Over the years, as the oldest of six children, I've come to realize that I've been training to be a father from a young age. To be honest, when I look back, rather than embracing it, I always felt a bit overwhelmed.
Now as the father of my own six children, I've learned a lot from my mother, who has to be the strongest person I know. I'm sure as kids we were all a handful but despite that she never gave in to the pressure and broke down. She just carried the load and did so mostly on her own.
My biological father and mother's relationship did not work out but she later married a wonderful man who became a father to me. He was a great sound example of Faith, Strength, Love, and what it means to be a Provider. However, he was not perfect. What I witnessed in him and my mother drives me to this day to be there for my family.
I'm also blessed enough to have married a woman who I believe embodies that same strength and dedication to her family as my mother does. Even with all the ways I was blessed and prepared for fatherhood, there are times when I feel inadequate. There are times when I have felt lost on how exactly to jump in and reinforce what my wife is trying to instill, so I just silently support. I'm certain that my children feel a strong sense of my love. Beyond love and the provisions I make for my family as a father and husband, I know there are other important connections that I may often miss. I take my kids to school and to practice and we do fun things and all, but teaching them life lessons, culture and traditions are also extremely important to me. Everything is about finding the time and prioritizing beyond the basics.
My kids are my greatest contribution to the world and they're on loan from the Almighty. I pray that I'll be able to instill in them the very best of me and that over time my love, influence, and wisdom will be useful to them in ways that I may not even understand. I'll go out on the limb and say that even though I love my father and he taught me a great deal, I'm not sure if he taught me how to be a great father.
He fathered me from the perspective of duty and charge. I want to father my children from a much more emotionally connected place. Both ways are needed. I'm still learning how to fully incorporate them but I want to succeed at fatherhood more than anything. The job is 24 hours and there are no days off from being your children's father. There is no blueprint for this.
Kindred the Family's Soul's latest album A Couple Friends, is out now.