It is the single most important club that I will ever be a member of. It is a club whose responsibilities are endless, the hours are long, tears are guaranteed, and yet the blessings it brings are priceless. There is nothing in the world like being a father. Nothing. Some see it as something that defines your life, I believe that it is something that brings out the best of who you are. Stay with me and I will explain what I mean by that.
I am a teacher.
I have never been shy about sharing my knowledge with others. I have taught kids to speak Spanish, I have tutored others in Math, I have introduced people to tinkering with their gadgets, I taught song-writing and music-making to a few. I can go on forever about the things I have been lucky to learn and have happily shared with others. Being around me will lead you to learn something, I can't seem to keep my mouth closed for more than a few seconds; whether it is something useful or something you care about it another story.
Being a father has allowed me the opportunity to take everything I know, from my beliefs in a higher power to what the color bands in a resistor mean, and pass it on to the next generation. It makes me feel like a Fortune 500 CEO prepping my successor, teaching my daughter all the tricks of the trade. I get to show you everything that I love and help you discover what will make the wheels in your brain spin out of control. I have found discovery and knowledge to be one of my guilty pleasures and I hope that you can share that love with me.
I am a friend.
I have been lucky throughout my life. I have found people with whom I have shared some great experiences with, people who would take a bullet for me as I would for them. That has become something that is rare to find these days; those 3475 "friends" online just take away from the true meaning of the word. The people who call me a friend will tell you that I am always there for them. I am a ear to listen to their troubles, a mind that will give advice and direction when needed or a shoulder they can lean on.
Although I am your father first and foremost, I am also your friend. That distinction will sure become muddled as you become a teenager and things get more complicated. I want you to know from now that I will always be here for you. I am here to listen to you talk about school, how you enjoy playing with your American Girl doll, or whatever random Disney princess you are pretending to be this week. I will be there to cheer you on in your pursuits, to be the rock that supports you in your every desire and also that belt in case you need to get back on track.
I am a father.
Those words have a certain seriousness to them. I can understand what Obama must have felt the first time he said "I am the President of the United States". It is that first time you say it out loud when it starts to sink in just how important your position is. Raising a child is like leading a country, I have to make some tough choices at times; unpopular decisions. I have to make sure that I don't just think about the next few years when you will be under my care but rather help build the foundation that will guide you when I am no longer sitting in that chair and you have moved on.
Every moment that I spend with you in my life feels monumental. It is as if God has given me the opportunity to play this big role in a movie that is sure to be a Hollywood blockbuster. I worry every day about how I am doing in this role, not for my own sake, but because I know just how important the way I handle my role will be to your story which is yet to be written.