In reading a recent post on the Good Men Project that asked what made you the dad that you are, I gave it some thought. I don’t believe that the content of the post matches the original title, but thought provoking nonetheless.
For me, I don’t believe that a single event shaped me as a dad. This was definitely a combination of long term development, previous experiences, luck, common sense and even a bit of blind faith.
When my wife was pregnant with our first child, my boss at the time gave me a book called The Expectant Father: Facts, Tips, and Advice for Dads-To-Be. I read the book thinking that this would provide me with great insight into my new life as a dad. The reality is that I realized, after reading the book, I was going to have to rely heavily on common sense to be the dad that I wanted to be.
I didn’t work for that company very long after he gave the book to me. This brings on my point on risk. When my wife was pregnant with our first, I had just launched a new software company with a partner. Nothing like being married a year prior, pregnant wife and starting a new business on top of it all. However, this reality taught me to focus like a laser on what was important and prioritize my life in order to simply get it all done.
For my past experiences, I was an uncle at the age of 19. I was very comfortable with handling babies and having kids climb all over me through my 20s. I also have to look at the folks around me and how they approached fatherhood. My own dad, worked two jobs as I was growing up. He didn’t have the ability to attend functions that I had such as basketball and football games. For the longest time, I had some bitterness in me because of his absence from my activities. As I got older, that subsided a bit and eventually going away completely when I because a dad. Don’t get me wrong, I never stopped loving my dad. I just took me having a family to completely understand his motivations for working two jobs. One of his highest purposes in life was to make sure that his family was provided for. Working in a factory and part time in a bowling alley, he made a great life for us and ensured that all of us were able to make it through college. I still wish he had more involvement in my life growing up, but I understand why he couldn’t. We have a great relationship today.
I’ve vowed that I would be more involved in my kids’ lives when I became a dad. I’m fortunate to be in a position, professionally, that I can take the time to be involved with kids’ activities during the week as well as on the weekends.
My assessment of what made me the dad that I am is that I had a good combination of experiences and a healthy dose of common sense and confidence in my judgments – if I do say so myself- that helped me to transition into fatherhood. I am fortunate in this respect. I guess this is where luck comes in, whether it’s dumb luck or I made my own luck is the question.