Ascend. Ascending. Ascension. To rise up through the air. To move upward. To level up.
For those who celebrated Easter today (Happy Easter!) it’s because a couple thousand years ago a certain man ascended into Heaven to be seated at the right hand of his Father.
However, I’d like to argue that as men, we ascend to higher beings when we become fathers. Prior to becoming Dad our soul purpose was to keep ourselves happy and healthy. We were numero uno. However, once we are a father, when we are called “Dad” for the first time, our perspective is elevated to a higher order of thinking.
No longer are we the number one priority. Here is this being who is helpless in every sense of the word depending on us for survival. Food. Shelter. Clean diapers. We helped Mom through the pregnancy but it wasn’t until this bundle of love entered the world that our perception changed. Fatherhood becomes as real as the infant in our arms.
One day we’re feeding ourselves, taking care of ourselves, pondering what we’ll do that day. Then suddenly here’s this screaming, giggling, always hungry being who becomes our responsibility. From the very first time they wrap their little hand around our finger we know things will never be the same. Me becomes we. I becomes you. We entertain. We watch them sleep. We feed. We change. We level up.
It has been a work in progress, really. 40 years in the making. Skills like this don’t happen over night. It comes in tiny portions, miniscule lessons, an observation here and there, a pinch of know how, and a whole lotta luck.
You don’t get to be a kick ass dad without having a kick ass dad to set the example. Some will tell you how it’s done. Others will show you. Either way, you know you’ve got a good one when you can look back on your childhood and realize that you dad just like your dad did.
I was a patient kid. I’m a patient man, just like my father. He didn’t teach me to be patient, but I saw the value in it. I understood that it was virtue. Naturally, I lose my patience from time to time. Anyone who knows me knows I lose stuff. My patience shouldn’t be any different. We understand that good things come to those who wait. Work hard. Do your time and your time will come.
Like patience, my dad knows the value of hard work. So I know a job worth doing is worth doing right. When I walk into a classroom I teach my heart out. I’m a “yes man”. When administration needs me to step up and do extra, I do. My dad worked hard, too. I can still picture him walking into my high school gym still in work clothes to watch my wrestling matches. That was after dark.
Being a good dad isn’t easy. It at comes with it’s share of doubts and hardships. Am I doing the right thing? Am I raising good people? What’s going to happen next? What should I teach them?
However, the rewards outshine both. The laughter. Seeing them act kindly. Watching their excitement when they are successful. Feeling pride swell when they learn, when they win, when they do good when they think no one is watching.
Any man can be a father. The exceptional ones get to be called dad. I am the dad I am because of the dad my dad is.