Monday, January 11, 2010

Two for the Price of One


        I reflect today upon a life changing event; the birth of my son. His birth to me, as perhaps many a father, was one of excitement as I had “my boy”, and was now able to pass on the wisdom I gained through skinned knees, broken hearts, and life’s sucker punches. With enough training, and this wisdom, as well as lessons in courage, strength, and honor, I may be able to make this boy a man. My son is six today and I started planning his ascension through life long before his arrival.


        I fantasized him as becoming a cross of G.I. Joe, all the Marvel Super Heroes combined, a Heisman trophy winning athlete, and wise as Einstein, smooth as the leading men of Hollywood, and humble at heart. I had my work cut out for me. All these qualities to make the perfect son, one I and others would revere and be proud of. Who was this tall order for; me, or him? Having not even given him a chance to become, to create an identity of his own to embellish, to embrace his “self”; who was I, even as a father to place this burden upon either of us?

        His birthday was mine as well.

       I realized upon his arrival and the many days since, that too much time can be spent on becoming as opposed to being. My son has taught me many times in his short life some of the greatest lessons; lessons of presence, honesty, letting go, releasing emotion, and expressing it as well. I was born into a new way of thinking the day my son arrived. My life was mine, his is his, and we walk this road together. I can best coax out of him what I wish to see in him, through my example.

        Not only am I able to teach him in a “do as I say and not as I do” method, but it is that approach that I too get a chance to take a personal inventory of where I need restoration. It is the confused eyes cast up at me when I do not practice what I preach that allow me to realign, and also practice the art of making amends, humility, and accountability. Patience also comes to mind frequently. Indirectly he teaches me a great deal.

        I see now that I could care less about what “activities” my son participates in. What a man does is not who he is. Should he choose sports, great! Should he choose art, fabulous! Should he become academic, I am still proud. I will support any noble endeavor he wishes to steep himself in. Love does not need to be justified with excellence achieved in an activity. He has mine regardless and he should never feel he must achieve certain benchmarks to “deserve” it.

        What my focus must be as father is the principles a man must fill himself with to become prosperous and successful in life’s journey. I will leave the sports up to coaches, but reinforce camaraderie, teamwork, and goal setting. (I can still toss the ball in the backyard though.) In finding companionship and love, I will try to instill in him the things that make us worthy of another’s affections such as respect, compassion, and honesty. In business and work, I will share with him the weight of integrity, honor, and character. In sharing this with him, I too have to pay attention; I go back to school with him.

        I look to my son not as a second chance. I see him not as my student per se. I see him as an individual I can teach a lot to as much as learn from. I have learned a lot about life from living through the perspective and wonder of a child. He will mirror back that which he sees in the men in his life. I can pass on what was taught to me by my fathers. I can also fill in the gaps.

        Every birthday my son has, I get one too. I can celebrate who I became as a result of his arrival, and in turn, I think that awakening makes me a better father. Fathering a son is give and take. He learns how to be a man by the men that love him and how they show that love. As a father I get the gift of another chance of not making my son what I wish I was, but to experience the joys of youth all over again, just with better technology.

        Happy birthday to my son, my raison d’être, and in the back of my mind, I celebrate my second "birthday" as well.


7 comments:

UPLIFT ANTIDOTE said...

Hey! You know, my Father was not present in my life. He lived on the other side of the globe. So to hear you speak of the importance of being a Father leaves me with one thought - he is a very very lucky boy. :)

I can relate so much to the questions that arise in your mind about what to teach and what not to teach. Raising my daughter I faced the same questions. In the end, I told her, "Hey! I'm just human. I'm flawed. You must listen to your own inner wisdom."

Parenthood is very much a journey and if you can travel together in honesty and good intentions, then that to me, is the main thing.

Kahlil Gibran says that we are the bows that shoot forth arrows into the future. The arrows are our children. xxx

TirzahLaughs said...

Parenting is the job with the most work and the least pay.

It's hard to find the balance between leading and pushing. My own father was there but not there. I was a girl therefore rather pointless in his mindset but he did love me. He just didn't know what to do with me.

LOL.

Enjoy your son, they grow up fast.

ALeks said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!
Very wise,warm and beautiful writing,hope you can enjoy each other for a long,long time,cheers!
Greetings, Aleksandra :O)

Aine Butler-Smith said...

Beautiful tribute from father to son. I learned early on that my daughters were my responsibility but not my possessions to project onto - they needed the space and freedom to be who they needed to be. But even though they are grown and very much their own women now, I still hold the responsibility in my heart to always cheer them on and let them know that at least one person in the world will always love them unconditionally.

Aine
theevolvingspirit.blogspot.com

Coffee With Marty said...

I just love the way you described that. You remind me of my own father, and trust me, that is the best gift a dad can give his son. Love. Care. Compassion. It doesn't matter what kind of car he drives, or how embarrassing of a soccer dad he was; all that a son will remember is a father's support and love. (We tend to block out the embarrassing moments) So, I give you kudos for being a friend to that little boy. Great post as always. SO glad I bumped into you. :)

Healing Morning said...

Marty (Coffee w/ Marty) just introduced me to your blog and I was warmed to read your thoughts about your child. I was one of those who didn't have the blessing of an active, present father. Instead, I was raised by a wonderful mother who worked very diligently to raise the three of us, my siblings and I, in a similar manner to your approach. We knew that we were loved, we were allowed to choose our own paths, and we were not forced to become anyone else's dream than our own. This is, I believe, one of the richest gifts a parent can bestow upon their child. I look forward to reading more of your work.

~ Dawn

lena said...

I have never known such a true love of a father. You both are lucky to have each other, you and your son. This post is such a warm, wonderful, touching tribute to your father-son relationship.

I felt nice reading it.