The Fear of Messing This Thing Up

Eight months.

As a dad, I have fears. Something I have learned in life is that when I say my fears out loud (or “type them out loud”), I can get a better handle on them, putting them into their proper perspective.  It’s my way of controlling my fears instead of them controlling me.

I’ve written before here on The Dadabase about my fear of not being able to financially provide for my family, as well as my fear of being responsible for my son being seriously injured or killed. But today, instead of focusing on a financial or physical issue, my featured fear is a psychological one: It’s my fear that I will somehow “mess up” my son.

I get it. No parent is perfect or has this whole parenting thing all figured out, so I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. I know; part of what helps us mature and have realistic expectations in life is when we are forced to be strong.  And of course, any parent who would be sensitive enough to worry about somehow messing up their kid is the exact kind of parent who probably won’t mess up their kid. I am aware of all those things.

Still, the longer I am a parent, the more I realize my potential to really prohibit or injure my son’s full potential in life. Sometimes it just starts to really sink in that I’ve brought a human life into existence and that my decisions greatly effect how he turns out.  And he has a soul, too. So it’s not just an earthly issue, but an eternal one, as well.

God evidently believes in my capabilities more than I do.

It was one thing when I was a single guy with no peripherals. But now, every tiny and humongous choice I make can ultimately mold my son into the person he will become.

How did I become qualified to be so powerful and influential in both my son and my wife’s life? Like Jack Shephard on Lost, I often feel like I am a reluctant leader who realizes the seriousness of the role I must play, as others depend on me to do so.  I am so not qualified for this job.  So undeserving.

Instead of falling through the chaotic vacuum of life unconnected to anyone who needs my care, my love, my guidance, and my providence, in reality, I hold the hand of a beautiful woman and a magical son who depend on me.

They don’t care about my imperfections. They don’t care about how little money I make. They don’t care about the fact that I am lucky to just be one step ahead of the game of life each day, if that.

As a man, I understand the importance of not dwelling on these fears. I was wired to be strong. I was wired to say, “Here’s what we’re going to do…” when a new problem arises, then I make sure that the plan gets carried out. I can’t worry about the very real fact that I opened up the most cosmic can of worms when I became a husband and father.

My job is to create an atmosphere of confidence, strength, hope, and faith, despite the clusterfog that often surrounds my family of three. And regardless how I may feel about my lack of qualifications or merit, the fact that I stay intact and refuse to ever think about giving up on them is perhaps one of the greatest signs that I do indeed have what it takes.

Wow. I do feel better now.

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