Having a child is just the beginning of what it means to be a dad.
Once I heard it said that “when a child is born, a father is born, too.” It made me think. Indeed, as much life experience as I had at the age of 30, a new phase began in my life when my first daughter was born.
My day-to-day work began to require extra work at home. Taking care of our baby was something new for both my wife and me. We grew and went beyond our comfort zone. I courageously faced the first bath and the first fingernail cutting, and held our daughter while she got her vaccines. That’s how this new father was born.
Three years later, our second daughter arrived. I became a father for the second time, now with a bit more experience with the care a baby needs, but still definitely a new father for this new child.
Becoming a father meant I had a lot to learn. Books, talks, and conversations with people who had been fathers longer than I all have helped in my formation Plus, I learned a lot from the Bible.
In the Gospels, Jesus describes God as a merciful father. In the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), he tells us how, despite all the suffering caused by the younger son’s leaving home and his bad decisions, the father welcomes him back with love and compassion. In this way, Jesus teaches us that, as parents, we must always be ready to welcome our children with great love.
In another biblical passage, Jairus, the chief of the synagogue, asks Jesus to help his daughter who is sick. Jesus tells him to have faith, and the miracle happens in his house (Matthew 9:18-26). This text shows us that, as parents, we must always intercede for our children.
Another example is St. Joseph, who was the foster father of Jesus here on Earth. A man of few words and much action, he was able to take care of baby Jesus and his mother Mary.
When I became a father, I tried to draw even closer to God, renewing my faith, and asking St. Joseph to intercede for me in my mission as a father. It was also a moment for me to look back, on my own childhood. If I made it this far, it was because I also have a great father, who’s always at my side, and who holds nothing back to provide for his family’s comfort and well-being so they can grow in the harmonious atmosphere of a Christian home.
With the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and the example I received at home, I’m trying each day to become a better father for my daughters, who are now 19 and 16 years old.