Last year, I wanted to write something about my father, so I did. I don't think it did him justice, but I'm not sure I could write a blog post that did my father justice. A book, maybe.
This year, I want to write about being a father.
I was a father last year, but it was different. Very new and fresh. My son was a little over three months old at the time, and mostly interested in eating and sleeping. I have a lot of fond memories of serving as a bed during those months, but it is very different a year later.
Now, he is a little person. While he's not quite walking and talking, he's working on it, and he certainly finds ways to communicate. He has (sometimes very strong) opinions. He laughs and cries and goes through the whole range of human emotion. It's quite amazing.
Being a father changes you. The depth of emotion that my son can produce in me is unlike anything I have experienced. I rarely say this, but I'm not sure it's an experience that can be appreciated without being a parent. I certainly know of no other comparable experience.
This being a martial arts blog: being a father changes your perspective on training as well. At least, it's changed mine. I am now far more concerned about the long haul. It's easy to be cavalier about injury or danger when you have only yourself to worry about. When you know that you need to be there for someone else, someone who is completely and utterly dependent on you...you start thinking differently. What you value changes. Longevity matters more. So do ideas about tradition, value, and respect. Again, it's easy to dismiss those when you're just thinking about yourself. When you start really thinking about the next generation (because you're raising the next generation), that stuff suddenly matters more. I'm not planning to insist on everyone calling me by fancy titles or showing obeisance to me at every turn...but the idea that certain values ought to be passed on crosses my mind now more often than it used to.
I've started seeing new things as well. I listened to Coach Blauer talking about the 3 P's principle at a CrossFit Defense course back in February, and I noticed something in the story that I thought was new (it had to do with his kids). When I asked him about it, he smiled and said "that's not new. I always say that...you were just never a father before."
It's an exciting new perspective to have.