LEAVE NO MAN BEHIND

LEAVE NO MAN BEHIND

Hello and welcome to a strange new world. You have traveled far through the desert, only to be met time and again by one empty oasis after another. You are lost and alone, wandering, wondering if someone, anyone, knows how you feel. And just when you think you can't go on, and no one could possibly understand your struggle, a hand reaches out to you, lifts you to your feet, and carries you to the promised land. He feeds you knowledge, shelters you from the self-righteous (and the ridiculous), and provides you with the tools you need to survive in this brave new world. You are a stranger in a strange land, but you are not alone. Let him be your guide. Follow closely as you travel together on this adventure of a lifetime. For now, you are a foreigner to "Fatherhood" but soon YOU will be the master of this realm.

"No Man is Expendable!"

This is Fodder 4 Fathers...

THE BIRTH OF SOMETHING GREAT : DELIVERING NEW DADS TO THE PROMISED LAND

This should have been my first post...

I'm not a preacher. I'm not a leader of men. I'm a small voice in a very large crowd trying to speak to someone, anyone who can benefit from what I have to say. I had dreams. I had hopes, many of which never materialized. It always seemed like I was waiting for something to show me the way, but it never came (the way I thought it would). I don't blame my parents. I don't blame society. I don't blame circumstance. At the end of the day, the only person a man can blame for his own misfortunes (not that I'm so hard done by) is himself, and the choices he makes. And, to paraphrase Mott the Hoople ("All the Young Dudes," 1972) if you're lucky enough, before it's too late, you will realize that the concrete walls that surround you, those insurmountable mountains you must climb, have only been in your head.

We spend so much time searching for our "destiny," (see Darth Vader) looking for meaning in all the wrong places, only to realize with age that trying to conquer the world won't bring you happiness when all you really needed to conquer was your own misguided thoughts. For, at the end of the day, success isn't about what you own or what you can buy, it's about the lives you touched in your very short time on this Earth...

I remember my older brother explaining it to me this way: "If everybody waited for the right time to have kids, no one would ever have them." I was a late bloomer. Married at 34, my 30-year-old wife couldn't wait to start a family (something about my old man balls needing a kick start if we waited too long), but like any man, I fought the inevitable. With me, it's never been about a fear of failure; I've always been more worried about success. So, when she told me at 35 that we needed to start trying for a baby because it would take at least six months to conceive, I should have listened to my instincts, or, at the very least, asked for a second opinion. One dose of "super sperm" later, and a pink plus sign from a dollar store pregnancy stick and I knew nothing would ever be the same. Time ran out, and it was time for Peter Pan to  leave the exciting fantasy world of Neverland and come back to reality.

It was my greatest fear come true - fatherhood! I wasn't who I thought I should be. I wasn't where I thought I needed to be? I wasn't the man I thought I ought to be, but the life growing inside my wife's waist-expanding womb told me, in no uncertain terms, that I better be more man than I had ever been if my child was ever going to have the father she deserved. It was a simple choice. You can either see it in one of two ways: You either look at it as the end of your life (the life you wasted chasing a dream that never materialized), or you can see it as the beginning of your life (the life you never knew you wanted until it presented itself). I chose the latter, and I've never looked back.

Good fathers aren't born, but they're not made either. It's a rarity to find a man who deems himself worthy of the title- but who likes a know-it-all anyway. Fatherhood is a struggle- every day- to fight one's own illusions (or delusions) about what it is to be a "man." It is a fight to be something that is unnatural to most, and unimaginable to all. It is a calling, a "rise to the occasion" occupation that is often without reward, where your bosses (your wife and child) don't care how you do it, they just want it done, and done now! For the newly initiated, you don't know it yet, but you have strengths in you that you can't even fathom - patience, and perseverance and problem-solving skills that you didn't even know you had. But you do. And they'll be put to good use.

I'm not a preacher. I'm not a leader of men. Again, I'm a small voice in a very large crowd trying to speak to someone, anyone who can benefit from what I have to say. Fatherhood, for those about to embark on a journey like no other, is not a four-letter word, and it's not the end of your hopes and dreams. It's a beginning, a clean slate, an opportunity to prove to yourself, your family, and the world-at-large that you are the man that you set out to be. But, in reality, you don't have to prove a damn thing to anybody expect that blue, chapped "conehead" staring back at you, begging as he clutches your forefinger with his goo covered little hand to be loved, and protected and put before all others, including yourself. You grew up believing that the world was yours for the taking, and that dream never dies, it just changes when you can finally see the world through another's eyes. We walk in to that delivery room as boys, and if we're lucky we get to leave as men. It's not an easy transition, I won't pretend, but the promised land is out there if you're willing... it's a leap of faith, my friend. May you be lucky enough to take it.  


Fodder 4 Fathers

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