Finding yourself as a father
My life, like yours I’m sure, has had twists and turns, ups and downs. There are days when I am 10-feet tall and bulletproof and other days when I’ve wondered if my life has meant anything. I know I’ve been careless, mean spirited and ignorant. At the same time, I also know I’ve been loving, present and strong. The truth of the matter is I hadn’t found myself. Not to worry, more on that in a bit.
While some men battle to find themselves as a person, even more men struggle to find themselves as a father. Being a father is a big task. Some men are up to it and others just are not. But you are different and I know this because you’re still reading. Either you’re looking for some validation that you’re doing the right thing as a dad or you’re seeking yourself as a parent. There are lots of ways to find yourself as a dad. But I can guarantee there are places you won’t find yourself as a father.
You will not find yourself as a father at the office at 8 pm.
You will not find yourself as a father at the bottom of a bottle of Jack.
You will not find yourself as a father endlessly scrolling through your phone.
These self-destructive behaviours won’t serve to better you as a person, let alone as a parent. Fatherhood is a role you step up and take. You have to give up playing your Xbox and spending all weekend watching sports to do the things that need to be done. You have to grow up yourself in order to help your children grow up. Fathers are providers, protectors and teachers. Don’t shy away from this because “you haven’t found yourself as a dad.” When you fail to show up as a dad, it doesn’t hurt you, it hurts your kids.
You will not find yourself as a father until you realize fatherhood isn’t about you.
You can find yourself as a father at 3 am with a crying newborn.
You can find yourself as a father at a tea party with unicorns.
You can find yourself as a father letting go of your son’s bike.
You can find yourself as a father when you understand it’s about the love you give away.
When you embrace that you are a father, you’ll find joy in it. Being a parent brings about a perspective in life you never knew existed. You will look forward to dance practice, choir and soccer games. (OK, not ALL the time; you’re not a robot after all.) But you’ll find that Xbox ranking you once had is nothing compared to a daughter who swam to the deep end of the pool. Life will have more meaning and fulfillment. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.
When you find yourself as a father, does it complete your life? It’s a wonderful feeling to know you can rely on yourself as a person and as a parent. But that’s not enough. Why? You don’t feel complete. Something is still missing.
Remember I never found myself? That’s because I never had to find myself as a person or as a father. The simple truth is that I found God. When I let go of my sins, burdens, and insecurities God showed me who He wanted me to be. And it is better than anything I could have done on my own. My life is complete in Him. My desire to be a good father and husband begins with understanding my heavenly Father’s love for me. This does not mean that my life is easy; that I always do the right thing as a parent and that my son is perfect. It means I understand and accept the love, grace and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. This unconditional love is the foundation of who I am and it strengthens me to be a good man, husband and father.
Quit looking inward to find yourself as a man and as a parent. Look outward and see that you must step up and grasp your role as a father because your children need you.
This is not about you finding yourself as a father; it’s about your children discovering that they have you.
Andy Murphy runs the website The Secure Dad. This article was republished with permission.