On Thursday, January 22nd, I became a father. Life hands us many unfathomably incredible experiences as we live it, but none can compare to seeing life that you halved the responsibility in making come into existence in this world. I must be forthright and admit, I was warned by many. I was told it would be an amazing experience. I was told it has to be lived to be understood. I was told I would be overwhelmed with emotion. But I don’t think I was told the real truth. Nobody warned me what it was really going to be like.
Nobody told me…
-your wife becomes an even closer treasure as she shares your joy in parenthood
-you’ll lose the capacity to speak when holding your child for the first time
-there is no chance you’re not thinking about him every waking moment
-no obstacle seems insurmountable if overcoming it means his life will be made better
-you think about him and you lose the ability to stop a smile
-you see a portion of your living purpose rise and fall with each breath he takes
-there is no greater pride than that which lives because he does
-sustaining his life is the greatest cause you will champion in your life
I was thinking about this tonight as I was driving to pick up some needed baby supplies, and I found that in simply ten minutes of his absence, I missed him incredibly. And then I realized, my experience is not unique. It is something hopefully every parent has the joy of living. And it means something beyond just my own indescribable emotions.
As I was reflecting, I was struck by the thought that this experience was sustained by every parent of the roughly 10,000 students being educated in the district where I work. And in that moment, I was overwhelmed.
Each of those parents entrusts me and my colleagues with that which they most dearly treasure. They trust us to do what is best for their children. Someday in the near future, I will place my trust in the same way in those who will endeavor to educate my son. It suddenly brings a great sense of focus to my professional purpose.
I am the Instructional Technology Coordinator for a school district in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. My job exists so that I might bring vision, clarity, and purpose to the utilization of technology in a student’s learning experience. We are all aware of just how important this has become in the age in which we live.
My son’s birth has brought with it an unexpected sense of clarity. A focus on what is important. I’ve been caught up in some very insightful, meaningful discussions lately, but I’m beginning to wonder if it isn’t time to disengage a bit from that space. I know there were several very powerful, purposeful conferences that took place this past week, but I’m beginning to wonder if that’s where my attention should be.
So many are engaging in discussions that seem to be resounding loudly only as echoes against the walls of the chamber from which they are being contained. A cry for change is bellowed, but does the cry carry the weight and momentum necessary to exact real change? Are we focusing energy trying to move the immovable boulder rather than finding ways to push the pebbles we know we could push if we really wanted to?
Jen Wagner put it very succinctly recently with her challenge to move away from the circular discussions and put one foot in front of the other on a path of practical progress. I think that’s the direction in which I need to start moving. I have influence in areas of my life where more change could be manifested if I stopped thinking in global terms and started moving locally.
If I think of my own son, and consider that my passion and dedication to his life are truly multiplied 10,000 times over in my own district, I can readily find the motivation I need to keep fighting for what I believe is the best and in the best interest of the parents and students which I serve.
It’s time for me to readjust the focus and start seeing things through the lens of fatherhood. I believe this could be the view that changes many things for me in a very profoundly positive way.