20 Comments


  1. Jason, writing that blog post was evidence enough that you did know how to be a great father to your kids. I think we are very lucky to live in a time when more people are writing about what’s important to them so that others can share in it. It’s also a time when we as fathers are more open to thoughts, ideas, and actions that our own fathers may have found foreign or uncomfortable to express. I grew up with a great dad, but he never would have shown or expressed his vulnerabilities. Here’s what I wrote to my 4-year-old son in 2001:

    One day, you will understand these things.

    You will understand what soft is. You will understand what clean smells like. You will understand tenderness.

    You will understand what it’s like to be protective. You will know what it’s like to have another person be completely dependent upon you. You will look in the eyes of your child and see unconditional love, trust, and devotion. You will feel those things too. You will feel real responsibility for the first time. You will understand how unconditional love can make every problem you have disappear.

    You will understand what it’s like to laugh, and cry, with pure joy. You will understand how innocence can be compromised, and how it can heal. You will understand how to give love at times when it is needed most, and at times when it’s not needed at all.

    You will understand the power of triggered memories. Memories like feeling the breadth of a small soft back with just the width of your hand. Memories of story time, of simple books with simple truths and snuggling in fuzzy pajamas. Memories of love expressed effortlessly through the greatest hug in the world from a four-year old. Memories of small voices calling you in from another room just to say, “I love you Daddy.”

    You will understand the contentment that can come from holding a small hand in yours as you smell the sweetness of spring in the air, run through the park on a summer day, walk through the autumn leaves, and pull a sled up the hill one more time.

    You will know why time is precious. You will understand that you will not live forever, that the things you find joy in now will change, that you need to make time for them when they present themselves, for they will never come again. You will look around you and appreciate all that you see changing before your eyes.

    You will long for the time when play was all that mattered. When make believe was more powerful than reality. You will see things come alive again through the eyes and in the hands of your child, and wonder will overtake you once more.

    You will understand how having the rest of your life ahead of you can change into days that pass as minutes. You will wake up one day and take stock of your life. You will ask yourself “What is my legacy?” And you will answer yourself based on how you are living your life. You will realize how little things can be significant and how seemingly big things are not.

    You will understand the sacrifices that were made, the unpleasant decisions, and the hard line that was drawn. You will understand why there were rules, and you will make your own, based upon what you have learned.

    You will understand much of what you do not now understand. And you will look back and be grateful. You will want to call, you will want to just sit and talk. You will want to spend time again, just being with your Dad.

    You will understand why I sometimes look at you with a wistful wet eye, and smile.
    You will understand what it is to be mature.
    You will understand what it is to be a man.
    You will understand what it is to be a father.


  2. Jason, writing that blog post was evidence enough that you did know how to be a great father to your kids. I think we are very lucky to live in a time when more people are writing about what’s important to them so that others can share in it. It’s also a time when we as fathers are more open to thoughts, ideas, and actions that our own fathers may have found foreign or uncomfortable to express. I grew up with a great dad, but he never would have shown or expressed his vulnerabilities. Here’s what I wrote to my 4-year-old son in 2001:

    One day, you will understand these things.

    You will understand what soft is. You will understand what clean smells like. You will understand tenderness.

    You will understand what it’s like to be protective. You will know what it’s like to have another person be completely dependent upon you. You will look in the eyes of your child and see unconditional love, trust, and devotion. You will feel those things too. You will feel real responsibility for the first time. You will understand how unconditional love can make every problem you have disappear.

    You will understand what it’s like to laugh, and cry, with pure joy. You will understand how innocence can be compromised, and how it can heal. You will understand how to give love at times when it is needed most, and at times when it’s not needed at all.

    You will understand the power of triggered memories. Memories like feeling the breadth of a small soft back with just the width of your hand. Memories of story time, of simple books with simple truths and snuggling in fuzzy pajamas. Memories of love expressed effortlessly through the greatest hug in the world from a four-year old. Memories of small voices calling you in from another room just to say, “I love you Daddy.”

    You will understand the contentment that can come from holding a small hand in yours as you smell the sweetness of spring in the air, run through the park on a summer day, walk through the autumn leaves, and pull a sled up the hill one more time.

    You will know why time is precious. You will understand that you will not live forever, that the things you find joy in now will change, that you need to make time for them when they present themselves, for they will never come again. You will look around you and appreciate all that you see changing before your eyes.

    You will long for the time when play was all that mattered. When make believe was more powerful than reality. You will see things come alive again through the eyes and in the hands of your child, and wonder will overtake you once more.

    You will understand how having the rest of your life ahead of you can change into days that pass as minutes. You will wake up one day and take stock of your life. You will ask yourself “What is my legacy?” And you will answer yourself based on how you are living your life. You will realize how little things can be significant and how seemingly big things are not.

