That’s right! Life will never be the same. My wife and I are expecting our first child at the end of October, and already I am plagued with a consistent anxiety about how best to prepare for fatherhood.
Inevitably, I have spent the last couple of months thinking about the fathers in my life. While my own father passed away when I was quite young, I have a wealth of wonderful memories and experiences to draw from his example.
Questions about fatherhood
But I’m also thinking through other fathers who I interact with, like mentors I’ve had through the years or close relatives. Now, several of my friends are young fathers and trying to figure out what it means to be a daddy in the modern era. Together, we are asking questions such as: How do I provide a life of hope for my child? What choices and decisions do I need to make in order to give my child a life of opportunity?
As I begin to explore the meaning of fatherhood, I’ve also started to think about the fathers I have interacted with in the Global South. Working at Food for the Hungry, I have the opportunity to meet wonderful people from around the world. But it also forces one to ask really tough questions.
What type of life would I hope for my child in those countries?
What choices and liberties would I be afforded so that I could do all that is in my power to provide my child with opportunities?
Do you see the similarity between these sets of questions? For me, this drives home a feeling of solidarity with fathers everywhere.
In one way, I feel as if I am being ushered into a global club of fatherhood. A proud soon-to-be papa! But in another, more solemn way… I feel a sense of responsibility to help father’s around the world have the opportunity to dream and provide for their children, just as I am today.
FH supports fathers
Food for the Hungry walks with fathers around the world by helping them meet the physical and spiritual needs of their own families. Agricultural training allows fathers to provide nutritious food, while also providing them income-generating opportunities. Child sponsorship gives a family the opportunity to send their child to school without added financial burden on the family. Church strengthening programs seek to make spiritual leaders out of fathers and promote biblical worldview within their homes.
As I’ve contemplated my new-found solidarity with fathers everywhere and prepared for my world to be rocked by a small person – I’ve come to an understanding that fatherhood is something to be supported, not owed. It is not my right to be a dad. It is my responsibility. And just as I have a responsibility to be a father to my yet-to-be born baby, I believe we are called to support fathers everywhere in their heart-felt attempts of being to best dads they can be.
Thinking differently about Father’s Day
This Father’s Day… my first (almost) Father’s Day… I am thinking about those fathers around the world that struggle to provide for their children. More than just making his breakfast or buying him some clothes, Father’s Day needs to be about supporting fathers everywhere to be super dads! And that means providing them with opportunities, skills and resources.
I am both excited and (obviously) extremely nervous for this next chapter in my life. But I know I have the support of friends and family as I quest to be a good dad. Let’s make sure that dads with fewer opportunities know that we support them as well.