necessarily true. You see, the greatest gift and job I’ve ever been given is the opportunity to be a parent to my four children. As any parent will tell you, raising a child is the hardest and yet most rewarding job in the world. It is also a work in progress. With four children at the ages of 5,8,15, and 18, I will never stop working at being a better parent today than I was yesterday. The hardest part is knowing that at a young age your kids are watching you like a hawk. I see so many mannerisms, expressions, and sayings from my daughter that is a spitting image of my wife. And I’m sure that she sees a lot of me in our three boys. Thankfully many of these qualities are very positive, but like most of us, we are not perfect. One of my biggest failures as a parent is still remembered by my oldest son when he was about five years old. It happened on an Easter Sunday morning. We kind of joke about it now, but it is one of my biggest failures as a parent on what is a very important day. Being a parent is really hard. And tough love may be the hardest. Have you ever had to discipline your child, put them to bed and then felt so guilty you wanted to wake them up and give them a big hug and say you’re sorry? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had that feeling. Even though I knew it was the right thing to do it was also the hardest thing to do. I have the “luxury” of parenting at very different phases these days. My teenage boys are a blast because they have become or are becoming fine young men. At the same time there is a level of trust that needs to be there as they gain more and more independence. My hope is that I have given them enough guidance to make the right choices in their life. My younger kids are at the phase where they still push you to test the limits. This is a different type of difficulty that all parents understand. And parenting never stops. I am fortunate to still have my mother around when I need her advice, and I miss seeking my father’s calming nature when I sought advice from him. But no matter the age, our children are always watching us. It is a tremendous responsibility that every parent takes on. Hopefully, my children see that love is at the center of their world. The love and respect I have for their mother, for them, and for god. I know I am not perfect and I will continue working on this as long as I am able to do so. And each night I end my prayers with the same request: forgive me of my sins and give me the strength and guidance to be a better husband, father, son, brother, and friend than I was today because people are always watching especially our children.