When you transition from being an expectant dad to becoming a parent, you realise that you now have a family to look out and provide for. Often as young men the greatest responsibility we have carried before this momentous occasion was making sure we got to work on time for our job.
‘Responsibility’ can be like a childhood fear of a monster lurking in a dark room, you don’t really know how big it is or how dangerous because you can’t really see it . What will it take to be a father, and will I be a good one? These are just some of the question’s men ask themselves, when they first step into this exciting role.
Self-doubt is common at times of growth and change and can be a healthy thing when understood. Self-doubt alerts us to the fact that we may need to acquire some different skills to succeed in our new role properly. As each new season arrives in our life we as fathers need to be open to learning new things, new ways of communicating, new ways of doing things. The good thing about this learning curve is that it doesn’t need to happen overnight, we as men have time to change into the person we will need to be in later years.
I sometimes think about the famous explorers in history who travelled to places that were totally unknown previously in western society. They did what they could to prepare for the journey ahead by collecting food stores that would last, maps and a compass to give some direction, equipment for climbing, tools so they could fashion things along the way. They absorbed as much information as they could about what was known about the region they were travelling into and what potential dangers they would face.
When the explorers had done all, they could think of to prepare, they set out on what would become a great adventure. Did they forget anything? Probably! Would they have done anything differently or plotted a different or more direct course if they had their time again and could start over? Almost certainly! Being one degree off course may not sound like much, but if you are travelling around the world you could miss the mark by a long way.
Life is not full of certainty, in it we as men must be prepared to take risks and step out into the unknown, and that is where we grow and develop. It takes a certain degree of bravery to face the unknown, and we as fathers will need to draw upon all our skills and wisdom to accomplish the great adventure of raising a child.
One of the thoughts that can be considered in this situation is the fact that billions of men have been fathers before you over history, and each of them grew into their role over time as you will. You don’t need to be a perfect dad by next week all you need to do is be willing to make small corrections in your life when it becomes apparent they are needed. What the great explorers did and what we need to do as men when we step into the responsibility of fatherhood is to prepare as best, we can, learn as much as we can, and be willing to make adjustments in our direction when we get off course.
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