On June 19th, 2009, our nation’s President took time out to focus on Fatherhood. You can watch the video of this event here. With so much going on with the economy, wars and other world affairs, it’s touches my heart to see our President focusing on this topic. Many would say it’s not important enough to have focus at this time, but they would be wrong.
I’m not going to cover the importance of fathers, because I think everyone reading this is on that same page. Rather, I’ll just pick a few choice quotes from the President and give supporting evidence from my life.
“I decided that, if I could be one thing in life, it would be to be a good father.”
When I was young, probably 8 or 9 years-old, I brought a book home. I began reading it with fervor. My dad ingrained a gem into me, early in life. “If you want to learn about something, there’s probably a book on it. Read that book and you’ll know how to do it.”
As I read my book on the couch, under a blanket (still my preferred place to read), my mom and dad walked up. “Umm…what’re you reading?”
“A book,” I respond, showing them the cover.
“Yeah, we got that but why are you reading *that* book?” The title was “How to be a good parent” or something to that effect.
“Because, I’m gonna be a dad someday. If I read enough books, I’ll be a better dad.” At 8 or 9, I made the same decision President Obama made. It feels good to know that he and I are the same in that respect
Luckily, my parents explained that being a good dad was something I couldn’t learn from a book. They pointed out to me it was learned by example, from watching others.
From that day forward, I observed as much as I could. I learned a lot of good things through observation. So much so that I wasn’t nervous when our first child was born. I felt ready and if the Lord thought I was ready too, who was I to disagree.
Sidenote: This also sparked my interest in observations and analysis of people in general. Something that has proven useful in business, writing, being social, being a good friend, etc.)
Travelling is tough because kids aren’t good on the phone. [ Ed. Note: That’s a paraphrase.]
As I travel more and more for my business, this one rings more true. It’s one reason I don’t call home much. It angers my wife, so I should try to call more. However, nothing is worse than being on the road, sad and alone, than calling home and hearing everyone having a grand old time. I’m not there, someone should be missing me! I know, it’s a bit selfish, but hey. I miss them, so it’s only fair they return the favor. 🙂
“That bond between a parent and a child is something that is precious, is sacred.”
It warms my heart to hear the President say stuff like that. This is such a true statement. This doesn’t refer to just birth children either, but also to adoptive ones. When you make a decision to take on the responsibility of a child, something precious and sacred does happen. There is an understood (often vocalized in quiet moments) promise. Everyone’s exact promise is different, but the gist of each is the same: to give anything and everything for the child’s happiness and well being.
Some parents forget that promise and it’s a sad thing. For a child will continue to carry its end of the bargain, which is to love in return. It saddens me when I see a “horrible” parent that is still worshipped by their child.
“This is not an obligation, this is a privilege to be a father.”
I think this is very good to point out. Many times, fatherhood does seem like an obligation. Some days, you just want to do what you want to do. You don’t want to be a dad with responsibilities. Sometimes it’s overwhelming to know that there are little mouths waiting for you to feed them as well as little hearts eagerly anticipating attention. It’s days like those that it feels like an obligation.
The one thing we must remember is that these children will only have one father. You. Fate or the Lord (whichever you prefer) brought this little one under your care. Not as an obligation. Not to reward you for your greatness. No, if anything it’s the opposite.
The child is there to humble you, to help you grow and be a better person. Every morning and every night, you need to give thanks to Heavenly Father or give a nod to Fate for this wonderful privilege. You need to reflect on what you did wrong and how you’ll be better moving forward.
Sure, they’ll love you either way, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to bring your best game to the field. The better you get, the better the reward.