At one point, I knew I was the smartest person in the world. I knew more than anyone else, especially my parents. I was about 14. It was at that time that I also decided I never wanted kids.
It’s funny to see how much I’ve learned since then. My kids – Abigail, 8, Amalie, 4 and Andon, 1 – have taught me much of it.
The chemical and spiritual change that occurred in my life the second I met my first child brought about a different perspective altogether.
But living amidst their honest and innocent simplicity has taught me new lessons as well.
I’ve learned that smiling is of paramount importance. Children read our faces and what they see there moves them. One way or another.
I’ve learned that spending time with my babies is so much more important than staying late at work or cleaning up or doing laundry.
I’ve learned that each one of them speaks a different language, and responds to different things – and each one of them deserves my attention to figure out what makes their world go ‘round.
I’ve learned that love is one of the things that matters to all children, and each child in this world deserves to be loved.
And in this, I’ve learned that I need to tell my kids and show them that I love them – even on the hard days.
I’ve learned that it’s just fine to have bacon, eggs, pancakes and ju-jubes for supper once in a while. And it’s just as OK to stop, out of the blue, to grab ice cream cones. Surprises make my babies smile like nobody’s business!
I’ve learned that the moments I spend with my children are the ones I will never regret, and the moments I chose to do something else are ones I’ll never be able to claw back.
I’ve learned that I need to fight for them, and I need to protect them, and I need to guide them, and I need to teach them. But I’ve also learned that I can only do so much in each of those areas, because I also have to let them learn to fly on their own.
I’ve learned how my heart feels when it breaks – when I see my baby feeling pain – physically, emotionally, whatever.
I’ve learned that I would give my life for any of them, in a heartbeat, without having to think about it.
I’ve learned that all the minute details that bore us adults are what really matter to my kids. And that knowing how important the little things are and showing them you care makes a big difference in their day.
I’ve learned that my kids are worth buying new crayons for, so they never have to color with dull crayon tips.
And I’ve learned that my life is blessed. Each little life, that I have been entrusted with, that was given to me, with eyes that look up at me and trust me and say to me: “Daddy, I know you will never let anything happen to me” – each of them is a blessing that is worth a thousand of my lives.
I only hope I can remember all that I have learned from them – because each of these things will make me a better person, a better husband and a better daddy.
I’m the husband to my dream girl and co-founder of 3 children – Abigail, 8; Amalie, 4 and Andon, 1. I’m a dad that’s very grateful for the opportunity to raise his children, and one that counts his blessings each day.
I’m no expert in this field, and neither is anyone else. The only thing that makes me knowledgeable is the fact that I was able to procreate and the time I’ve spent dealing with the damage that’s done. We are all dealt a similar hand, and I believe most fathers do their absolute best in raising their children. I try my best to raise my children to be strong individuals that love the people around them, stand up for what they believe in and do right in the world. I believe it’s our job to ensure our kids always feel safe and loved, and I try never to forget that as I’m teaching my kids, I can also learn from them.
NextGen Speaks Out, our guest blogging series, is envisioned as a hub for information and discussion. NextGen is a non-political, non-denominational organization focused on giving all nextgeners a voice. NextGen does not represent the opinions expressed by the individual columnists.