CHICAGO, IL -Thirty
four years ago I became a dad – the most exciting, proud and
frightening time of my life. My dad always said, “Any man can
become a father. It takes a real man to be dad.”
this fathers day, I'd like to reflect on my experiences, beliefs and
how I got to where I'm at today. While the responsibilities of being
a dad can vary, the basics are the same for most all of us.
the traditional sense, we share with our “significant other,”
spouse or partner the responsibility of caring for, feeding, housing
and most of all guiding our children to be the best they can be.
course, rearing a child is not always a piece of cake. Kids grow. And
while they grow, our job is to teach them about life. They learn to
roll over, crawl, walk and then they to speak. While the excitement
of them speaking is a milestone to be celebrated, we will experience
those cringe worthy moments when they learn not so great words as
their little minds are a sponge and kids will repeat what they hear,
good and bad.
a dad, you also get to worry. Yes, worry – about making sure there
is enough of all sorts of things. Enough support to care for, feed
and clothe them. Love is important if not the most important thing as
each of us has a need to be loved by not just one but both parents,
even if the parents cease to be a couple. Our children need this so
that they can form their own personalities. They will convey this
trait to you mostly starting around the age of two. In my experience,
this continues forever.
first words? Usually, “NO!!!” I would guess this because we are
always telling that to them.
later, my son, my child number two was born and he arrived quickly
after very short labor. It was so short I almost missed his arrival.
Both my children were born at home and yes it was planned that way.
My wife was a nurse. I was a volunteer first responder. Our doctor
from my home town specialized in home births. The inset photo says it
all, taken less than a half hour after my son arrived.
there are two. Yes twice the responsibility and worry. Life moves
pretty fast. My family of three just grew to four and our small west
suburban home just became a bit too small for out growing kids.
for a change – Mom and Dad faced decision time. Job changes and a
new house in a new much smaller town. I've been here 30 years now a
true definition of putting down roots. In fact, I never imagined
trees I planted three decades ago would be as big as they are today.
have changed in the last 30 years. 24 years ago, Mom passed leaving
me with an eight and ten-year-old to rear on my own. Suddenly, then I
became both mom and dad. It was a BIG, HUGE responsibility. if it
wasn’t for my family and friends, it would have been much more
I made another change – becoming self employed. It blessed me with
the ability to be flexible and be there for school programs and
homework while eking out a living, pursuing three different jobs and
giving them children love and support they needed while they
developed into teenagers and young adults.
rearing teenagers was hard – doing it as a single parent can be
terrifying, especially a dad raising a daughter through puberty. I
did survive it all and guided both through high school and eventually
am proud of my kids! Both have settled into careers of their
choosing. My daughter has become a very talented graphic designer and
is also a very good photographer. My son has followed in my footsteps
and is in the fire service. He serves on two fire departments as a
firefighter / paramedic and holds the rank of Lieutenant at one of
those departments. He is also a fire investigator, rescue diver and
continues to take training courses to further his career.
if you were to rate a dad, the success of his children could be an
indication that he did his job well. But, you knew that was coming.
It doesn’t end when they move out and onward. I recollect my dad.
Even though he has been gone over 20 years, he was a success as
If you set a good example, things will all fall into
place. Changes will continue to develop. For example, my daughter is
in the process of relocating to the Southwest. And while it will give
me an excuse to travel and visit, not having her close will leave a
hole in my life back where I will be. Since I am single and living
alone, I could always count on seeing my daughter and talking with
her sometimes multiple times a day.
old saying is true. “A daughter is a daughter for the rest of her
life, but a son is a son till he takes a wife.” Think on that for a
to all of the dad’s out there, be an example to your children. Show
them you are much more than a father. Be a Dad!!!