Matthew wants his son to be the best man possible. He knows that influencing who his son will be starts with knowing who Matthew wants to be for him.
This is something I began to think about even before my son was born, and it is something that comes to my mind every time I hold him in my arms. Every time I see the latest issue plaguing our Nation on the news each day it reminds me that it is my responsibility to shape what sort of man my son will grow up to become. Each smile he gives me reminds me that he is looking to me for unconditional love and support with each day that he grows older. As he grows older he will eventually start having to field the popular question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Thinking about that has brought me back to the question I began asking myself while he was still in the womb: “What do I want to be for my son?”
I want to be my son’s source of laughter and fun.
As Dads, we are often labeled ‘the fun parent’, because we come up with all of the goofy games that keep them entertained day after day. Our children’s laughter is like crack to a loving father. Ever since that first smile and his first laugh I’ve been hooked on it. I like to think I have a rather broad and well versed sense of humor, and that is something I hope I will be able to pass on to my son. It may only start with some tickling and a playful game of peek-a-boo at first, later graduating to funny faces and lame dad jokes, but as he grows older I want to be the person that can always make him laugh.
I want to be my son’s source of creativity and imagination.
I believe children should grow up with a vivid imagination that inspires them to want to create new things. From stories to pictures, or even music, I want to be the person that inspires my son to follow his inspirations and create something magnificent. Growing up I was always a fan of science fiction, comic books, and epic tales of fantasy. While I’m not exactly a successful artist or author myself, I like to think these things fostered an active imagination as I grew up. Whether it’s superheroes or space cowboys, I want to impart the same appreciation for the fictional to my son that I enjoyed as a kid.
I want to be a safe refuge for my son.
There are a lot of scary things in the world for a kid growing up these days. From issues of equality to bullying, being a kid can be pretty scary sometimes. I remember having to deal with some of these issues when I was a kid, and while my father was more of a stoic than a talker I always found strength in the kind of man he is. Even to this day, as an adult I know that if something truly worries me, that I can always go to my father for advice and refuge. I want my son to know he can always depend on me to be there for him no matter what this world throws his way.
I want to be a role model for the type of man he wants to be.
When I was growing up I had the benefit of having two very strong role models in my life: my father, and his father. When I was a kid I got to spend a lot of time at my grandfather’s house, playing with my other cousins and getting into general mischief. While my grandfather could be a strict disciplinarian at times when we got a little too rowdy, he also made plenty of time to spend with us when he could. As for my father, he worked a lot to provide for our family, and growing up I watched him work some rather undesirable jobs at times in order to ensure we had a rough over our heads and food on the table. While I may never be an important executive or a famous athlete, I want my son to see that I work hard to ensure our family has everything it needs. There may be some famous people who put forth a good example for young men to follow, but overall there is too much hero worship of undeserving celebrities by our children today. I want my son to know that real heroes wear uniforms and not jerseys.
I want to be selfless for my son.
In the days of LBB (Life Before Baby) I still had the chance to get out and explore new things from time to time. While a good deal of my time was devoted to being with my wife and being a good husband, I still got the chance every now and then to dabble in a new hobby or spend time with my guy friends and just do dumb guy stuff. This definitely changed once our son was born. While I still manage to find time here and there to tinker on my own projects, it’s mostly when he’s down for a nap or after bedtime. Otherwise, any other time during the day that I have on weekends or when I get home from work are dedicated to his needs. Whether it’s just spending time with him or helping my wife clean up around the house, taking care of my son is my number one priority. Getting him to sleep comes before I sleep. Getting him fed comes before I get to eat. Watching Little Einsteins or some Dr.Seuss movie comes before I can watch my shows. As he grows older I want my son to know that he will never have to compete for my time and affection.
At the end of the day the responsibility of what kind of man my son grows up to be will be a reflection of the kind of man I am. I want him to grow up to be funny, creative, kind, and generous then he needs to see those traits in his father if he is going to learn them himself.
Here’s the thing. Before I have even begun to mold my son into a better man, he has already done just that for me.
Photo: Flickr/Jan janoska