How do I become a good father?

How the heck did women give birth before modern medicine?

How the heck did women give birth before modern medicine?

As I am writing this post, my wife is in the midst of her 33rd hour of labor. Despite the lack of sleep and physical exhaustion, she still has a remarkably positive attitude and is determined to fight on; what an amazing woman! We’re excited to meet our boy, but he sure is taking his sweet-ass time to enter the building.

Yesterday I finished reading (actually, listening via audiobook) a fantastic book called, A More Beautiful Question, by Warren Berger. As you might imagine, this book is all about questions. The general summary is that people aren’t taught how to ask good questions, but that asking the right question at the right time can change lives, organizations, and society.

In the next few hours I will officially become a father. I can tell you with utmost sincerity that I have no idea what I’m doing.

Since I don’t have answers on how to become a good parent, I want to pose the questions I hope to explore while raising this child.

In no particular order, here are the questions on my mind when it comes to my son:

  • How do we raise a kind human being?
  • How do we raise a healthy human being?
  • As a family, should we make more effort to develop our spiritual lives?
  • How do I keep dating my wife?
  • How can we avoid spoiling this child?
  • When can we jointly develop our family values and mission statement?
  • What can we do to help our child reject petty materialism?
  • How do we teach gratitude?
  • Should we get a dog?
  • Should we get a cat?
  • What can I do to become less selfish?
  • What can I do to improve my listening skills?
  • How do I learn patience?
  • I’m a neat freak, how do I learn to live comfortably in a messy house?
  • How do we teach our child to question authority, but also value obedience?
  • How do I let myself gracefully lose arguments with my child?
  • How do we build his confidence?
  • How do we teach our child to value discipline and grit?
  • How do we encourage our child to play more?
  • How do we teach our child to love nature?
  • Public school, private school, or home school?
  • Are video games good for children?
  • How do we teach our child to respect technology, but not be addicted to it?
  • When can we start traveling to crazy locations?
  • What if our child has a different definition of success than we do? How do we stop projecting our own goals and support our unique son?
  • How do we teach our child to have an awesome sense of humor?
  • How do we let our child fail without intervening?
  • How do we let our child get hurt without intervening?
  • How do we teach our child to resist peer pressure?
  • How do we build a family where we regularly say ‘I love you’ to each other?
  • When does the sex talk happen and how should we approach it?
  • How do we do those teenage years?
  • When can I go clay shooting with my child?
  • How do we teach our child to love healthy eating and exercise?
  • What can I do to consistently demonstrate that my family is more important than my career?
  • Should we pay for his college?
  • Should we set aside some money for him when he’s an adult to give him a head start?
  • How do we stay close to our son when he becomes an adult?
  • What advice will I share with my son when he becomes a father?

This post is more of a reference for myself. But if you have answers to any of the questions above, I’d love your comments.

I can’t wait to meet this little dude!

28 thoughts on “How do I become a good father?

    1. Eric Post author

      That’s very sweet of you to say, thank you! Hope my wife and I can find good answers to these questions over time.

      Reply
  1. Eric

    I really like question no. 4 – “How do I keep dating my wife?”

    I’m in no position to comment as I’m not married (just engaged) with no kids. However, my fiance and I have a ‘non-negotiable date night’ every week. This doesn’t mean we have to go to a fancy dinner, it can be Chipotle while watching Walking Dead. As long as it’s just us two and we’re having fun that’s all that matters.

    Overall, I love this post and am thrilled for you!

    Reply
  2. DrivenHere

    My husband and I became less selfish the moment our first baby was put in our arms. That tiny little baby will teach you what it means to find, nurture, and treasure true love; In that instance, will come patience, gratitude, amazement, splendor, humor, more love, laughter, tears, even more love, and confidence. Enjoy every moment of your transition into parenthood. As for travel–a new journey will begin the very moment your baby is put in your arms. It’s all great. Enjoy and Congratulations.

    Reply
    1. Eric Post author

      Really lovely message, thanks so much for it. We’re already having so much fun with the kid and it’s been just a few hours.

      Reply
  3. Robby Ratan

    WOW, 33 hours! Good luck, you guys (especially Bea)!!

