Honestly, I have a lot to be thankful for in November. A wedding anniversary, the birthdays of both daughters, and a restful holiday all in one month. Seeing the chocolate covered smiles on my young daughters as they inhaled birthday cake recently reminded me of something: My work involves turning men into fathers every day. Be it through lifestyle changes, medical treatments, vasectomy reversals or sperm retrievals, babies are born and the wonderful thank you notes that pour into the office are constant reminders of this.
Funny thing is, when a newly minted father looks me in the eye and asks “Any advice on being a Dad?” it is difficult to know what to say. Besides spouting the usual keywords like “love, fairness and consistency,” I find that it’s all so very personal, isn’t it? In fact, after our two daughters were born (one now 7 and the other 2), I actually asked my wife a similar question (as told in a recent limerick at their birthday party):
I remember asking Ashley,
With a voice somewhat ghastly,
“How do you raise girls?!?”
You see, boys are more straight-forward.
Toss them a truck, glove or sword,
And they’ll run until they’re silly,
Occasionally fiddling with their willy.
But girls are different to be sure.
Their love of pink just has no cure.
Their carriage, dance and elocution,
Suggest an entirely different evolution.
Then came Sophia, wise beyond her years,
A beauty towering above her peers,
A joker, a sport, a musician, an angel,
I am counting the hearts that she will mangle.
And then there’s Vanessa, mystic goddess with dimples,
Whose world is clear-cut and oh so simple.
Yet, behind the pacifier there lurks a smile,
That portends a woman of substantial guile.
“You raise them the same.” Ashley said to me.
“But you’ll turn to butter when they want things…you’ll see.”
So readers, help me out. What are the three most important traits of a good father?