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.