I find myself repeating the habits of my father, now that I’m father. Something about which I have, let us say, mixed feelings.

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the casting of my father for the role of parent was a deeply flawed decision and maybe didn’t play to his strengths. But I suspect that to be true of most fathers, in general, and almost all of them before a certain time in our history (some mythical point where we understood the importance of a father as a caregiver).

But I find myself repeating some of his paternal patterns. Not, I hope, the most obviously destructive ones. Nevertheless, at a playground, I kept pushing my child to try more things, to climb its more intimidating structures. I never really thought that I was doing anything bad and she doesn’t really need much incentive to be frighteningly fearless, but because I remember similar actions by father, I do wonder whether I am building her self confidence and independence or recycling negative traits from my own childhood.

You can’t really tell me, either, unless you witnessed, at the least, what I do in those moments. And it’s probably nothing. But when you’re inside the cycle, surely, it is wretchedly difficult to be sure.