Fatherhood is changing me on a daily basis. I am constantly challenged to learn, grow, trust and love. It’s the reason I was inspired to start Poptism and put a team together to help inspire men to be better dads.
So if you are about to be a dad, or are one now, here are three things I really didn’t expect to encounter on this first part of the journey.
1) I don’t know it all: “Am I doing this right?” I probably think this to myself a few times a day. Case in point – reading Goodnight Moon tonight to my son: “Am I reading the book right? should I point at the colors too? or just read the words? Maybe I should have him repeat every item on the page…”
My career brings certainty to my day; things are right or wrong, up or down. Easy to measure and iterate. But if I screw up my kid – when will I find out? At some therapy session in 22 years? The truth is that I am not screwing up my kid. Reading him a book is fun, it is supposed to be bonding time and just having him hear my voice and spend time with me will boost his confidence, communication skills and more.
2) Patience is key: “OMG. Seriously – go potty.” I want things now. My phone, email, news, TV and movies are all on demand devices – why isn’t my child? I’ll tell you why – because we need to learn patience. I remember my dad having Zen like patience with me, I now know he must have learned that when I was a baby. The more patient I am, the more my child responds with words instead of screams. Lately, I have been able to diffuse tantrums by just getting down on his level, talking calmly and showing him that I am listening. It was not my first instinct, believe me, but as I develop patience and love, it becomes easier everyday.
3) I am not Number One: Umm, do I need to lay this one out for you? The moment my 1st child was born I ceased living for myself. End of story. However – as much as I intellectually knew that – the practice of loving someone more than yourself is much different. It has been 5 years now since my first boy, and I am probably just starting to get it. It is a real thing. It’s not make believe, you literally have to love others more than yourself to be a dad. I need to become less (less demanding & selfish) so that my sons and wife can become more. Otherwise, you will be a bitter, angry man with a cold, apathetic family.
5 years ago – there were no children in my life. Fatherhood was an unknown word to me. Do I miss that life? Sure, I would be lying if I said “no”. But I would never give up the life I have today to go back to my old life. My boys fill me with amazing joy and teach me so much. The life I am living as a father is much more inspired, yes it is hard, but nothing that is amazing comes easily.
What has fatherhood taught you? Respond below!
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