Dad is more inclusive than those that have spawned their own mini people. A Dad is anyone who’s taken on the role and responsibility to mentor, lead, and love someone, or multiple someones, from the next generation. It’s the Coach that teaches little league baseball and genuinely cares about those kids’ growth. It’s the Veteran who takes the rookie under his wing to teach him the ropes. It’s the Stepdad who finds himself caring for kids who need him more than he knows. It’s the fun Uncle, the Committed Teacher, and the dependable Church Leader, among countless others. Dad isn’t just something that you become one day, it’s something that you aspire for and work towards, because you understand that the power and influence of a good “Dad” can change the world.
You wear lots of hats in your life, but arguably the most important one you wear, or aspire to wear, is the Dad hat. Sure it’s not your best looking, or best smelling, hat. But you wear this hat with pride. You don’t go home after a long day of work just to take the rest of the day off. You know that the real work, the lasting work, begins the second you walk through that door. So you prepare yourself on the drive home. You intentionally let the worries of the day fade away as you get ready to influence and teach the next generation how to be kinder, stronger and more capable than this one. You put a smile on your face and walk through that door with open arms, embracing those little, or big, turds with all the love you can muster, so that they have no doubt in the world that their Dad loves them with all his heart. You don’t look at the smears of goldfish and yogurt you’re now covered in as stains to be treated, but rather as trophies to be cherished, given by those endlessly loving and forgiving humans you helped create, albeit briefly. You endure fits, fights, mood-swings, puberty and adolescence with patience and perspective, knowing that all of these are simply requests to be understood and loved unconditionally. Sure you have hard days, screw ups, and even break downs from time to time. But you never, ever give up on being the best damn dad that you can be. Because you know that the most important “work” you’ll do in this life is within the walls of your own home.