Even though there are days when I find myself complaining, struggling or exhausted, I know that I have done my best to raise a fine young man.
At 16 weeks into my first pregnancy, I found myself in the waiting room of our local medical center waiting anxiously for my ultrasound. The important one–the one that would tell me the news I so badly wanted to hear: whether my tiny baby bump was a boy or a girl. As I lay on the exam table with the cold wand moving back and forth over my belly, I quietly prayed for a girl; ponytails and pink dresses, ballet lessons and Barbie dolls–all the things I knew about so well from my experience
I knew I had what it took to be a good mother to a little girl. The test seemed to last much longer than I expected. After taking the usual measurements, the technician reported that the study was complete and that my bundle of joy was a boy. I could feel my eyes fill up with tears. I felt completely unequipped. I knew nothing about boys and did not have the slightest idea about how to raise one. Of course, I bought tiny blue clothes and decorated his room with dinosaurs, but inside I was scared. I took the responsibility seriously; not only raising a little boy but helping him grow up to be a good man.
While the early years were busy and filled with sports, scouts and a whirlwind of activities, it occurred to me that my little man was quickly growing up. Driving a car, making decisions, planning for college. It was then that I was reminded that if it was my hope for him to grow into a considerate responsible and kind adult it was my responsibility to teach him. I had not expected to parent on my own. I had pictured a partner by my side to offer those father-son chats and manly lessons imparted from one generation to the next. Here are a few of the lessons I did my best to teach my son.
Be a man of your word: If you tell someone you will be there, make sure you are. Do your best to be a man who does what he says he is going to do.
Be present: Know that above all your presence is the most important thing you can offer. As a husband, father or friend, knowing that you showed up both physically and emotionally for those you love and care about truly matters.
Support the causes you believe in: Volunteer and help those less fortunate than you, and stand proud of who you are and what you believe in.
Step up: Times will be challenging in all facets of life; your work will present challenges as will your relationships. Be a bigger man and step up in those difficult situations. Your colleagues will see you as a leader, and your wife will know you are a man she can rely upon.
Be open: Share your feelings, communicate, and be there for others when they need you.
Your wealth is more than the bills in your wallet. Your value is more than your profession. The world is a better place because you are in it. Do good work, do good deeds, care for others both humans and animals, and love our beautiful planet.
I know the list is long; being a good man takes effort and raising a good man isn’t easy. I look at it this way, a good man will affect our world in great ways for generations to come. By doing good work, being a cherished husband and father, you will affect the lives of many. So even though there are days when I find myself complaining, struggling or exhausted I know that I have done my best to raise a fine young man. I know I have made mistakes, but I have done my best to make sure he knows he is loved every day. Now the rest is up to him.
Photo: Flickr/ sean dreilinger