As a twenty-six-year-old brand new dad, I was working a second job to make ends meet. My wife walked into the hall where I was polishing floors, holding our screaming newborn at arm’s length. She shoved the baby into my arms, turned around, and disappeared without saying a word. When I got home she was nowhere to be found. I thought I’d find a note saying, “Goodbye. Gone to Australia. Never coming back.” Of course, she was home within a few minutes, but I can’t wait to teach my son about being a father so he isn’t quite so surprised when something like that happens to him!
This summer I get my wish as I’m slated to be a grandfather for the third time (pause for wild applause; thank you…). The first two children belong to our daughter, but this time it’s our son who gets to be a parent for the very first time. Fatherhood is not for sissies, and that first child will seriously rock your world; so what can an experienced dad say when his son is preparing to be a father? Here are 7 truths to teach your son about being a father.
1. The best gift you can give your children is to love their mother.
The best gift you can give your children is to love their mother.Nothing gives a child a better environment than a home where Dad loves Mom. Your relationship with your wife anchors this family. A baby doesn’t change this, a child makes it even more important. For single dads, this means anchoring your home in love and respect for everyone involved in your child’s life, and that means doing whatever you can to have a cordial relationship with your child’s mother.
2. This is the most important job you will ever have.
Fatherhood is huge in the “becoming a man” challenge.
3. Your child’s education begins now and you are responsible.
The question is not “if” you are going to teach at home, it is “what?” will you teach at home.
4. It’s not just moms who bond with their baby.
Hold your child; talk to your child; play with your child; hang out with your child. These first few months and years are critically important so don’t miss the opportunity.
5. Everything is different now.
But this is a good thing! Don’t make your baby fit the life you have, and don’t make your life fit your baby: build a new life around the idea of family.
6. Stay out of escalating debt.
Financial stress can tear a family apart. Stay ahead of this potential by staying ahead of debt. No luxury is worth the stress of debt. Live within your means and give your child the gift of stability.
You can plan all you like, but understand that this first child will most certainly surprise you. So learn to roll with it and avoid responding to every crisis with drama. Take a deep breath, hold your wife close, and move on.
Sound off: What are some lessons you wish someone would have taught you?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Why do you think I’m a good dad? What could I do better?”