Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Expectations of a Father

It has been a few months since I've blogged. Blogging is something that I enjoy, but rarely find the time/creativity to put my thoughts into meaningful words. I could drone on and on about meaningless things, but for some reason I have this idea that everything I post needs to be thought provoking/engaging. I realize my last couple of posts of the 30 Day Challenge (which beat me!) were not life altering, but more of a small, surface level insight into myself. Even with those I felt like I needed to entertain you, my 12 readers.

The events of the past couple of weeks have shaken my role as a father almost as much as when I realized we were pregnant. In a jail/prison hundreds of miles from here sits a man who changed the lives of many, many people in a single day. Jared Loughner, a troubled man, shot, killed, and wounded over a dozen people in Arizona last week. Before Jared was a killer, distressed teenager, or high school dropout he was just a little boy. A little boy that didn't show immense anger, resentment, or any other signs that he would some day go on a shooting spree killing and wounding so many. I imagine he was a little boy much like Grayson. That his father had a lot of feelings I have for Grayson- helpless when he is sick, excitement about what he'll become in life, fear of not doing enough or doing too much for his son.

The other night I was holding Grayson, and he started to look at me in the eyes, going deeper and deeper into my soul. I couldn't help but feel such a strong, spiritual connection with him. It was almost like he was saying "I love you", having not uttered his first word yet. Even when just thinking about it again, I get shaken up. I become overwhelmed with a sense of love and accomplishment, but also that my role as a father isn't finished. With all of the well wishes and expectations I have for Grayson I am still shaping the beginning of his path. That my job is to set him up for a life full of love, accomplishment and prosperity.

Do you think this is any different that what Jared's father felt? Do you think there was anything different about Jared's upbringing? It is next to impossible for us to know. There are so many small things in a child's life that impact his path. I just can't help but wonder what happened to Jared for him to be full of so much hate that he did all of this. Because I fear whatever happened during his childhood wasn't anything big or of major consequence my desire for Grayson is that his upbringing is one that sets him up to succeed, to be emotionally stable. I must be a father with Grayson's interest at heart 100% of the time. I must protect him against the things that will be thrown at him, that will challenge his stability and love for the world. I must provide for, and help build him up so he resists the path of Jared and others like him. Grayson loves everyone, and really enjoys so many different people. I hope whatever happens that never changes.

I am not writing any of this in defense of Jared Loughner, his parents, or any other psychotic people/ideology thats involved. Just sharing how becoming a father has changed how I process different situations. Before Grayson I would have been sad for the families. But because I am entrusted with Grayson I feel a huge sense of weight to make sure he doesn't go down a similar path.

My prayers go out to the victims and their families. A special prayer for all of my fellow parents asking that we all find a learned lesson in this tragedy - that while we cannot control everything our children do, but that we can start them off on a path of love and acceptance.

Best Gift of 2010 ~ Grayson Thomas


Pam said...

wow. This post is so powerful, Joe. Thank you for sharing your very personal thoughts. I can not imagine how it feels to be trusted with another life... to be responsible for that babys upbringing and to have that weight. Grayson is so blessed to have you.

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