When my son thrust this pencil inches from my face and posed the question to me that was etched on it. I was unsure if it was done in the spirit of good natured sarcasm or in the spirit of sincere discovery. But, I found myself doing a deep dive into the annals of reflection about it.
When my son came into this world; he saved me from an addiction that very well could have consumed me if left unabated. At that juncture of my life I was suffering from an dangerous addiction to myself that was powered by a high octane version of immaturity. Selfishness is a toxin that feels good going down, but ultimately leaves you with nothing to show for it. I was convinced of the reality that the world revolved around me and me alone.
Impending fatherhood was a journey that initially filled me with a sense of uncertainty. I remember having a conversation with my father that provided me with some perspective that I sorely needed, telling me:
“it isn’t about you anymore son, you’re living for someone else now.”
It was a sobering feeling to acknowledge the fact that the world did and would not revolve around me anymore.
Soon enough, I had that long awaited moment of reckoning, as I stood transfixed in the delivery room and bearing witness to the miracle of life, it was something that was nothing short of awe inspiring… I stood there speechless, with my mind racing at the speed of life; wondering -now what?
Now that time has left me gasping for my breath, I am light years away from that nervous 20 something year old man. I wholeheartedly welcome any sacrifice that I need to make for my son; I cherish this honor of being Dad to this young man – I wouldn’t trade it for the world. When I think of people that abdicate their duty as parents, the only thing that I could think could power such an action is mental illness, but that is a topic for another time.
With that being said, I have been on the receiving end of my son teaching me a host of lessons during our journey together. The selfless dedication that your children provide you with is a fuel that empowers you to do amazing things, especially when they are at the age of pure innocence.
This innocence serves as ambrosia of sorts that unfortunately runs its course, as that wide eyed little person that believes that you are capable of amazing feats morphs into a teenager that sees your flaws in all their splendor.
Thankfully, this young man has redeemed my faith in this upcoming generation with his appreciation of what is truly important; securing education as a tool of empowerment; his undying love for music.
I feel extremely fortunate, being a party to his becoming an amazing jazz guitarist before my very eyes and his uncanny ability to march to the beat of his own drummer, while seemingly being impervious to peer pressure.
More importantly my son is my hero because he has willed me to dig deep within myself in an ongoing effort to be a better human being.
Sadly, there are some men that make the error of contributing their biological information – as being “Dad”. However, I’ve learned that being Dad requires putting in the time and EARNING it, not unlike an enlisted person who moves through the ranks to earn the right to be called: Sargent, Lieutenant, Captain or General.
This is why my son is my hero.
He has been the conduit in helping me to earn the highest title that I can ever expect to receive…