Saturday, April 30, 2011

Looking up to my children

The most intimidating concept about being a father is that your children are going to use you as the standard by which they measure the world as well as themselves. If that doesn't frighten you, you're either a narcissist, or under appreciating the enormity of that idea.

Our children emulate us, warts and all. If us fathers are angry, stubborn, disrespectful of their mothers, they see that, and behave similarly.

Of course, I knew that coming into it. What I didn't know was that I'd find my children to be people that I look up to, and see things about them that I want to emulate.

Take, for example, my oldest son, David. He's six years old. He is also, as Topham Hat in Thomas the Tank Engine would say, a "very useful engine". If you don't get the reference, what I mean is that he is a very helpful child. My wife and I use him for all the little jobs around the house, and he never complains. He likes being helpful, likes doing for us, and his selflessness is a trait I never picked up, but am striving to learn.

Or look at my second son, Jonah. He has a strong sense of empathy, and whiles he's struggling with all the internal drama of being three, he's sensitive, caring, and giving. He shares without being asked, and never fails to notice if someone is down or hurt, and tries to help them feel better. I am far too detached from the people around me, and it's Jonah who teaches me to reconnect.

My daughter Audrey teaches me about innocence. I was robbed of my own at a very early age in an event I don't care to discuss in this post, and I always thought that getting that view of the world back was impossible. Audrey is teaching me otherwise as she shares her view of the world with me.

The child I look up to the most, however, is my eight month old son, Benjamin. He is the most joyful person I have ever known. He always has a smile on his face, is always happy to see every person he meets, is always quick to laugh. Even when he's crying, which isn't often for a baby, you can see him still trying to smile. I am a dour person by nature, but thinking about Ben always puts a grin on my face. That joyful little boy reminds me of how it is that I should be behaving.

My children truly are a gift from God, and I thank Him so much for five new lives; theirs, and the new life which they have given to me.

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