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Month: August 2016

Fatherhood is a Tremendous Responsibility

Fatherhood is a Tremendous Responsibility

Fatherhood is a commitment.  Raising boys to become independent men who add value to this world?  That’s the task at hand?  Gulp.  Right now there are some days I struggle to make sure they’re fed and clothed.  Nothing in my life has presented such a challenge.

The decision to become a father requires a commitment on many fronts: time, energy, emotion, finances, and love.  The primary period of responsibility in fatherhood lasts about 20 years while children are still under your direct care.  Only marriage and mortgages appear to last longer.

Children require a continued sacrifice to meet their physical needs of food, shelter, and clothing.  While this seems obvious to most, the actual time, energy, and money required to meet the needs of children is astonishing.  Our groceries bills have doubled.  We spend more time cooking, doing dishes, laundry, and bathing our children.  Our house is now bigger which means means a bigger mortgage, higher property taxes, more water, gas, and electricity being consumed as well. Sometimes the time and energy required to meet these primary needs takes everything out of us.

One of the basic responsibilities as a father is to protect your children.  Mine are still young so the dangers I face now are obvious but require almost constant attention.  Don’t stick your finger in the outlet! Don’t eat the legos! Don’t run in the street! Those are all common phrases I repeat regularly.  Sometimes I feel like a broken record, all just to keep my children alive.  As they grow older I envision the protection they need will require a more subtle approach to compensate for the decreasing lack of direct control we have as parents.  

As a father, I am also responsible for developing my children’s character.   I need to educate and coach them, challenge and discipline them, encourage and comfort them.   Their character is the area that can take the largest emotional drain and persistence as a father.  I feel that I spent at least two years teaching my oldest son to use his manners before it really started to catch on.

Fatherhood is also expensive.  In addition to the cost of the basic needs already mentioned, there are costs for education, sports, lessons, toys, books, day care, health insurance, and medical care (did I mention already that I have two boys?).  All of those add up to very significant sum of money, even if you maintain a relatively minimal lifestyle.  With this financial commitment comes a decrease in financial flexibility, especially if you don’t live below your means.  

While all of these responsibilities as a father are important, the most significant one is love.  True love for your children will provide you the energy and patience required to deliver on all of your duties.  It will direct you to mold their characters to grow into the people that you aspire them to be.  It will also allow your children to flourish in life.  If you truly you take the responsibility of fatherhood to heart, you cannot leave love out of the equation.  

All of these responsibilities are real and require a big commitment, but fortunately they come with an incredible opportunity as well.  

Fatherhood is the Opportunity of a Lifetime

Fatherhood is the Opportunity of a Lifetime

My wife and I have children.  Two boys, ages 4 and 1.  We feel like we are the luckiest parents alive.  Every morning, after we wake them, we pinch ourselves in disbelief at the magic of being a parent.  It often feels like Christmas morning did as a child, each day is full of joy, wonder, and comfort.  Children are miraculous.  

My father is incredible and I always hoped that I would also become a father someday.  He significantly impacts my life for the better. I am more patient, tolerant, loving, independent, and open minded because of him.  He taught me responsibility, sacrifice, play, and the value of education.   He also showed me that the opportunity to deeply influence another person in life is extremely rare.  This is the opportunity that fatherhood presents, and it is rich and sustained.  Once a father, always a father, as it will forever define me.  

The depth of this opportunity is very complex, but I primarily understand it to be twofold.  First, it is an opportunity to positively contribute to others and the world by raising great children, and second, it is a personal reward full of love, joy, and achievement.  

Parenting done right will help the world become a better place.  Who doesn’t think our world couldn’t use two more mature, selfless, and courageous gentlemen?  Fatherhood requires me to be selfless.  It requires constant consideration of my children’s needs and wants, dreams and fears, emotions and ideas.  The more time I spend focused on others, the better I become, and fatherhood requires just that.  The same principle applies in a healthy marriage, but the intensity it requires in fatherhood is immediate and consuming because young children need so much help.

In addition to the contribution of the greater good, fatherhood is also deeply rewarding.  I have more joy and wonder by discovering the world through my children’s eyes.  I feel accomplished when they learn new things or use their manners.  I never imagined the soul satisfying joy I would experience of being wholly welcomed everyday with such excitement.  Or hearing my son tell me he loves me for the first time.  As young children, their love for me is simple yet rich.  It makes me feel like an undeserving king.  

All humans have a deep desire to connect with others.  Fatherhood presents this opportunity immediately upon the birth of your child, and that bond will grow as time passes.  Even though my father and I have not lived together in over 15 years our bond is deep and that will always remain.  No other man knows me better.

The decision to become a father is an opportunity I could not have imagined until I started experiencing it myself.  Fatherhood is a commitment like nothing else. It is full of responsibility but it is also rich with opportunity.