top of page

Real Stories. Part 8: Learning To Dad

Intro by Liz Kent: So normally, I have a brave woman I know share their story about their motherhood journey on my blog once a month. But in honor of Father's Day tomorrow and International Father's Mental Health Day, my husband so wonderfully volunteered to write about his journey into fatherhood. (Okay, I had to ask him and he hesitantly obliged-he had no idea it was International Father's Mental Health Day and probably wasn't even thinking that much about Father's Day). I am lucky enough to have both a father and a husband who take their dad role seriously. Thus, I have had the amazing opportunity to witness the powerful experience of watching a man truly engage in parenting. We certainly don't parent exactly the same, but I know our kids are blessed to have a dad who loves them well. So without further ado, here is Jack Kent's story:

a son and father sharing a fun time together
Discover the heartfelt journey of a dedicated dad in 'Learning to Dad'. Join Jack Kent as he shares the joys, challenges, and realness of fatherhood.

Learning to Dad

My wife has this picture. It was taken roughly 24 hours after our first child was born, of him sleeping mostly naked on my bare chest. It's a sweet picture to most people who see it. The reality of that picture is different than the serenity you might imagine. In fact, I see despair, fear, and a deep sense of the unknown.

At that moment, our boy had screamed himself to exhaustion. My own efforts to console had failed miserably. You see, dads really only have 3 infant cards to play - (1) check/change diaper, (2) try to put to sleep, and (3) give to mom for feeding. That's it. My inability to solve the baby riddle with the tools I was equipped with was frustrating.

If I couldn't meet the needs of a 1-day old infant, how could I possibly provide for him later?

In cartoons, this is where the devil is on your shoulder whispering into your ear. But here's the reality: the question is a complete lie. Fatherhood is NOT about being everything to your children, or about provision, or about solving problems. All of those are important, but not foundational to being a father. Instead, fatherhood is love, honesty, presence, guidance, and much more. Sometimes fatherhood encourages a jump off the deck when mom's not looking. Sometimes it's playing tickle monster. There needs to be a "listen to your mother" once in a while.

The truth is that the scenario captured in that cute picture replays itself over and over. The context is different - a tough question, mean kids, injuries - and more often than not, I have no idea what I'm doing. No surprise there. But now, I know that things like love, presence and honesty... are enough. I don't want my kids to think I'm perfect because I'm not. I don't know all the answers, and I can't fix everything. I do want them to know I'm here for them and I love them. This is where the devil gets flicked off my shoulder.

Happy Father's Day.

I'll end with a dad joke: Did you hear the rumor about the butter? Well, don't look at me, I'm not going to spread it. I could've told a joke about pizza, but it would've been too cheesy... I'll stop now.


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page