When my dad was young, he didn’t get to spend a lot of time with his dad. Remembering how disappointing that was, he promised to be a positive force in his kids’ lives, and he succeeded. Out of all the things he did for me and with me, I think probably the greatest thing was teaching me how to be a responsible man.
I have a lot of great memories with my dad, most of which revolve around sports. He coached four of my little league teams, and we even got first place in our league a couple times. It was great to spend time with my dad doing something I loved. Even though he stopped coaching, I kept playing baseball, and he kept supporting me from the stands. We shared a love for the Dodgers. As soon as I was old enough to drive, I remember him sending me to the nearest Foster Freeze (Foster Freeze was awesome way back then) to get milkshakes to drink while watching the Dodgers play on TV. Maybe not the healthiest idea, but it sure was enjoyable! It was also bonding.
I always assumed I would bond with my sons over the same things I bonded over with my dad, like sports. I have three boys, and so far, this has not been the case. Sports are not a focal point of my relationships with my sons, but I don’t grieve the loss of that common interest. I just love being their dad and hanging out with them. Having four kids has been a crazy experience, and I’ve loved every minute of it.
We’ve traded the baseball diamond for the beach and gloves and bats for surfboards and volleyballs. None of us are very good at surfing or beach volleyball, but we’re learning as a family. I got to take my boys camping recently for the first time, and it was a blast. I also love taking the opportunity to bond with my kids one-on-one. Earlier this year, I took each of my four kids out for a day, one at a time. I spent a day in San Diego with my oldest, and he said it was his favorite day of all time.
I love my kids, and I love hanging out with them. What’s more, I love bearing the great responsibility of being the leader in my household. Any position of leadership carries an incredible weight. You can only be a good leader if you’re selfless and put others first, and fatherhood is no different. I try every day to shape my kids and help them grow, and honestly, that’s one of my favorite parts of being a dad. Fathers have a tremendous amount of influence in a child’s life, whether they’re a good father or a bad one. I consider it an honor and a privilege to help my kids grow up, just like my dad did for me.