Today on Facebook, I made a post that said, “it’s Father’s Day, and I enjoy being a Dad.” Upon further reflection, “enjoy” doesn’t quite capture it. I do enjoy being a Dad most of the time. Occasionally not. But the significance of being a Dad for me is bigger than whether I enjoy it. It’s difficult to describe, particularly because I don’t really know what I’d be like if I never became a father. But, I feel like it has made me more substantial as a person. This is a consequence of having a large responsibility and doing my level best, over a sustained period of time, to fulfill it. The returns on the effort are fantastic. The kids have gone from little bundles of perpetual neediness to full blown people whose company I really enjoy.
If it weren’t for family life, I feel like there’s a good chance my life would lack a lot of the depth I feel like it has now: working, drinking, golfing, and playing video games are fun for awhile, but they only take you so far. And, for what it’s worth, I’m speaking only for myself here. I’m sensitive to the fact that people have not had kids for a variety of reasons (e.g. can’t or have decided that’s not the choice for them.) Many of them, from what I can tell, are living lives that are plenty rich and deep. (For that matter, I’ve seen guys who are technically fathers but don’t seem to give a damn). But, for my part, I’m skeptical about what my life would look like now if I had not gone the family route. They make me better.