Becoming a father wasn’t always in my life plan and I felt like having children was not something I’d be able to do.. or deal with. In my early twenties I was a race car going two hundred miles, the wrong way on the track, head on towards danger. Kids and being married probably crossed my mind once or twice and I shrugged it off as “That life isn’t me” and went about being a wild man.
Then one day I met the woman who would change my life and through the power of nature, I got married.
Our first year of marriage was a crash course in how to NOT do being married. I had no idea what I was doing but through the ups and downs all marriages go through, I came out a better man. We decided it was time to have a child. Several months later we had a beautiful little girl and my life changed again and that first year, of being a dad (or parents), wasn’t pretty. But once again, I came out a better man.
As my daughter grew and I became a better father, my wife and I decided to have another child. This time, a little boy.
When my son was born I was going through a tough time again. I juggled business ownership with being a father, and a husband, and a full-time employee at a job. To say the least, I didn’t do the best I could. Things got crazy again and I failed to live up to my end of the bargain. It wasn’t until my son was four or five months old that I realized, I was f*&king up. Again.
There were a lot of painful growing experiences from the point of marriage to the point of realizing that I was not being a good man. The problem was, I felt like I had nowhere to go with my struggles and inner battles and I felt that I needed to tuck my chin down and keep moving forward. I felt pressure to perform. I felt pressure to live up to expectations and I felt like I had no idea what I was doing.
I’m not alone. There are men out there who experience the same problems. Work, wife, kids, commutes, societal expectations, down time, stress, and living up to what it’s meant to be a man. Many of those men are lost without a plan. No road map of how to navigate the pressures of life. Men get married, buy homes, and start a family when their skill in handling these responsibilities is not there. I was one of them. I believe a percentage of divorces happen because men fail to meet these responsibilities to the degree they should. Some may be so overwhelmed with their situations that they check out and become distant, caught in routine cycles of destruction. Men often emotionally and physically abandon their women trying to make ends meet, to get ahead in life, to enjoy their hobbies and free time, and often never realize they’re doing so.
What I’ll teach my son will be the building blocks of how to avoid this. How to avoid the trap of materialism and the problems of being a blindfolded go-getter. How to treat women, especially his mother and any of the future women he courts. How to make relationships thrive and if they don’t, how to grieve if needed.
My son will learn from me that it is okay to fail in life. We don’t always get it right. Failure is expected at points in life and we must remember that is safe to do so and we can’t be concerned with the opinions of others. We must stand back up and continue our journey with happiness while being grateful for the lessons life teaches us.
My son will learn that it is okay to ask other men for help and he MUST ask for help. We can’t do this alone and if you think so, you need to stop pretending. Men don’t like going to other men and expressing their emotions and feelings and hardships. But by doing so, we can understand that we learn from these experiences and have the strength, and courage, to move on.
My son will learn that when he is in a relationship the most important thing for him to do is to be present in the life of his woman. With millions of distractions around us all day in the forms of cell-phones, careers, sports, hobbies, friends, and entertainment, it’s easy for men to become distant from the woman in his life. Without a serious conscious effort to be aware, present, and understanding, he will run into problems. “Make her your queen and treat her as such.” will be the first advice I give him when things get serious with a woman. This means you give her your time and you give her your attention and never stop.
I will teach my son that his education never ends and that he should continue to learn new things each day. There are men (and women) who do not continue their education after formal schooling. Many people never read a book again. Some never read books about their careers, relationships, finances, and spirituality. Not doing so leaves you behind in the wake of life. To believe you know everything is foolish and to not educate yourself on all of the things you experience in life is a fast way to suffocate your growth. In the past year I have continued my education on many areas of life: Jiu-Jitsu, Fitness, Nutrition, Sex, Marriage, Manhood, Survival Skills, Finance, Politics, and more. It never ends.
If my son decides to one day become a father I want to teach him what it means to be a father, a dad, and not a child with a child. When I became a father the only thing I had to teach me what it meant to be a good dad was a book. I don’t want my son going into parenthood without knowledge of what makes a good man become a good father. I’ll teach him that the mother of his child will always be the most important person in his life and if that means making the child the most important person, you do it. You don’t get a second chance at being their for the mother of the child during the early years of a child’s life. Don’t make it harder than it should be. It’s teamwork. Never forget that. It’s also okay to fail at trying to be a good father, as long as you dust off your pants and try again. Nobody gets it right the first time. Not even Mom.
There is more to come on what I believe is important to teach my son, even my daughter, and I believe these things can help anyone in any stage of life. The journey is better when not alone and there is much to learn that we are unaware of. My son will learn many of the struggles I’ve been through and I can only hope the lessons help him become a better man than I will ever be.
Want to learn about being a better man, a better father, a better husband and lover? Check out the Free Online Group at The Activated Alliance to learn more and to join the conversation starting now!