    And I think you’ve answered your first question (“How do I become a good father?”) with some excellent questions. I will try to contemplate some of them too in my own adventures in parenthood.

    Reply
  4. hypedad

    I’m in the same boat. First daughter born last week. My blog is dedicated to raising questions. I think just thinking about them is the first step. Good luck.

    Reply
    1. Eric Post author

      Congrats on your new daughter! Hope that you are loving the experience. I’m about 12 hours into fatherhood, and it’s been amazing so far. Wishing you well!

      Reply
  5. gishii

    Congrats Eric! Our prayers are with you for a quick and eventless delivery! 8^)
    The most important step towards becoming an awesome father is asking yourself how!

    Reply
    1. Eric Post author

      Thank you George! And appreciate the kind message you sent me several weeks back. Hope you and your wife are doing well–I think your wife would have delivered by now too?

      Reply
  6. clara@expatpartnersurvival.com

    You become a good father by modellling. Show him what to do, lead the way with your own behaviour. Many of your questions will be answered a lot later – are video games good for children, for example, isn’t something you have to think of right now. Just love that baby, read up on oxytocin and the benefits of holding him close to you as much as possible in the early days and you will be fine! Congratulations to you and your wife. And don’t forget – it gets easier! (after about 3 months).

    Reply
    1. Eric Post author

      Thanks for those very kind words! Agree that leading by example is going to be huge. How I learned to become a man is largely by observing my own father. And thanks for the reminder that I should be patient, that the other answers will come over time when we cross that bridge.

      Reply
      1. Eric Post author

        Haha, didn’t come off bad at all. I do find it comforting to hear that parental instincts seem to kick in naturally. I’m starting to feel it, and plenty of friends have said the same. 🙂

  7. Kim

    Congrats Eric! Reading your list, 2 thoughts came to mind:

    – Practice mindfulness — being present to the moment, aware of what’s happening right now (e.g., thoughts, emotions, physical sensation, external conditions)

    – Ask: Who am I being? Who do I want to be right now? What’s on my “to be” list?

    Your “to be” list is ONE thing. It can be the same thing every day, or you can cycle through a few different ones as you need.

    So rather than asking, “How do I learn patience?” your To Be list would say: “Be Patient.”

    And in any moment of the day, you’d pause and ask, “Am I being Patient?”

    If the answer is Yes, gold star! If the answer is No, then you adjust immediately.

    When you attend to your Being, the Doing takes care of itself.

    You can be Patient, Kind, Present, Loving, etc. Have fun with it 🙂

    Reply
  8. AthenaC

    I’m a bit late to this, so just let me say – congratulations! By this point y’all should be settling in to your rhythm and maybe even enjoying the new normal!

    Anyway, I think it’s very wise that (insert higher power here) designed kids the way they are. At the very beginning it is difficult, but their needs are clear – eat, butt change, sleep, and affection. As they grow it gets logistically easier, but their needs get more complex and individualized. I don’t know if the parental effort gets easier (it may even get more difficult), but just getting through infancy you are used to putting forth a certain level of effort so it doesn’t come out of thin air.

    Good luck! You’ll do great.

    Reply
    1. Eric Post author

      Thanks for the words of encouragement. The past four months have been so incredible and rewarding. Yeah we’re tired, but my goodness it’s been worth it to see this little dude grow and develop. I hear it only gets better, I’m excited!

      Reply
  9. celticcat2015

    Lol. Yes, it does get better. And it get’s worse, too. Especially when your child gets to the pre-teen and teenager stages.
    Just make a real effort to do the best you can each day, show your love daily, and treat your child the way you’d like to be treated in the same situations.
    And pray. Because there’s going to be days when you’ll really need to.
    Also, remember that you’re going to make mistakes, no matter how hard you try not to.
    But if you can learn to see the world through your childrens’eyes, it will be a little easier knowing when to be stern, when to punish, or when to just sit down and talk, listen, or simply “be there” for them.
    I wish all of you the very best. May your lives be filled with love, honesty, patience, joy, and wisdom.
    And take lots of pictures! Lol.

    Reply

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