Updated: Jul 30, 2019
On this Father’s Day 2019, I feel inspired to share some thoughts on fatherhood and my hopes to evolve into being a better father.
I’m a dad to two beautiful young girls who have transformed my life and bring me so much joy every day, that there’s no sacrifice so great I won’t make for them. Yet, I realize that in my quest to provide them with a good life, I had been neglecting critical callings of what makes a good father.
This self-realization, although, it had began a little more than year ago, became so clear recently, when a dear friend shared a clip of a song “Steady Love” (which in my opinion is a truly inspiring ode to all men striving to love and respect their women, keeping it 100*). As I watched the video, I was somehow reminded that my girls are watching me everyday and forming their concept of how a man should treat a woman based on my actions and words. Now that’s humbling and sobering, especially if they see me treating me their mother and other women poorly.
I also realized at that moment that my little girls need “steady love” from their father, and it is something I need to work at. Instantly, I was flooded with many questions such as: what could I do to be a steady dad, instead of only being emotionally present 50-60% of the time? That’s the moment I began to fully internalize the power of quality time and meaningful relationship building with my children.
With the pressures of career and trying to build a “dream life” for for them, I was losing track of what mattered most: being a steady father. For me, steady fatherhood at this stage of my life means:
Being there in the moment.
Listening, and yes without interruptions & distractions (e.g. being on my phone).
Giving each daughter my undivided attention when she is talking to me as if she were the only person in the world.
Sharing their experiences, which includes tea parties and fake nail sessions, slime making and whatever silly things kids do these days.
Being real and vulnerable.
Saying I’m sorry when I make mistakes.
Protecting and comforting them.
Being their spiritual guide.
So far, I’m only getting a C grade at this! But at least, I know now what I need to do differently to improve.
Let me digress for a moment, because one awakening spark wasn’t enough. I generally find inspiration and creativity through music and reading. So I was listening to another track called Prayer For Humanity on the same album that featured Steady Love, and I felt a call to action in this "prayer." The song poignantly reminded me that all children need a loving father, even a simple father figure, because true fathers don’t need to be biological, especially in a world where manhood and fatherhood is so distorted by abuse, oppression, chauvinism, and violence. And this is where I pause to say “Thank You, India.Arie” for penning these inspiring songs**
Now back to my thoughts. On this Father’s Day, I want be the steady dad my girls need, like my own dad, whom I admired so much and aspired to be, but was gone too soon to even see his grandchildren born. More than that, I want to reflect how much God the Father loves us no matter what, through the ups and down of life (and that he is not the kind of angry, oppressive, authoritarian God that many erroneously interpret). "And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow--not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love."***
My girls don’t need me to be a superhero or some magical figure from a fairy tale. If I can love them unconditionally with every fiber in me, then I’m on already the right journey. We’ve all heard that children need consistency and reinforcement. That's why a steady dose of love is the missing ingredient to steady fatherhood, i.e. a dad who is consistent in love, action and words. And I do feel the need to say that steadfastness in love does not mean that I spoil my girls like today's characters in a reality tv show, but rather that I teach and guide them to become altruistic women of distinction, transformational leaders and positive forces for good, no matter what dreams or callings they pursue.
Thus, in 2019, my wish for Father’s Day is for my girls to look back 10 years at this blog and say “you did it dad - you were a steady dad!”
I dedicate this to:
-My dad and all dads, grand-dads, god-fathers, uncles who do their very best to be a positive role model daily.
-All single moms raising children, especially boys who will become fathers.
-True rare friends who inspire us to be authentic. I’m grateful and I love you!
-Saving the best for last, the mother of my children: you gave me the greatest gifts in the world! I thank and love you for them!
Footnotes & Disclaimers: * Urban terminology for being authentic.
** I am not being compensated to advertise for India.Arie. I simply love her work, admire and respect her as artist. *** From the Bible, Romans 8:38 NLT