What you need to know:
- What sort of father do I want to be? It's a tough question to ask yourself and one that every single man needs to internalise because to your children, you're a god
- I might have started figuring out a few bare minimums on myself, but it will be a whole new ball game when the child is born
This past week, the hashtag, Dear Intern, was trending worldwide.
People were sharing the biggest mistakes that they made as interns. It was occasioned by an error made by an intern at HBO who accidentally sent out a blank testing email, which is usually sent to a test database but instead sent it out to HBO's entire client database.
HBO shared a statement later stating that it indeed was the intern and that they were helping them through it. The errors people shared were hilarious and included someone who accidentally sent an email to their company's C-Suite that read "Cinnamon Testicles are live!" when what she meant to announce was that our "Cinema Testing is live."
Another person shared how she was using her desktop calendar to keep track of her menstrual cycle but after a couple of months she realised that she was making the note on the shared organisational calendar- she was 37.
Any one of these incidents on their own would have had me resigning with immediate effect and moving to Antarctica under an assumed identity.
That thread reminded me of the goofs that fathers make as they bring up their children. As people shared about the memories they created with their fathers on Father's day, the experiences of fathers reminded me of these clueless interns.
What I've learnt is that no one knows what they're doing, stumble through it and do their best, and hope not to mess up their children long-term. It's terrifying but true. Last Father's Day I wrote about how people were scared of fatherhood because they didn't want to end up like their fathers.
That still holds true but this year I went through a different thought process—we are scared of fatherhood because we just don't know what kind of fathers we will be or know where to look for advice.
I have sat down over the past week to ask myself that very question. What sort of father do I want to be? It's a tough question to ask yourself and one that every single man needs to internalise because to your children, you're a god. You will determine how their lives will end up.
Now you can't blame your parents for how your children turn out. It's fully on you. This little potato-looking creature (newborns aren't really photo-worthy until at least a month) is your responsibility for life. It's a make-or-break situation.
I might have started figuring out a few bare minimums on myself, but it will be a whole new ball game when the child is born. In the words of Mike Tyson when he was asked by a reporter whether he was worried about Evander Holyfield and his fight plan he answered; "Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth."
I know that I want to be present and actively so. I want to be there at those annoying parent-teacher meetings (with my whisky flask in tow) where I'll make sure to embarrass them.
I want to be there when they're playing their first instrument really badly and I have to lie to them that they're amazing. I want to be present when they're giving a presentation in school and to teach them how to ride a bicycle.
I want to give them terrible advice that they need to stand up for themselves when they get into a school fight instead of advising them to turn the other cheek. I want to be their open space and talk to them about sex, their bodies, and relationships.
I want to listen to them ramble on passionately about what they feel even before they can articulate themselves and open them up to emotional vulnerability.
I need to be their first go-to person when life knocks them down but still be that fun dad. I don't want fatherhood to take away my fun-loving nature but I also know, from a person I love deeply, that I'll be strict about certain things.
I can't predict the errors I'll make but I certainly hope that they'll be comedic moments and not a cringe-worthy Ted Talk on how their father ruined their childhood. I look at the amazing men around me and the beautiful ways that they're raising their children and I want to do that and more, Jubilee economy notwithstanding.
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