Thursday, August 31, 2006

Fatherhood starts with YOU

The life of a parent is exciting, if not, totally nerve-racking. A man-child is born to a couple of people who, until that moment, assumed that they knew exactly where life was going to lead them. The spontaneity of life is a double-edged sword, as it were. Not only is life's unpredictability wildly attractive for this reason, but it is, also, its biggest downfall.
When a child is created by God, and lands into the hands of some young people, it is a time to celebrate, and revel in the moment. Pure innocence, sent directly from the hands of his or her Creator, life almost seems to start over, and a chance to improve the world has just been realized... once you can get past the grind.

You come home from a long day at the office, field, courthouse, job site, et cetera, and your expectant wife is not expectant, except for a half an hour to herself. In hasty fashion, a baby is handed to you, and you have to play, entertain, or at least maintain, this ball of emotions until she returns. Your dinner, which used to be prepared by the time of your return, has not even been schemed yet, and, when you finally... FINALLY, fall asleep, only to kicked, head-long, into the all-night cry fiesta.

On top of all this, you are the father of this... child. You feel exhausted, yet there is a urge of duty beating on your chest. Why do you get up with the child? Your wife, or in today's terms, your child's mother, has just spent all day with this person, with no adult conversation, profuse, and seemingly inane sobbing, having the kid drain precious fluids from their chest, and little, if any, rest.

Being the man of the house, and the hour, we can handle shoving a bottle in a wet, empty mouth and rocking the poor innocence. But, while you were rocking your child, and putting yourself to sleep, more than them, did you happen to even think on why you should do what you are doing?

My friends, it goes beyond duty. "Having to" is a poor excuse to do something that has not only been deemed upon you, but this journey has been given to you, as a blessing. Fellow dads, I am the proud papa of a very cute 6 month-old boy. Seeing his smiling, toothless (except for his two news ones) grin when I come through the door makes my heart sing. Knowing the right area on the back, or the leg, to make him squeal in laughter is almost a forbidden secret, meant only for daddy.

There are also times, like the other night, where I ask myself, 'how insane am I to put up with this?' As I have mentioned, the boy, name of Isaac, is currently teething. Two have shown on the bottom, and two on the top are due to appear any day now. Problem: the cutting of teeth to infants is quite painful, or in my son's case, bloody murder. So, me, being SUPERDAD run to my son's aid as he his weeping his slightly bald head off.

I rocked him for 40 minutes. Then, in comes Mom to relieve Dad, and in ten minutes, he is silent. At this point, two questions may enter your mind: how did that make dad feel, and, why am I relaying this obnoxiously long anecdote to you folks?

To be honest, I felt horrible. I was sore from rocking him, tired because I wanted my pillow, and on top of that, it simply did not work for me. In a word, I had failed. (This is where I tie into the second burning question of what my point actually is).
When I sat on the bed, and listened to my wife move in, and put the kid out, I realized that I was missing the point entirely. I saw that that boy needs me, and he needed me then. He got to experience Mom and Dad working together to comfort him. He got to see the ultimate in engulfing emotional expressions: love.

Dads, and dads-in-waiting, we have two functions when it comes to children, one practical, one emotional: we are to train the child (boys for the most part), and to love them, too. I have such a hard time understanding a situation where a young man will get his satisfaction with his girl, yet, when the pregnancy test says' when's Father's Day?', the man bolts. Some people see the female as their personal playground, but when the wind blows, they are off again.

Do they not see the opportunity that they are missing? Can they not see that the point in manhood is to begat a new generation, and the point in fatherhood is to train said generation to be men? There is a reason that God designed sex to be between man and wife, and that is so a child being sprouted from the family unit can have the love and discipline it needs. For a dad to leave, to shred the family is to kill the child before they can develop, ergo their decisions in life are messed up from the start.

Boys will look at Dad and see how a real man is to act. A girl sees Dad, and sees an example of the kind of man out there to pick for her spouse. To violate that by being abusive, or simply, flat-out leaving, is to doom that child to a life they do not deserve.

My heart truly aches for the next generation. Babies are being born into loveless, hopeless families, or are simply treated like garbage and like they do not deserve the right to breathe the same air that I am. I love my son. I can not see how a son can be hated, for any reason, regardless of the people they frequent on the Dr. Phil show. I have two lots in life, aside from glorifying God: to love my wife totally and solely, and to teach my son to do the same when he marries. If I up, and left my wife, Isaac would never know what a good husband or father would look like.

Now, we do have laws in place; laws that protect the mother, financially. Sadly, the elected government has no ability to order a father to be a dad. A father has a seed: a dad has a seed, and an inspiration to be a dad. I do not believe for a second that we come from apes, but, I do think that even the animals have a better concept of parenting than most humans. America is free, is it not? How come that kid has to be handcuffed to a life it does not merit?

Let me point out, I am not speaking necessarily about divorcees. My parents were divorced, and my dad was as good of a dad as one could be for a divorcee. I am speaking of those labeled 'deadbeat dads' and the like. Likewise, I have had friends who copulated outside of marriage, and ended up kicking out the dad, either due to abuse, or he was just a hopeless case.

Here is what it comes to: I have really wide feet. Now, just because I was blessed with huge feet, I do not have a license to grind people's toes, at random, into the pavement. In the same light, just because God gave men the right 'equipment', it does not mean we can sling it in any direction we please. And what else? If you trust in the Word, as I do, God made the man responsible for the family. He is not greater than the wife, but if the family falls, it is his head that gets rolled. A broken family is still a family, and he is still responsible for it.

Dads, if you get someone pregnant, a wife or girlfriend, please sit, and consider the tremendous repercussions that will ring out, like ripples on the water. The life of the mother has just become more difficult, the life of the child has become 100 times more difficult, and you are now under the gun of God.
Sink or swim, fellas...

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