I asked the fathers of Sunrise Montessori this past week to respond to a survey asking two questions, “What’s easy and what’s hard about being a dad?” FANTASTIC answers, by the way, thank you, guys! Some responses were funny, some bittersweet (I may have teared up, I dare you not to!), and all are very Dad-ish. I also roped my husband, Rob, to add his two cents on being a dad, which I’ll fill you in on at the end. So as Pat Benator said, let’s get down to it!
What’s the easy part of being a dad?
The most common response was a variation on a theme, like this one from Gregory Milks, “Walking in from work or seeing my son’s face immediately light up with joy.” Sunrise Dads made it clear over and over that love from their child and loving them is an effortless pleasure. Awww!
Here are some others about love:
“The easiest thing about being a dad is loving my child and creating a special bond.” – Martin
“Giving and receiving lots of hugs and kisses. Also, hearing my daughter say ‘Dada!!!’ while she smiles from ear to ear.” – Anonymous
“I have a 2 year old and a 25 year old. The easiest part of being their dad is simply loving them both.” – Anonymous
“Before my daughter was born, I figured she would fill my heart to bursting. I was wrong. It grew 4 sizes and then almost exploded.” – Anonymous
In a different twist compared to our mom survey for Mother’s Day (which I wrote a post about you can read here), our Sunrise dads mentioned responsibilities quite a bit along with the FUN of being a dad!
“The thing I find most easy about being a dad is looking for teachable moments so I can try my best to mentor my kids and develop them into kind and driven individuals. They make it easy by always asking questions and exploring boundaries.” – Adam Dittman
“Being a kid again, with your kid! It’s amazing to share the same interest and have fun together doing something you love.” – Marcus Graham
What’s the hard part about being a dad?
Responsibility was mentioned several times by Sunrise fathers. They worry a lot about doing things right. They also brought up their fears of not being the dad their child needs. I found their replies extremely thoughtful and insightful.
“Being a good dad is the hard part. No one really has the perfect formula for it, you have to write it in pencil as you go so you can erase what isn’t working and try something new.” – Matt Hejnicki
“Accepting that your kids may not want to be the kids you dreamed they’d be….you don’t want to play soccer? You don’t want to ride a bike? You don’t like this song I am playing for you? Accepting parental upbringing is only a minimal impression on their lives and the people they will be is hard.” – Brian Cass
“The day my daughter will realize I don’t know everything and I am not superman.” – Kailash
“I’m late 40’s, so the energy levels are way different than a 5 year old.” – Aaron Schmidt
“Not having enough time with my wife.” – Anonymous
“Separating being a dad and a best friend……Children need parental guidance not just a Friend.” – Mark Byrns
“The thing I find hardest about being a dad is balancing my roles as a father, husband, personal and work life. It’s easy to devote all my time and attention to my kids (mostly because they demand it). I often have to remind myself to make time to continue to develop my relationship with my wife as well as make time for myself.” – Adam Dittman
“Wanting to just keep them safe and protected physically, mentally and in their hearts.” – Anonymous
Don’t worry, Sunrise Dads! From what we see while caring for and teaching your children, you are doing everything right. 🙂
Rob’s take on being a father
So as promised, I’m going to share what Rob said about being a dad, which is a little different from most of our Sunrise dads because our son is 17 years old. The easy part of being John’s dad? “The dad jokes. And getting my son’s eyes to roll from said dad jokes.” The hard part? “Knowing whether or not I’ve made a positive impact on him. There are all these life lessons I’ve been trying to impart and I don’t know if they are getting absorbed or just bouncing off.” I also asked him, now that he’s at the tail end of being a parent to a “child,” what has surprised him about being a father looking back? “It’s hard to watch John make mistakes and not help him because he needs to grow from the experience and I need to know that he can handle himself.” I think the reason Rob isn’t sure if his influence has been impressionable is because John is performing well at his role of teenager. 😉 It’s like pulling teeth to have any sort of discussion or get information out of him. How do I combat that? By throwing him into social situations with other people when I’m around, like we’ll be doing this 4th of July by spending it with Rob’s sister’s family. Rob and I practically make popcorn and pull up a seat when he’s interacting with other humans; we just so BADLY want to know what’s going on in his brain, to witness the current prototype. Just like the first couple years of any child’s life, a teenager changes quite a bit over a short period of time.
Rob also said, “It’s been fun watching him go through all of the stages of development and see him morphing into a man, knowing that I played a small part in it.” Small?!? I think that fathers underestimate their significance. You Dads don’t give yourself nearly enough credit. You are SO important to your child!
The last thing I asked Rob was to tell me what he loves most about John. He said, “I love his drive. When he makes up his mind to do something, he makes it happen. He is a determined, smart, resourceful individual with qualities that I wish I had and I’m very proud to have helped raise a son who has so much potential to be an amazing adult.” Rob and I have a close friend, Dan Carlson, who said something once that I think about often. He said that he became a better father when he was the dad that each of his children needed, not the dad that he wanted to be or that society or culture pressured him to be. What’s so incredibly awesome about dads is that they are so good at seeing the forest for the trees. They’re also pretty handy on a grill or fixing things around the house. A win-win for families everywhere! Thank you, Dads, for being YOU.
Rob and John, this morning, after a pancake-and-bacon Father’s Day breakfast