Experienced parents know that our role is one big routine punctuated by moments of heart-filling joy — plus a few dashes of terror, confusion, heartbreak, and fatigue. Fathers share in this awesome responsibility called parenting, but sometimes we forget to be mindful of just how much fun we are having being a dad.
I love being a dad, and I love how being a dad has affected my outlook on the world.
Dads get a do-over when it comes to playing with cool stuff. And the stuff today is much cooler than when we were young. We get right on the floor and zoom around with their cars, build towers and then crash them down. And we can finally go all out and play with dolls and make-up-dress-up-dance-it-up without anyone questioning our sexuality. Yes — we get to play all over again.
We see the world through inquisitive eyes
When we share the world with our kids, they ask us questions. If we listen to what they are asking without trying to make it “right,” then we get to see the world as they see it. Their curiosity about life, culture, and the world around them helps us think about our reality in a whole new way. As we try to explain the real world to a child, through the simple act of describing things out loud, we come to learn just how confusing it can be sometimes. Some of the things that seem perfectly normal after four decades on earth sound downright crazy to someone new to this place. Pay attention, and we’re guaranteed to learn a few things.
We get to be the funniest guy in the world (for about a decade)
Maybe a little longer. Whether we go for slapstick, puns, or wicked-quick wit, young kids find us downright hilarious. They beg us to share our finely honed sense of G-rated dad-humor and PG rated potty humor with them all the time. Knock knock. Who’s there? Funniest guy in the world.
Life moves slower. Except when it’s moving faster
There is something really odd about the space-time continuum that falls apart with kids. Children know that 15 minutes is plenty of time to go out and play an entire game of something, and one week might as well be forever when waiting for a birthday. On the flip side, your child becomes 10 years old in the blink of an eye. Time is precious. Don’t waste one fast or slow minute.
Like some cosmic “I-told-you-so” passed along the generations, you learn about the sacrifices and choices your own dad made, and the things he is so proud of that he can’t wait to share. Grandpa has time and patience now, and oh-so-many stories. You get to watch from the sidelines as he passes along his own wisdom, his take on family traditions, and even his groan-inducing sense of humor that is as familiar to you as his favorite sweater.
Traditions & Values
I believe we don’t learn the real value of a tradition until we become the one to pass it down the line. Dads get to see our family rituals manifest in today’s generation, often with a new twist. We make choices about what is really important, what identifies us as a family, and what inspires us to support each other through thick and thin.
This is about a close to a superhero as I’ll ever be
I save the day. I keep monsters and villains from getting anywhere near my kid (they stay under the bed where they belong). I am a fearless warrior, saving my family from alien creatures invading our home (I kill spiders and restore calm). I stand for all that is good in the world and prevail over evil (I can breakup a schoolyard dispute with my mere presence). Yes, I am a superhero; the only thing I’m missing is a cape.
I’ll admit there are way more than seven reasons it’s great being a dad. Each day I get a laugh, a giggle, and an adventure, and I get to talk about nothing in particular with someone who does a pretty good imitation of me. Before kids, I was told that being a dad would make me feel all grown up. I have eagerly embraced the responsibility, but I love the way my child keeps me grounded in the magic, the possibilities, and the wonders of childhood. It’s a routine I wouldn’t change for anything.