Discussion: My Turn
Written by: James Alexander Spencer
June 10, 2022
This time next year I will anticipate my first Father’s Day. Not for any gifts that I may receive, but knowing that I now have a title that I can wear proudly. I now have a life who depends on me. I can only imagine how my father felt. With my son’s due date, a month away, my emotions are all over the place. I’m excited, happy, scared, nervous, anxious and maybe a few other things that I can’t quite explain. What I know and understand is that it’s my turn to be a father. I’ve always heard that I would be a good father because of how good I was with children, but now it’s my turn to prove it.
What does it mean to be a good father? Everyone will have a different definition, but most of the attributes will be similar. I truly believe that it will be up to my children to determine if I am a good father or not. I will use both good and bad experiences to shape how I teach. Things I liked, and things that I didn’t like and do the opposite. This is not a task that I take lightly. I have a responsibility to give it my all. I will need to teach through actions and words. Something my own father has done. If my son is anything like me, those actions will kick in without him even noticing and he’ll look back and be thankful for the lessons.
I’m going into this with the understanding that my child is a child. They will do “childlike” things. They will be curious, test limits and explore. I have to give them the freedom to do so without making them feel less than. This world will do enough of that for him. The last thing he needs is his father, someone who is supposed to be his safe haven, to crush him as well.
What is right and wrong is something I want to teach my son. I want to teach him to appreciate things. I want to teach him how to understand his emotions and be comfortable with them. I want to teach him to be mannerable. He needs to be self- aware. I want to teach him to be kind and respectful. I want to teach him what it means to do good work, and to take pride in that. As he grows, there will be lessons he will learn on his own through experience, and I want to be there to help him along as he figures it out. I will have to teach him how the world works. How things may rarely be fair. That the “good guys” don’t always win, contrary to what books, games and movies may say. The world can be cruel, and I must prepare him for that.
I will be open-minded about him. I understand that the world is changing and he will be his own person. He will not grow up like I did and he may not be like me at all, and I have to accept that. That being said, I cannot live vicariously through him. I have to be supportive of what he likes and what brings him happiness. I will love him unconditionally. He may do things to upset and disappoint me, but the love that I provide will not be contingent upon that.
My task is great, but one that I’m more than willing to take on. I owe a great deal to my father for laying this out for me, and now it’s my turn to lay it out for my son ... I’m ready!
Thank you for joining me for Friday at Sundown. Remember… Just Breathe!
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