I became a father at 22 when my first son was born.
My 1st son David has grown into a brilliant young man, a humble genius passionate about giving back. He serves as a public school teacher while honing his skills as a writer on the weekends. He is kind, compassionate, and a credit to the human race. In many ways, he’s become my best friend and even a role model in my life.
I still remember the overwhelming weight of responsibility and joy to know God was entrusting me with another tiny person.
Since that night, I’ve learned a lot about my limitations. Parenting is a never-ending lesson in how God’s grace overcomes our weaknesses and failures.
Well, it’s been a minute (23 years, to be more precise), and more has changed than has stayed the same. Like the saying goes:
If you ever want to make God laugh – just tell him your plans!
I’m back on this roller coaster and excited to give it another ride – this time, I know a little more about what to expect and when to raise my hands and enjoy the moment.
I’m far from the perfect parent and can’t pretend I’ve figured this out. Enjoy this gratitude meditation, especially if you’re in the overwhelming blessing of fatherhood.
1) Babyland is a temporary blessing 👶
I’m learning to cherish the newborn phase. If there’s one thing I’ve come to realize, it’s that every moment in the life of our little ones is a fleeting miracle. The first coos, the tiny smiles, the late-night diaper changes, and the sleepless nights are all part of an incredible journey that doesn’t repeat itself. So, amidst the exhaustion and constant worry, don’t forget to pause and take it all in. Remember, this is only a phase. But one you can remember fondly if you keep your sense of humor.
2) Taking care of mommy is job #1🤱🏾
I’m learning to prioritize how I can support my wife. As a young father, I did not fully understand the strain that the first few months of motherhood can put on a woman. Today, with experience, I see the importance of offering support and understanding during those stressful early days. To all fathers out there, let’s remember to be there for the mothers of our children.
3) Self-care isn’t a meme 😳
I’m learning to embrace self-care, rest, and restraint. I’ve found wisdom in the words of an older pastor friend, who once told me, “Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is take a nap.” Rest is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. So, fellow parents, let’s take care of ourselves. A well-rested parent is a more patient, more loving parent.
4) Finding WHO > figuring out HOW 💁♂️
I’m learning the value of seeking assistance. Like most young men, I thought I knew much more than I did. I took pride in trying to figure everything out on my own. Today, I see the value in reaching out for help. So, whether it’s calling the doctor, asking another parent for advice, or even googling the odd question in the middle of the night, remember, it’s okay not to have all the answers. HT: Ben Hardy’s excellent book.
5) Parenting is a spiritual practice 🙏
I’m learning to find spirituality in parenthood. There’s something incredibly spiritual about holding your newborn, about being in the presence of a new and pure life. Each moment spent with your child becomes an act of worship, a testament to the Creator’s miracle. I meditate on how my newborn is made in the image of God – the limitless love, energy, and life force of The LORD is manifesting in this tiny human life. Simply being present and caring for this child is a deeply spiritual experience.
6) Surrender leads to joy 🤗
I’m learning to let my storyline go and trust God’s better plans. This means both my hopes and fears can be put firmly in God’s hands. Fear is an emotion that tends to grip us tightly when we least expect it. But take heart, for God planned to bring this baby into the world. Trust in His plan, and lean into His wisdom, especially in moments of fear. Even my greatest hopes for this child can be let go as I learn to trust God is the true Father to us all.
7) Every moment is a miracle 👼
I’m learning to practice mindfulness and prayer. Life is not contained on a smartphone screen but in my embodied experience. Good or bad, I want to be present to savor one moment at a time. Let’s put down our phones and truly experience each sensation – the sound of a baby’s laughter, the sweet smell of their skin, the tender feeling of their tiny hand in ours. Turn each of these into a prayer of gratitude. Mindful prayer is a powerful way to deepen our connection to God and our little ones.
8) There is grace in slowing down 🐢
Time can seem to speed up with each passing year, but it’s important to slow down in parenting. Taking the time to be present can open up a world of profound experiences we might miss in the rush of daily life. All the milestones from my first son are only distant memory. With God’s grace, I hope to savor every moment this time around.
9) My body isn’t forever 🥦🏋️♀️
I’m learning that health and wellness take a front seat. As an older dad, it’s become clear to me how vital it is to prioritize health and wellness. By caring for my physical well-being, I am better equipped to care for our children and model healthy habits. When I do the math, it’s clear that stewardship of my lifespan will matter greatly for this child. I want to take the long view and make better choices now.
10) Old dads have more tools 🧰
I’m learning about the unique blessing of being an older parent. Experience, patience, and wisdom are just a few advantages of becoming a parent later in life. Being an older dad isn’t just about the challenges; it’s about appreciating the unique blessings this life stage brings.
“Older fatherhood isn’t all downside. The more years we spend on this earth, the more we gather: resources, wisdom, and perspective. The very timing that poses challenges can also offer advantages.” – A.J. Jacobs
Yes, even an old dad can learn new tricks. 🙌
Friends, this journey of parenting a newborn isn’t easy. It comes with sleepless nights, worries, exhaustion, and unimaginable joy and fulfillment. The newborn cries will fade, the sleepless nights will pass, and the tiny clothes will soon be outgrown. So, let’s savor these moments, remember to support one another, and never forget that each precious moment with our little ones is a gift from God.
Whether you’re a young dad or a seasoned parent, each day brings new experiences, joys, and lessons. Remember, in the grand journey of parenthood, old dads can learn new tricks.
Until next time, stay strong, stay humble, and keep loving your children in the way only you can.