Like it or not, when we become parents, we become role models. It doesn’t matter what our life looked like before – we have to change for the better.
Being a father to four daughters brings a wealth of responsibility. For one, I am the man they will judge all other men by. That’s a heavy weight: no matter how you dress it up. My principles matter. My character is just as important. How I hold myself as a man will affect them for the rest of their lives.
I understand that I am not perfect. My past is questionable, to say the least. I have been a spiteful drunk, mentally ill, and so self-absorbed I couldn’t see beyond my own nose. I have hurt people physically and emotionally. I have corrupted people and turned their lives upside down with alcohol and drugs. I have also taken responsibility for the damage I caused others and made amends where possible. So I could draw a line under the past and move forward with a new attitude and loving spirit in sobriety.
My past doesn’t define me. What is important is my life today, and my life has become about fatherhood and raising a family. I have all the experience I need on how not to live your life if you don’t want to destroy everything worthwhile. I also have the personal experience of how not to be the father that damages his children. As much as my past may be negative, it is all useful in respect of the situation I have found myself in now. I want better for my children.
I am not a big fan of the idea that men have to be more emotional. Hear me out before you label me as toxic and never visit my blog again. I live with five females. What I know is that women experience a wave of emotions on a regular basis, sometimes from hour to hour. I can not see how it would benefit them if I too began to let loose every rising emotion I experienced. My wife would hate it. Someone in this house has to be neutral, and as I’m the only one who doesn’t experience pmt and periods, carrying burdens of some of my troubles without complaint falls on me.
And I’m willing to do that because they all look to me for emotional stability. It’s my job as dad. I am grateful that I have a way to live that allows me to meet stress with grace: to meet calamity with serenity. There are many reasons to meditate, and building resilience to stress by not responding with anxiety and resentment is just one of them. How my children see me deal with the pressures of life is an important lesson for them. I have my own ways of dealing with my personal pressures. And it’s a way that works.
I also have a strong work ethic. I may suffer from chronic nerve pain in my spine and my head, but I still do as much as I can. I think it’s important that they they grow up seeing the man of the house work hard to provide despite any personal obstacles. I don’t let my Asbergers affect me either. Instead, I work on my strengths. I also believe this will benefit my little daughter, who is also on the Autistic spectrum. I want her to know that it shouldn’t hold her back from achieving whatever she wants out of life.
To my family, I am a loving, caring man. My compass is always set on improving myself the best way I can and adapting to the challenges in the stream of life to benefit them. My daughters are watching closely. And for all of them, I am responsible for being the best example of a dad I can be.
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