7 Things Becoming A Father Taught Me

James Preston Reply 7:19 AM
So unbelievably, this coming Sunday will be the third time I am on the receiving end of Father's Day. Time really does fly when you become a parent. Like nothing I've ever experienced before.

And so, in celebration of Dad's Day, and all Fathers everywhere; I want to share with you a few things that Fatherhood has taught me in the 3 years I've been a dad. Big thanks to Joburg Blogger Wendy van Eyck who suggested today's subject. Although she did suggest I blog about the "unexpected teachings of Fatherhood". But in reality, it's all unexpected! There is so little you can plan for before that little one comes along!

(You can follow Wendy on Twitter right here:  )

So, here are some of the key things I've learnt so far...

1. How much us humans are capable of loving
When I saw Joel for the first time, as the doctors carefully lifted him out of Corinne's womb up above her belly for her and I to get our first look; a gush of Love came rushing out of my heart that I had never felt before. Corinne and I are madly in love, and we felt the tingly feelings of puppy love in our early days of dating, but this kind of love that came gushing out of me was something I've never felt before.

A flood of emotion came over me, like a switch in my heart. That flood came naturally. I didn't have to force it on or think about it, it just came out of me the moment I saw Joel. I had always loved Joel, and couldn't wait for his arrival, but nothing prepares you for what you will feel when you see your fully formed child out the womb for the first time.

2. The Theory of Relativity and to cherish every moment
You know the theory of relativity, right? One minute with your hand on a hot stove feels like an hour, one minute in a park with the woman you love feels like 10 seconds. (In a nutshell).

This experience goes into overdrive when you become a parent. As the weeks, months, and now years have gone by, the experience doesn't change. It feels like we've had 5 years worth of experiences with Joel. But at the same time, it feels like only a few months ago we were in the hospital celebrating his arrival.

I can finally understand why parents are always telling you that "you'll blink and they'll be in high school". I have experienced that first hand, and am learning to cherish every moment I have with my family like solid gold.

3. How little faith I have for healing
I believe Jesus paid for the redemption of mankind and all things fallen. (Colossians 1:20). This came by revelation, and not by education. When that lightswitch goes on in your head, you can't change that. But life experience certainly has a way of challenging these ideals.

We have been incredibly blessed with a very healthy boy in general. He eats well, toilets well, sleeps (fairly) well, has avoided major injury, is developing well etc. And we are so very thankful for everything that Joel is.

But we've also had our fair share of hospital bills and medication. Joel's been under X-Ray 3 times and been checked into a hospital twice. And we count the days we don't have to give Joel medication.

This is clearly living below our rights as Christians. As I write this I am realising that this is a whole different Blog Post. But in summary: I still believe God wants to heal everyone, and He hates sickness and pain more than we do. But seeing His will fulfilled here and now on a regular basis requires something a whole lot deeper than just agreeing with good theology. It requires living it out. Being a father has helped me learn how to "live it out" so much more.

4. My selfishness
We're all selfish to some degree. This is natural and there's no problem with it. It's how we live.

WE are hungry, so WE get something to eat. WE are tired so WE go lay down. WE aren't feeling up for joining the running group, so WE stay behind. Etc. You get the point.

Parenthood challenges this selfishness to its very limit. Children (especially young ones) are 100% selfish. They have no concept or regard for other people's feelings or situation, and if they need something attended to, it has to be done NOW. So no matter how tired I am, drained I am, busy I am, focussed I am, I have no choice but to deal with what my son needs in that moment.

It pulls character out of you like you cannot believe!

5. How to deal with my frustration and practice self-control
The last point leads to this one. I am an emotional guy. In many ways more so than my wife Corinne. When I'm happy, I'm really happy. When I'm angry... you get the point. I've punched walls, kicked ottamans, and screamed in frustration at the constant crying, or another sign of serious illness, or whatever it may be.

This kind of pressure has caused me to deal with my frustration. I can't punch a wall everytime I realise something else is wrong with Joel. I have to channel my emotions, and control them. Something fatherhood has caused me to learn more than any life experience has.

6. How much time I used to have to myself
Again, tied up with Point No. 4.

You know the old adage? You don't know what you've got until it's gone? It is spot on true.

You don't realise how much time you have to yourself until you become a parent.
When you have the constant demands of a little human being who is dependant on you entirely, it sadly becomes all too clear.

7. My wife is commitment personified
In the midst of all these challenges I have faced as a father, my wife barely makes mention of them. She carries on like she was born to do it. She gets on with the job and does it without a single grumble.

I have fallen more in love with my amazing wife since becoming a dad. Not only do I appreciate her stunning beauty and extraordinary personality, I am also amazed at her character of solid gold. She is committed to seeing our son receive the best input possible on all levels, no matter how much it costs her. I am regularly learning from her attitude.

The Highs far make up for the "lows"
Sure, you may well be reading this and getting a little nervous for your time coming up as a parent. But trust me... the experiences of being a father cannot be accurately and adequately described. There is no adventure like it.

The fun I have with Joel in the garden, the joy that fills our hearts as we watch him talking to himself while he plays with his toys, the love that consumes us as we watch him falling asleep on the couch, the experience of him running up to you and giving you a big greeting hug. These are priceless experiences that are worth every second of challenge we face.

I love my family. And I'm proud to be a dad.


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