I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a dad.Not in general, but to me.
Being a parent to one or many kids is no easy feat.
So, let’s take away the nappy changes, late feeds and sick children and talk about what it means to be a dad for me. Those things are meant to be the norm in our day and age, fathers should be more proactive when it comes to their children. Long gone are the days when dads would go to work, come home, sit and wait for their dinner whilst mum did everything.
Let me be honest about one thing, I’ve never felt fear like this in my life. There’s this niggling thing at the back of my head that wants to wrap my kids in bubble wrap so that nothing can happen to them, smother them and keep them in-doors so that they will never get emotionally hurt.
However, I have to hold back and let them live their lives, because without those scars and bruises they will never develop. I see danger around every corner, I look at everything twice and any activity that involves a fraction of danger, even though I’ve done them myself as a child, I don’t want them to do it.
I have to refrain myself from saying no, I make myself look back and think if I would have done it and would I do it now had I not the responsibility.
This is the biggest and scariest adventure of my life and I’m enjoying every minute of it.
From the moment they are born, things have changed, for the better.
There is nothing in the world I’d exchange being a dad for.
I finally understand when my dad said that richness does not come from wealth but from your children and how you raise them, the values you teach them and the love they reciprocate.
I want to do for them what couldn’t be done for me.
My dad had to leave when I was quite young and for many different reasons. I didn’t get to see much of him. He has always been there when I needed him but I missed his presence and the many things I should have done with him.
In a way, it’s something I’m trying to make up for with my children. With the limited time I do have, I try to do things with them, but it never feels enough and time just slips away. I am trying to build memories, because as I grow older and life gets in their way, when they think of me, they will have memories of things we’ve done and not about things I’ve bought.
Which, for the little time I’ve had with him, it’s what I have with my father. The trips to the office, trying to teach me about networking, the lunches (just the two of us), going for a drive and going to the beach. And we still do some of those things when I see him.
I don’t remember the colour shoes or brands that were bought for me, only what we did.
This, to me, is part of being a dad, building a bond that they can look back on with fondness. So, when the weather is nice in this mad country, I try to take them for a walk or to the park. We go for meals, it’s not the most pleasant experience with five children, but we still do it.
Confidence in themselves is another thing I try to teach them.
It’s rich coming from someone who hasn’t got much him self. I’m shy, quiet and reserved, which can be misconstrued as rudeness, but it’s something I’m working on because I want my children to believe that they can be whatever they want and to achieve their goals, they need to be confident in themselves. It’s something my dad has in abundance, but I don’t resent it, I like who I am.
My lack of confidence comes from my mother. She has these strong opinions about everything and you can’t contradict them. As I grew up I realised that a lot of them were either wrong or very very old fashioned. For example: one of my children suffers from nose bleeds and she quickly jumped to the conclusion that it had to be polips, even after we looked it up and spoke to the doctor, she still went on about it. It took me a couple of weeks to convince her otherwise.
I started out having these opinions but on many occasions I got shut down by my piers and realised that I had to know what I was talking about before offering my two pence. That’s when I became silent and listened, I researched and decided that before I speak I have to have my facts right. If I don’t know, I am more than happy not to say anything, instead of making something up.
They are learning that being alone doesn’t mean that they are lonely, only that they want ‘me time’, which can be a good thing because they learn to listen to their thought and form ideas of their own.
They are making up their own opinions on their beliefs, society and religion. We encourage them to speak but try to reserve any strong opinion that we have formed, either through nurture or experience.
We don’t speak much about religion because we want them to form their own opinion and choose their own path. I will support them regardless, even if it goes against every fibre of my being.
Education is very important to me, I want them to go to university and do something meaningful with their lives. However, not everyone is cut out for it, some people are better with their hands and I have to accept that maybe that could be one of my children, if not all.
I graduated six years ago to show them that it didn’t matter how old you are, there is always time to make a change and to make something of your life.
Am I doing the right thing?
I don’t know!
Now you can see why I’m afraid?
What if I fail in these things?
I can only try my best I guess.
They are not things that I have expressed many times in the open, but now it’s out there for the world to see.
I want my children to be happy, proud of their parents and of themselves and that is my main objective as a father.