Monday, February 4, 2013

Fatherhood

Perhaps the best gift I can give to my son, aside from love, is freedom. The freedom to explore things while, at the same time, enjoying it as any normal child would and, when he’s old enough to think what's right from wrong and can stand on his own, the freedom for him to take the path that he must choose. My son Nathaniel Harris was born on August of last year and he’s a healthy baby when he came out from his mother’s womb. To become a dad for the first time is, for me, to feel the real joy I have never felt in a long time. But, I know, it will also take a great responsibility on my part to nurture this little man after my own image to become a better soul as he grows up. Could I be a good dad to my son or, when another one comes, children?

While it's true that parents know what's best for their children, I think it is also wise to consider that these children may as well know what’s best for them. I heard about parents becoming too obsessed with trying to fit their children into their mold but ended up making them rebellious and unhappy in the process. It's not that we're going to raise children who will become spoiled brats but for the parents to impose the proper application of discipline. As a dad to my son, to revise a quote I came across with (from Anne Frank), I can only give him good advice or put him on the right path, but the final forming of his character lies in his own hands.

To become a dad to my son is to understand the fact that, although he comes through me, he belongs to his own purpose. The great Lebanese poet and writer Khalil Gibran captured such a role with words of wisdom when he said: “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They came through you but not from you and though they are with you yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the House of Tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.”

Fatherhood is one of the most wonderful, joyful, yet challenging experience a man could go through. It is a role by which he elevates himself into such a status that will define him better than when he's single. It is, above all, about understanding more, complaining less, and the expression of love through actions.

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