On this sacred journey of parenthood, there lies before me a guiding constellation of character traits I aim to embody for my family. These aren’t simply words or adjectives, but profound values that I aspire to infuse into my emotional DNA:


Kindness, the radiant warmth that softens hearts and fosters bonds. It is the soothing balm that heals, the gentle touch that comforts.


Generosity, the unstinting openness to give—be it time, resources, or a listening ear. It’s about cultivating a spirit of abundant sharing—defying the constraints of self-centeredness.


Curiosity, the insatiable thirst for knowledge and understanding—a restlessness to explore, to ask, to learn. A lifelong commitment to growth and intellectual expansiveness.


Empathy, the ability to step into another’s shoes, feel their joys and pains, and echo their emotions in our hearts—provides a cushion of understanding.


Compassion, the unwavering commitment to alleviate suffering, to extend a hand when someone stumbles, to shine light into the dark corners of another’s journey.


Welcoming, the embracing of diversity, the acceptance of all with open arms—fostering a home that is a haven of inclusivity and warmth.


Self-awareness, the ongoing endeavor to understand oneself, to acknowledge our strengths and weaknesses, to be honest about our flaws, and ever open to self-improvement.


Optimism, the unyielding belief in a brighter tomorrow, the determination to see the silver lining in every cloud, the faith that no matter how dark the night, dawn is but a heartbeat away.


Forgiveness, the power to release grudges, to let go of the past, to offer a second chance. It is the strength to free both ourselves and others from the shackles of resentment.


Silliness, the capacity to laugh, to be light-hearted, to relish the joy of the moment. It’s the permission to be goofy, to play, to keep the child within us alive and laughing.

These tenets are the stars in my sky, guiding me on this journey of fatherhood. The bar is high, indeed, and reaching it will demand the stretch of every sinew, the exercise of every emotional muscle. It’s a labor of love that will inevitably leave me winded, spent. But oh, it’s time—time to embrace the fatigue, the beautiful exhaustion of striving for something so infinitely precious. It’s time to get wonderfully, meaningfully tired.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand and Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2023 Stephen Boudreau.