Twenty-seven years ago today, I became a father for the second time. The event of my beloved son’s birth served as another major wake-up call for me: as I held that baby for the first time, I kidded around, but I was struck with a deep realization that I was a grown-up. And that I better act like one.
“Your name is Stephan,” I told my minutes-old son, after they’d wiped him off enough to hand him to his dad. “My name is Dad, I’ll be your father. That exhausted lady over there is Mom. She’ll be your mother. Welcome to the world.”
I was only 23 that morning, a married man and father of two. I was working two jobs and trying to start a business on the side, and all of that still brought in barely five figures a YEAR to support my growing family. I was probably already much more “adult” than other guys my age; back then, 23-year-old guys played video games, smoked dope, picked up chicks in discos and bars, bought new cars they couldn’t afford, and generally did the things kids from 17 to 30 still do today. I did none of those things. I worked, and I played with my babies.
But around the time Stephan was born, I began to realize something that I think 95 percent of parents (the good ones) realize shortly after they become parents: it’s time to grow up. You’re a dad now – it’s not all about you. Every decision you make has to have enough steel in it to stretch into the future, to bend without breaking, maybe, but to support those kids. Your job is to make the most you can of yourself, so that you can focus on your top priority: coaching those kids. Helping them become the sort of adults who will someday want to make the most of themselves.
I think hard times can serve as the same sort of wake-up call. These days, we don’t have some of the luxuries we had even three years ago, and those easier times won’t be coming back soon. So each of us has to have the personal responsibility to firmly commit to being strong.
If you haven’t already done so, think about what commitments you can make to yourself to strengthen your character and reinforce your future with a little of that steel. Commit to your health: you need your strength and energy. Commit to your wealth: you need to put as much “grain” into the silo as you can, now, before things get REALLY bad. Commit to your relationships: strengthen them now, so they can weather the coming storms (hardships make people fight who don’t really want to). And commit to your own inspiration: find ways to stay turned on about your life.
I’m happy to say I see my 27-year-old son making those sorts of commitments – and keeping them – when others his age are busy playing video games. And while he and his brother and sisters have given me more joy and fun in my life than I ever dreamed possible, they’ve grown me up while they kept me young. As inspiration goes, you just can’t beat that.
It’s The Parents Who Must Grow Up Fast
by Michael D. Hume, M.S.
Michael Hume is a speaker, writer, and consultant specializing in helping people maximize their potential and enjoy inspiring lives. As part of his inspirational leadership mission, he coaches executives and leaders in growing their personal sense of well-being through wealth creation and management, along with personal vitality.
About The Author:
Michael and his wife, Kathryn, divide their time between homes in California and Colorado. They are very proud of their offspring, who grew up to include a homemaker, a rock star, a service talent, and a television expert. Two grandchildren also warm their hearts! Visit Michael’s web site at http://michaelhume.net