This question is frequently asked of people after they've reached a certain age. One unknown father came up with some answers I believe have a lot of merit:
1. "I would love my wife more in front of my children." That is, he would speak more words of affection, hold her hand more, put his arm around her more, and hug her more.
2. "I would laugh with my children more at our mistakes and joys." Laughter breeds happiness, and a happy home has far fewer problems.
3. "I would listen more, even to the smallest child." It is amazing what little ones can teach us as the pearls of wisdom often come tumbling out.
4. "I would be more honest about my own weaknesses and stop pretending perfection." Kids know we are not perfect, and it's comforting to know we can acknowledge our humanness.
5. "I would pray differently for my family. Instead of focusing on them, I'd focus on me." After all, that's where it really starts.
6. "I would do more things together with my children." We repeatedly hear about fathers who get too busy to spend precious moments walking, talking, playing, shopping, fishing, and cycling with their children. That's where bonding takes place.
7. "I would be more encouraging and bestow more praise." It is said that encouragement is the fuel of hope, and praise, particularly for effort, brings about even more effort in the future.
8. "When I made a mistake in the way I dealt with my children, I would admit it and ask them to forgive me."
9. "I would pay more attention to little things, deeds and words of love and kindness." When you add up all those little things over a lifetime, they make a huge difference.
10. "I would share God more intimately with my family through ordinary things that happen in a day."
This unknown father has some marvelous lessons for us. Take his approach, and you will have a happier, more fulfilled life as a parent.
~from his book, Staying Up, Up, Up in a Down, Down World