It’s not just the sweet, the cute, and the innocent things children do that will take your breath away. It’s also the bruised noggins, the busted lips, broken bones, ear piercing tantrums, randomly thrown toys, first time outs, first punishments, late night explosive diarrhea and projectile vomiting. It’s getting into bed at 1am only to be up at 4am with a screaming newborn who is hungry enough to eat a horse every few hours. It’s getting your child in an alligator hold to get them to take medicine so you don’t have puke and snot everywhere on you. Sound appealing yet?
Probably not. But that’s okay. But it is important to understand one thing: Parenting is not always appealing. It’s not always easy, it’s not always fun, and it’s not always rewarding. It is tiring, it is stressing, it is frustrating. Being a good dad is not about being happy, being perfect, and being the best friend your child can ever have. It’s about being there. Being there through the bad as well as the good. Being there for the rough as well as the smooth sailing. No matter how it’s going, it’s all about being there.
It pains me to listen to half of the garbage that comes across the radio these days. Listening to the messed up view of what being a real man is. It almost makes me sick. Sure you can stick through the hard times, like prison, getting shot, wrecking your car, overdosing on drugs, or what the hell ever. But on the other side of it all is a woman who is suffering through a painful, 15 hour labor, giving birth to a child that you will turn your back to, will never know you, and will never have a father that they deserve. How much of a real man is that being?
I just have to wonder what we are letting the world perceive as the definition of being “real”. This is something that I ponder quite often. As we stand up and try to change the face of fatherhood, what are we doing to stand up against the things that are destroying what we strive for? Do people really just have that big of a misconception of what being a real man is?
This, the parenting, the discipline, the doctoring, the late nights, the early mornings, this is as real as it gets. This is what we live for. Day in, day out, week after year, fast year after fast year. Without second thought we go through the worst as well as the best because it is who we are. It is our calling as dads to be there, regardless of what is going on. It’s not going to be easy, it’s not going to be perfect, and it’s not going to be what we think it will. In parenting, if everything is going the way you want it to, then something is going majorly wrong.
That’s just the way I see it. Maybe it’s because I am here, I am willing to put up with the crap, and I am blessed even when things aren’t going so swell. It is my hope that this logic becomes infectious this year. That the definition of what a real man is will change in the minds of those who are most influential, most heard, most revered by popular culture. It’s just my thought that they could just fuel the revolution in ways that we cannot. But the fight does begin with us. And it is time to do something about it.