I always knew I wanted to be a dad one day (sort of goes with the territory after you marry a beautiful woman), but I didn’t really have a clue how it would affect me personally. I wasn’t dumb enough to think it wouldn’t change my life, but exactly how it would change my life was an unknown.
17 months into this dad business (9 months longer if you count the pregnancy), and I’m happy to report that I love it. No, I don’t just love being a dad, I L-O-V-E being a dad. Here’s what I mean:
- L-earning to Appreciate Being Alive
- O-pportunity to Shape a Person’s Destiny
- V-ictory Over Selfishness
- E-veryone Says Hi!
Learning to Appreciate Being Alive
There’s something magical about seeing your child’s eyes open in the morning and that innocent, warm, genuine smile slowly creep across her face as she realizes it’s a new day to spend with her daddy. It just makes you glad to be alive. I think children are God’s way of telling us “Hey, things aren’t really so bad. These kids are really happy that’s it’s a new day. Are you?”
Later in the day, when I’m at the office and loosing steam and sick of juggling a millions things and still not having enough cash in the bank, I find myself daydreaming about my baby girl and her bless-your-heart smile. And I remember to be thankful I’m here, again.
Opportunity to Shape a Person’s Destiny
What sort of responsibility can possibly compare with the awesome privilege we dads have in shaping the destiny of our children? I’m not talking about command-and-control – I’m talking about love, friendship, mentorship, impartation of an elder’s wisdom…all the qualities young people desire in an “old sage.” It’s a misnomer that young people don’t want to listen to older people. They do! I think the problem is when it’s the other way around.
I want to listen to my girl’s heartbeat. I want to discern what gets her excited, what makes her tick. I want to help her discover all the incredible possibilities there are in this world, and help her to realize there is nothing – NOTHING – she can’t do if she puts her mind to it and asks God for His guidance and grace. I want to be a source of comfort for her when the world gets hard. I want to be a source of strength for her when she’s not sure how she can go on. And I want to be a source of love for her even when she messes up. To know that, even if everybody on the whole planet might be against her, I’m not. I’m not.
Victory Over Selfishness
Being a dad has taught me a lot about my own character. Or, in many cases, lack thereof. It’s taught me to be more patient. It’s taught me to be more concerned about others. It’s reminded me about how important life is – not just lives but life, the unbelievable realization that we’re here on earth for only a short time and we’re here because of something really, really important. (Discovering what that is, is the journey of a lifetime!)
Never take that for granted. The joy of beholding your children learn a new thing every day, even if it’s the fact that a certain toy makes a funny noise when you squeeze it, is the perfect antidote to cynicism!
Everyone says Hi!
The best part about being a parent – particularly a “new parent” – is how much fun it is to bop around town. Everyone smiles at you! Well, actually, they’re smiling at the baby. Everyone comes up and says Hi! Well, actually, they’re saying hi to the baby. Everyone wants to shake your hand! Well, actually, they’re wanting to touch baby. Eww, gross, get away from her!
But I love it. I’m a pretty social guy once I get into dialogs with people, but I hate initiating dialog with strangers. I’m not one of those people who just starts randomly chitchatting with the barista at Starbucks or chewing the fat with the dude standing outside the hardware store. So having a baby is fantastic. People will come up and initiate dialog with her, and then I can piggyback on top of the conversation. I only worry that my girl will have a rude awakening when she gets older and realizes that people don’t smile like clowns and giggle and talk in high, squeaky voices all the time when they’re in the “real world.” Exit question – why don’t they?
Bottom line: I L-O-V-E being the father of a 17-month-old girl. I can hardly wait to find out what happens next.