Fatherhood is a ride

Fatherhood is a ride. Sometimes you think you’re doing it right. Sometimes you feel like you’ve failed your children.

You worry a lot. You work a lot. You watch them grow.

You find yourself overwhelmed with pride when you can see they’re maturing, and in the very same moment you find yourself wishing time would slow down because you already miss the child they were.

My son is so much like me.

He has a way with words that can charm when he’s using it for good and cut like a knife when he wants to hurt you. He can amaze you with his insight and intelligence one minute, then out of nowhere he will dumbfound you with his lack of common sense.

He is, of course, his own man with his own life to live, but the blueprints for him weren’t drawn much different than the blueprints that built me.

There’s a guilt to that. I feel bad when I am trying to teach him how to solve problems that I have yet to solve in myself.

I don’t hide my flaws from him. That would do neither of us any good.

When I see he’s made a choice out of laziness, I tell him, “You have to work really hard to fight your laziness. I’m telling you this because I’m a lazy person who’s learned the hard way.”

When I see that he’s distracted by the racing mind I gave him, I say, “You have to work really hard to stay in the moment and focus. I’m telling you this because I’ve lived too much of my life in my head.”

I tell him these things, and then I go back to my own lazy, distracted self.

Ultimately my goal is to raise a loving person. There’s a path of universal love that we can stay on with the choices we make. I hope he leaves me one day knowing that.

He is likely tired of hearing me say, “Is it loving to make your mother pick up your dirty clothes?” or “Is it loving to bully someone just to make you friends laugh?” and the often repeated “Is it loving to pee on the toilet seat?”

But eventually he will hear my voice in his head and ask himself if what he’s doing is loving.

Time will do the talking on my parenting. One day I hope I can see I raised a person who is better than the person I am. Until then, all I can do is try.

Try to love him enough. Try to teach him enough. Try not to be too hard on him or myself … and try to enjoy the ride.

Stults is a performing songwriter from Russellville.