"How, so?", you might ask. Well, here are at least 5 ways:
1) You make smarter decisions
When you become a dad, the camera lens of life is refocused and you realize that it isn't about you anymore. Every decision you make from here on out will either positively or negatively affect your child(ren) in some shape or form. Bearing this in mind, you begin to make better life decisions. The motivation for this will stem from your desire:
- To want to be a good example for your kids
- To want to spend as much time with them
- To want to live long enough to see them grow up
For example, a guy who usually has a tendency to swear will suddenly find themselves choosing their words more carefully. A guy that typically spent their time after work in bars during happy hours will instead be rushing home to see his kids. You think about being around to see your child graduate from college or get married. So you exercise, eat and take care of yourself a little better.
All around, the quality of your life will improve!
2) You become more sensitive (in a good way)
Okay guys, we're going to take a second an talk about our feelings.
I can already hear the collective groans from you all. But c'mon! Before you click out of this post, at least hear me out:
Throughout history, man has struggled to define what it means to be masculine. The current myth of masculinity tends to lean towards physicality and stoicism : someone who can provide for his family, whittle a chair out of a tree stump with a pocket knife and the only time you might see him cry is when his favorite sports team loses. In their world, feelings were trivial pursuits reserved only for housewives and pansies.
"I'm sorry, I'm way too busy stabbing gorillas in the neck to talk about how I'm feeling"
A lot of boys (including myself) were thought that tears is a sign a weakness and as a result, we carried that mindset with us into adulthood and developed a habit of suppressing our emotions.
I have fatherhood to partly thank for snapping me out of that fallacy.
Seeing the miracle of both my first son being born stirred within me emotions I didn't realize were there and on that day, I felt me warmth of my tears rolling down my cheeks. I was crying uncontrollably.
In front of the doctor and nurses.
And I couldn't care less.
This experience along with the many others that I have shared with my family have taught me that by allowing myself to open up and be more sensitive, I can be more in tune with my kids' feelings and therefore better able to identify and meet their needs. I've found that this skill set has also helped me with connecting with others in both my personal and professional life.
3) Your inhibitions are freed
Before becoming a dad, I never would have imagined that I, as a grown man, would be flapping my arms and clucking like a chicken in a crowded supermarket without needing to be commuted to an insane asylum. Before that time , you probably wouldn't see me in a hibachi restaurant sticking chopsticks on each side of my mouth, doing my best walrus impersonation.
As a father, you're less concerned with what other people think. What matters most to you is the smile that spreads across your kid's face when you perform those silly antics. With that mindset, you can channel the confidence to ace that presentation at work, or have a great interview or tear up the stage during karaoke night.
4) You become a deeper-thinker
The maturity you gain as a father gives you the ability to think about the world and your place in it. You'll realize the ephemeral nature of time and with that, the increased desire to do more with what you are given. You will ask yourself many life altering questions, among them might be:
- What type of legacy do I want to leave behind for my children?
- In what ways am I improving everyday as a father?
- How has the way my parents raised and molded me, affected the way I parent my own children today?
Questions like these will lead you further down the path of manhood. I have learned that once you begin to find these answers, you cannot help but emerge a better father and overall human being.
5) People Look Up to You
It is an unfortunate fact that fatherlessness is an epidemic that is affecting communities world wide. Despite this, it seems that the general population understands the importance of a positive father figure in a young person's life. That's probably the reason when I'm out alone with my son, that I'm usually approached and commended for what I'm "doing". To me, it's something that comes natural: He's my son, so OF COURSE he and I spend special alone time together. But to others, they see it as something that to them is a rare occurrence and worthy of walking up to a complete stranger to show their appreciation. You would have thought that I saved a life. However, after reading some of these staggering statistics from the Fatherless Generation website, maybe that is exactly what I'm doing.
Nevertheless, as nice as the compliments are, I do long for the day that strangers see me with my kids and I'm less likely to receive compliments. Because when that time comes, it would mean that seeing good dads has become more of the norm, rather than a novelty. From my observations at least, I notice a quite a few dad's who also adopt this hands on approach to parenting that are bucking the trend. Seeing that gives me hope for the next generation and future generations to come.
Is there something I missed? Do you disagree? What do you think other benefits of being a father? Comment below!
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