Turning the big 4-0 was a little weird. I have to admit I never imagined being 40 years old. What life would be like at this age never crossed my mind. And things are not much different than they’ve always been. However, I’ve done one thing in 40 years that I never could have imagined: I became a father of three.
Of all the experiences that have changed me, being a father has changed me most. I “look” totally different than I did before marriage and fatherhood. Friends who knew me before will be the first to say it: “You are not the same guy.” But it’s not a bad thing. Fatherhood can make us better—much better. Here’s how.
- My perspective has gone from a “me” perspective to a “we” perspective.
- I’m more patient. This is a daily battle, but I’m way more patient.
- I don’t take as many risks. A failed risk has bigger consequences after fatherhood.
- I don’t give up. You have no choice but to overcome challenges for your family.
- I honor my mother and father more. My appreciation for my parents has grown tremendously.
- I watch less TV. ESPN or time with my kids? There is one obvious choice.
- I think about my health more. I need to be as healthy as I can for my kids’ sake.
- I pray more than ever. This is no longer a last resort but a priority.
- I plan for the future. Measure twice, cut once is my new mantra here.
- I’ve learned to respond instead of reacting. In summary, I think more before speaking.
- I slow down and enjoy the moment. All parents ask, “Where did the time go?”
- I make a big deal out of my kids’ birthdays. Celebrating their lives is something to make a big to-do about.
- I make a big deal out of little things. Celebrating the “clean plate club” is also a big to-do.
- I act like a kid. Interacting and engaging with my kids on their level is fun for me, too!
- I’m tougher. We learn to be strong(er) when our kids are at their weakest.
- I eat less junk food. We learn to practice what we preach for our kids’ benefit.
- I talk less junk. More is caught than taught, and we don’t want kids talking junk.
- I read more. Dads are family leaders. And great leaders are readers.
- I listen better. Still a work in progress, but…what did you say?
- I look at life differently. The privilege and responsibility of fatherhood will do that to you.
- I’m cleaner. Having a sick kid is no fun, therefore hand washing and sanitizing are important.
- I’ve become more affectionate. I’m the hugging, kissing, high-fiving, wrestling, and fist-bumping dad!
- I spend money more wisely. Finances can devastate or bless a family.
- I’ve learned to accept losing. Somehow my kids are able to pin me and beat me in basketball regularly.
- I’ve re-learned lessons I had long forgotten. The show “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” is really humbling. Enough said.
- I’m more humble. Having things happen that are out of my control or influence will humble the best of us.
- I’m more sensitive. You learn to see and feel what your kids are going through.
- I’m more family-oriented. Most of what I do is now viewed and considered through the lens of family.
- I have a greater love for kids. I love to teach, coach, and act silly with all kids.
- I am more driven. My success impacts my kids’ lives in a major way and that drives me.
- I am more intentional. I no longer do things haphazardly, but intentionally.
- I am more committed to marriage. If our marriage fails, the impact on our kids could be catastrophic.
- I am more thankful. To be a father is a blessing to be cherished.
- I’m more sure of my purpose. A big part of my purpose is to be the best dad I can be for my three kids.
- I value sleep more. Do I need to say anything more than that? New dads can relate.
- I value friendship more. It’s great to share my fatherhood experiences with other dads.
- I’m better at fixing things. Fixing things has never been my strength, but you learn.
- I’m a better driver. I have very important “cargo” with me.
- I’m a better communicator. I speak 5-year-old, 9-year-old, and 14-year-old as well as wife.
- I’m a better man. Overall, the daily experience of fatherhood has made me one. And this year, my 40th, I am truly grateful to be called “Dad.”
Sound off: How has fatherhood made you better?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is one way you think I can improve as a dad?”