    You will understand the sacrifices that were made, the unpleasant decisions, and the hard line that was drawn. You will understand why there were rules, and you will make your own, based upon what you have learned.

    You will understand much of what you do not now understand. And you will look back and be grateful. You will want to call, you will want to just sit and talk. You will want to spend time again, just being with your Dad.

    You will understand why I sometimes look at you with a wistful wet eye, and smile.
    You will understand what it is to be mature.
    You will understand what it is to be a man.
    You will understand what it is to be a father.


  3. Paul, that is beautiful and touching and fits nicely into what I wrote. I’ll make sure when Grant is old enough, he comes back to read this. Thanks for sharing that. Great way to start a day with the boy and girl.


  4. Paul, that is beautiful and touching and fits nicely into what I wrote. I’ll make sure when Grant is old enough, he comes back to read this. Thanks for sharing that. Great way to start a day with the boy and girl.


  5. Thanks for sharing this, Jason. I remember well the fears as a new father, and I live daily with the anxieties of being a further-down-the-road father. One huge plus: kids are very forgiving. And often (until they turn about 13 or so), somewhat oblivious to our many failings…


  6. Thanks for sharing this, Jason. I remember well the fears as a new father, and I live daily with the anxieties of being a further-down-the-road father. One huge plus: kids are very forgiving. And often (until they turn about 13 or so), somewhat oblivious to our many failings…

  7. Mike Campbell

    I’m glad Chris liked your blog and that we got to see it today. I, too, have a three-year-old boy. It’s my favorite age. Of course when he was a newborn, that was my favorite age. When he was learning to walk, that was my favorite age. I’ve learned that my favorite age is whatever age my kids are right now. Thanks for the blog post.

  8. Mike Campbell

    I’m glad Chris liked your blog and that we got to see it today. I, too, have a three-year-old boy. It’s my favorite age. Of course when he was a newborn, that was my favorite age. When he was learning to walk, that was my favorite age. I’ve learned that my favorite age is whatever age my kids are right now. Thanks for the blog post.

  9. Roger

    “I can change a diaper. I don’t know if I can shape a mind.”

    Yep. This is spot on. I’ve been looking for a way to verbalize this sentiment.

  10. Roger

    “I can change a diaper. I don’t know if I can shape a mind.”

    Yep. This is spot on. I’ve been looking for a way to verbalize this sentiment.


  11. Wow. Wonderful post! And the comments are fantastic as well.

    Now that my daughter is older I see every day as my “Favorite Time” with her. I don’t miss her first 18 months (she hardly ever slept in all that time!) and she’s just as intense and sensitive as I am, but it all washed away when she first told me she loved me. When we first held hands.

    Pure joy; that’s what it’s all about.

    My fraternal-twin brother is thinking about having a child and what I tell him is that you have to really give up being selfish in order for it to work. That was the hardest part for me, giving up feeling like I was the center of the universe. :)

    I wish someone had told me what fatherhood was like. It’s possible to do, but I think no one does because they don’t want to scare you off from actually doing it!

    Again, thanks for the great encapsulation of the fatherhood experience.


  12. Wow. Wonderful post! And the comments are fantastic as well.

    Now that my daughter is older I see every day as my “Favorite Time” with her. I don’t miss her first 18 months (she hardly ever slept in all that time!) and she’s just as intense and sensitive as I am, but it all washed away when she first told me she loved me. When we first held hands.

    Pure joy; that’s what it’s all about.

    My fraternal-twin brother is thinking about having a child and what I tell him is that you have to really give up being selfish in order for it to work. That was the hardest part for me, giving up feeling like I was the center of the universe. :)

    I wish someone had told me what fatherhood was like. It’s possible to do, but I think no one does because they don’t want to scare you off from actually doing it!

    Again, thanks for the great encapsulation of the fatherhood experience.




  13. do you guys change diapers? I tried but it only ends up hurting my boy lol 😀


  14. do you guys change diapers? I tried but it only ends up hurting my boy lol 😀


  15. do you guys change diapers? I tried but it only ends up hurting my boy lol 😀


  16. do you guys change diapers? I tried but it only ends up hurting my boy lol 😀


  17. do you guys change diapers? I tried but it only ends up hurting my boy lol 😀

  18. Justin

    i have been a stepfather for 6
    Yeas. I came into my son life
    When he was just a month old.
    From that point on i learned how to be a dad, but i am about to
    Have my vary own child. On june
    24 2011 my little girl will be
    Born. I have never been more
    Scared in my life than i am now.
    I have had so many emotions
    Running through my mind, its
    Hard to think about anything else. I know they say grown men are not supposed to cry, but i would have to say that i have come
    Close to doing just that. I still
    Have no idea what i am doing.
    But i know i will have a great
    Time being a new farther and a
    Dad to my stepson.

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