Fatherhood and Reconstruction

Fatherhood has become one of the primary reasons I’ve changed over the last year.  It’s been a role and relationship most potent in making me into someone else.

It’s amazing how different I see things because I’m a dad.  I look at outlets differently.  I watch television wondering if this is something I want my son to remember.  I listen to the radio with an ear toward what will aide me in being a better parent.  I drive slower because I’m always thinking that my son is behind me, even when he’s not.  That seat presses into my shoulder, always a reminder that the car is tight, yes, but also that my boy could be there.  Indeed he is there in some way.

I have a lot of reasons to change from one year to the next.  I want to be a good husband, a great one, because it pleases my wife.  I want to be a great teacher, one who listens and learns with students.  I can go on about how that same thing applies to my work in the church.  But a huge area of motivation is the simple, ever-present identity I have as a father.  I’m not just a man anymore.  I’m Bryce’s father.

When he was born, I heard somebody say something to the effect that kids were a parent’s replacement.  It stuck out.  I still remember the language, though I can’t place it or tell you who said it.  But it got me wondering what kind of person I was.  Other things pressed the same point: a friend’s piercing question; a minister’s sermon; something I read; my own prayer.  But being a father is one of those daily reminders.  What would be my replacement’s assessment of me?  What was my own self-assessment as I thought about who my son was and who I was to him?

I’m changing, being reconstructed, because of fatherhood.  Most times I don’t like the process.  It hurts my ego, more than bruising my pride.  It’s pulling up the roots and foundations of who I was in a way that a tiny number of other experiences have.  On my best days I’m grateful for the entirety of the construction zone.  But then there are, also, my worse days.

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