I wake up one fine morning; sit with a steaming cuppa by my favorite window overlooking the skyline of a city that is bursting at its seams. As I introspect, I wonder where the last five years have gone. One fine day I held this little guy bundled up in a blue giraffe blanket and my world changed forever! Out went video games, parties and nights about town. Suddenly I was dealing with poop, handling a tyrant (not really!) and nodding off at work.
Being a dad (or Baba, as he calls me) has been a rewarding experience. A really popular quote from The Spiderman goes “With great power comes great responsibility”. For the father in me this quote has turned on its head “With great responsibility comes great power”. And that power is learning that fatherhood brings. The more time I spend with Junior the more I learn, even while I pretend to be the wise one!
1. Be happy, nothing else matters: Probably the best gift he will ever give me. He made me realize that life is too short to keep brooding over a broken toy. We adults have turned worrying into an art form. We are constantly frazzled over world economy, global warming and saving the whales while life passes us by. For a child disappointments don’t last for days. They throw a fit, wail & move on like it never happened. There are more important things to do, chasing a butterfly for example.
2. Be curious: Just when did we stop learning and growing? I hear friends say things like “Oh, I was a whiz at trivia; I used to know so much. Now I just don’t have the time”. Kids always find time. Because they know asking questions helps them know things they don’t. My little one constantly asks questions about people, places and everything under the sun. His urge to know supersedes everything else. As we grow up we don’t stop learning, we just stop asking questions. We are adults after all!
3. Make friends: Making new friends is not as hard as pronouncing “Otolaryngology” correctly! We travel a lot and my son effortlessly finds new friends to play with everywhere we go. That makes me secretly proud as a parent. As we grow older we let our calendars take over our lives. We don’t find time to go out and make new friends. We become too choosy or just too skeptical of opening up to new people. For a child, everyone around is a potential buddy!
4. Take a leap of faith: One of my son’s favorite games is to jump from the bed or the table and have me catch him while he “flies”. He knows that I will never let him fall. As we grow older we lose that sense of adventure. We get caught up in the “what if” syndrome. We forget that it’s okay to let go once in a while and that everything will be alright.
5. Be yourself, everyone else is taken: “You are so much like your dad / mom!” close friends and family would say to my son. After hearing that over and over, one of the times he turned and replied “No, I am not like anyone else. I am like myself”. We laughed it off then but it stayed on with me. We adults often try to be someone we are not. You should be loved for who you are and not who you are trying to be.
All that brilliance and wisdom with no clutter, life is beautiful for the little ones. Sadly my coffee has gone cold while I got this post up. But, I’d be super excited to hear stories of your little ones and the lessons too. Cheers!!