Thus far I have
covered some rather deep topics. Looking at this like a working thesis we
can see how I am hoping to continue building. Noting that we learn a little
about what it means to be a dad from our fathers (or father role models), from
our peers, and from our spouse, we are still no closer to depicting what it
means to be a dad. Not letting this weigh us down (or at least I am not
letting it weigh me down), shall we soldier on?
Regardless of what you hold as your faith or
belief, there is a clear and distinct moment where a person becomes a father.
For some, as it is for me, it is at the moment of conception. For
others, it is at the moment of birth. Noting that there are two drastically
opposed viewpoints that could hinder this quest; can we accept, as a community,
a few things before we go on?
There is a moment when you realize that your
life is going to change. Not minding one’s definition of life, there is a
very real impact of that little plus sign, smiley face, or word on that little
plastic device. Finding out that you have a child on the way should spurn
thoughts of what this means for the rest of your life. Many, deep down (some
deeper than others) spend some portion of the next nine months wondering.
This time spent wondering is in preparation
for what is to come. During the next nine (or so) months that follow the
discovery that a child is to be born a man’s mind is full of questions.
The severity and nature of these questions change drastically with each
subsequent child, but they are still there. Most of these questions stem
from the sense of unknown inadequacy when it comes to raising a child.
Accepting these two ideas, we can move to the
most defining moment of the journey that we call fatherhood.
After nine months of waiting there comes a
point in time when the wait is over. I am currently reading “Beyond the
Grip of Craniosynostosis: An Inside View of Life Touched by the Congenital
Skull Deformity” by Kase D. Johnstun. You can read my wife’s review HERE and I
will attach my review HERE once it is written. In this book Johnstun has
a beautifully written depiction of this very moment that I would like to share
“She screams and grunts and
cries. She walks and breaths and squats. And with one final push, a child
explodes onto this earth in a discolored bath of hope. The world’s light shines
into her newborn irises for the first time. Mom and dad look upon their
miracle, their creation, and their new and immediate love. In a matter of a few
painful hours, the future they had imagined for nine months has become present,
present in the wiggling fingers and stretching larynx of a newborn. For a brief
moment, they bask in the wonders of new life in the wheezy gasps of their
child, they hug, and they stare into each other’s eyes, exploring the depths of
their bewilderment and wonder. Their future has arrived.” (Johnston 6).
Let that sink in for a moment.
Let it reach the marrow, the fiber of your
Regardless of your belief, at this moment a
person becomes a father. Why do I keep phrasing it that way, using
‘person’ and ‘father’? Early on in my journey I realized (and posted
here) a simple fact, “Even a boy can become a father. All it takes is a little
sperm and a lack of judgment. However, it takes a man to be a dad. Man up and
become the dad your children need”.
In the days that follow this moment, ones
journey into fatherhood progresses. As much as we would like to think that it
would be a nice leisurely stroll through a bright and beautiful part, it is
more akin to braving a hurricane, in shark infested waters, using a kick board,
on your way to summit Mt. Everest, in winter, naked. This is not to say that
the journey is void of amazing moments or beautiful sights. To the contrary,
these moments and sights make what seems like such a perilous journey more than
For me, the largest quandary in trying to be
the best dad that I can for my amazing kiddos, is exactly why I am writing this
series. How does one know what it means to be a dad, until they are one?
It is because of this that the idea of learning from our children came into the
I know, I took the long road to get to this
point. It is my hope that the result may be full of eye-opening, thought
provoking splendor to reward your for your patience.
The simplicity of understanding that one
cannot understand what it means to be a dad until they have children is very deceiving. But it is in the advent of having children
that many truly begin to wonder. It is
only when we can peer into the innocent eyes of the lives that we have created,
that we are shaping, that we are molding in hopes of becoming someone better
than ourselves, that we can see what affect our actions, and the lack there of,
have. And this, my dear readers, is the
sharpest of the two edged swords.
In trying to learn what it takes to be the
best dad that we can for our children, we will stumble… often. Though this
could leave us feeling as though we are attempting to crawl out of an abyss, it
should be a ray of hope. By watching our
children, listening to them, and loving them, we can learn so much about what
it takes to be the dad that they need.
Knowing that each child is different, means each relationship is
different, and also means that we must always be learning from our children. Learning what it means to be a dad, to them.
I AM A CRANIO DAD, I
am scared out of my mind, and you may think that this series is over, but there
is so much more to come.
Kase D. Beyond the Grip of Craniosynostosis: An Inside View of Life
Touched by the Congenital Skull Deformity. Jefferson: McFarland & Company, 2015. Print. (Purchase HERE)