22 March 2011

Advice to a young father.

From another website.  A young husband whose wife will soon deliver their first child asked us old hands for advice on being a father.  Here is my response:

Accept that life as you know is about to end. You are entering into life as you don't know it, where the rules and standards are constantly shifting. What worked yesterday will not work tomorrow.

Do not try to hold onto your old life: let it go. Do not look back and reminisce about poker and bar nights with the boys. Do not think about any of the things you used to before the children came along. Some may stay in your life. You may have to set some of them aside. The things you can hold onto are a gift. Think of them as such, and not as a right to which you are entitled. From here on in, you are entitled to nothing. Your child now comes first, last and always, their needs will now outweigh your wants. Do not hold that against them.

Enjoy the little moments. They do not last. Endure the tough moments. They also do not last. Don't torture your friends with homemade movies and videos of your little prodigy. Do record their voice as they grow. Keep a book of the things they say and do. You will want to remember them as time goes by.

Do not sweat about what you can and cannot give them. In the end, there is only one thing you can truly give your children: A good example. Prepare yourself to set the best one you can. Don't worry if you make a mistake or fail. Part of setting a good example will be to show them how to deal with mistakes and failure. If you can give them a good example, though you give them nothing else, you will have given your child everything they will need in life. If you fail to give them a good example, though you give them everything else under the sun, you will have given them nothing.

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