I LOVE being a dad; I really and truly do. Watching my children grow up is an absolute delight for me. I have honestly marveled at something they’ve done at every stage of their development, from the diapers to now, as two of them approach the teen years. Children are our gifts. They carry our namesakes, they carry our DNA, “they” are our legacy.
I can remember most everything about the day when my first child was born. I remember being at the post office and getting the call about the water breaking; people even let me cut in line…AT THE POST OFFICE! I recall where I ate, what happened in the room, the joy, the pain, when the baby came, the smiles…yep, I’m playing that video in my head right now, and I’m smiling all over again. 🙂
When I became a new parent, I received all sorts of parental advice, solicited or not. I got those who told me some wonderful positives about being a parent and to make sure that I show my kids as much love as possible. I appreciated that advice. Then, there were those who were telling me as a new dad, “You just wait!” “Wait until they’re taking your sleep!” “Wait until the terrible two’s!” “Wait until they think they’re grown!” “Wait until the hit puberty!” “Wait until boys!” “You’ll see, you’ll see!” Then you start thinking, “What have I just got myself into?!” I know, how encouraging, right?
Growing up and in my teen years, I never thought that I would enjoy fatherhood. I had plans, goals, dreams, aspirations, etc. I didn’t want children to get in the way of that; it was “my life.” The funny thing about that is, being young and stupid, I didn’t always take the best “preventative measures” to guard against “fatherhood.” Looking back, I think I’m only scratching the surface of how “young and stupid” I really was! I’m older now and, to my knowledge, I didn’t sire any kids that I am not aware of, lol. I was blessed in that regard. God had a plan, in spite of my woefully ignorant ways.
I have a great relationship with both of my parents. They were very young when I came along. To their credit, they tried to stay together for me. But, alas, their’s was not a fairytale relationship. It was more of a Shakespearean tragedy, lol. Fortunately, no one died at the end, but they did split when I was just a toddler.
They gave me the best of both worlds, though. I stayed with my mom in the country during the week and, I stayed with my dad on the weekends in the city. In large part, my parents breaking up made me a more, well-rounded individual. I had the country life and city life, all in one. I had well-rounded plans, too and those plans just didn’t include children.
Now, I have three beautiful children, 2 girls, and 1 boy. As their dad, it delights me when I am able to provide for them and it hurts me when I am not able to give them some of the things that I want to give them. They are the loves of my life. I have
enjoyed watching them grow up and, I have never understood how “fathers” can walk out of their kid’s lives and want no part of fatherhood.
I have heard all kinds of reasons as to why this is. “I’m not ready to be a dad.” “I’m married and, this would destroy my relationship with my ‘real family.’ “I can’t stand the mother.” “I didn’t mean for this to happen, it was an accident.” “It was a one-night stand.” There are all kinds of reasons given as to why fathers leave. But, in my opinion, NONE of the excuses that I’ve heard are valid.
I am far from the perfect dad. I have made mistakes with my children; all good parents do. You are doing your best to raise happy, healthy and productive members of society. For us Christians, we are also training them up in the way that they should go. We lead a life that compels them to want that “way” to be God’s way.
But, you make mistakes…
But, you have to try…
To get it right…
Until you no longer walk this Earth.
I asked, and my kids think I’m a great dad. I’m pretty sure they wanted something from me when I asked, so maybe they felt “compelled” to say this, lol. But, I don’t think so…maybe. I work at it. I’m conscious of working at it. Anytime that I deal with my kids, it’s top of mind for me. Does it mean that I always make the right choice? Of course not.
Time will tell if my methods worked or not. My mom felt the need to apologize to me and my siblings (yes, I know it should be “my siblings and I,”) but I told her there was no need. She was young and she was doing the very best that she knew how to do. After all, I don’t think I’ve turned out too bad.
No, I don’t teach parenting. So, you can take my advice and throw it out the proverbial window, if you like. But, I am a dad; I am a very proud dad. I will give you several tips that I have learned that have helped me get here. Remember, I wasn’t the most willing participant going into fatherhood. But now, I couldn’t be happier. I hope that these upcoming tips help.
The Essentials List:
ESSENTIAL 1: Love and Enjoy Your Children
ESSENTIAL 2: Encourage Your Children
ESSENTIAL 3: Fight For Your Children
ESSENTIAL 4: Guide Your Children
ESSENTIAL 5: Be an Example For Your Children
ESSENTIAL 6: Learn How To Be a Better Dad
ESSENTIAL 7: Take Them To Church
This is going to be a multi-part article so, for now, I’m just going to list the “Essentials.” Next week, I will start explaining each one. Have an awesome rest of your week!
Larry Tank Jones is an actor, producer, philanthropist, and motivational speaker that loves to push himself and others to be the best they can be.
He has acted in dozens of movies, the most notable being “Three Kings,” and has appeared in several television shows, including NCIS, CSI: Miami, Breaking Bad and more. He has a leading role in the historical film, Union Bound, which is set to be released in April.
Tank Jones is also a producer, he is currently producing the series Fire and Ice, and is the co-producer of the very successful Latin Comedy Jam comedy tour.
In addition to his film career, Tank is a motivational speaker who has traveled the country speaking on behalf of his nonprofit organization, Choices Empowerment. Choices Empowerment was founded in 2003 to promote diversity and to help encourage elementary, middle and high school students to have a positive outlook toward themselves and their goals.