My Dad just celebrated his 88th birthday.
To me, he’s the original Guy’s Guy. He taught me about love, family, women and work. He’s been a shining example of being a real man and I thank him for his kindness, wisdom and generosity. My new son, Sky, is five weeks old today. I’ve quickly learned that like my Dad, my son is also my teacher. So, in the spirit of Father’s Day, here are my Guy’s Guy musings on what my little man has already taught me in a few short weeks.
Patience – This is an understatement. Having spent most of my adult life as a self-absorbed, ego-driven selfish lout, it’s taken me a long time—probably longer than most—to learn that life really isn’t all about me. I have renewed respect for my younger male friends who became fathers during their twenties and thirties. I started later and I’m glad, because frankly, I did not have the patience necessary to deal with an infant, their randomness and their directness. Even though I caught Sky in the delivery room, he’s understandably been all about his Mom, and my mother-in-law—who only speaks to Sky in Korean. Are they forging a deal I need to know about? I wait patiently for him to give me a big smile and let me know I’m his Dad.
Paying Attention – My wife gave me a good lesson in this key behavior when we were dating and just when I thought I had passed the test… enter Sky. He insists that I focus all of my attention on him, keep track of the details—like warming that bottle up—and take the initiative for building a lasting bond with him. If not, he will ignore me or cry. I am on point at all times and Sky knows it. Good for him.
Parenting - Whether it’s always keeping him clean or applying his butt paste, I have an endless punch list of ways I can help my wife take care of my son. I assemble and look after the caravan of stuff whenever we take him out for a stroll in the park. He is the last thing I see at night and first thing in the morning, and I never know what’s going through his head. I just do my job and help out as best I can. It’s the least I can do.
Persistence – Since babies are all about need, he lets me know in no uncertain terms when he wants something—food, a change, a hug, a walk, whatever. And he keeps going and going. I’m not one to ignore an infant’s cry. How can I? He only knows one way to let you know that something is wrong. So I try different ways of addressing his need until I find what works. He’s training me well. Bottom line, like all babies, Sky’s engine runs 24/7 and he let’s me know exactly what he wants without any trace of subtext.
Perfection – All of this points to the perfection in babies. They are pure love. You can see it in their eyes. It brings me joy. It keeps me hopeful. Thank you, Sky.
This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is my Dad, Serge Manni. Thanks for everything. I hope I’m living up to your example of how to be a man.
What are you thankful for this Father’s Day?