Today, a lot of people are skipping parenthood. They would rather keep chasing their own pursuits. If they want to leave a legacy at all, they want to leave it through work.
I can understand that to some extent. Life is short, wild, and full of possibilities. We have only so much time to spend, and no one person can do or have it all. You have to choose whether you want kids, a career, adventures, riches, fame, lots of friends, a wife, a long line of sexual conquests, a portfolio of art, a handful of discoveries, inventions with your name on them… your values will tell you which are the best choices. Some are objectively better choices than others, but most are not more wise decisions than the alternatives.
Having children is a choice that will require a lot of energy, a lot of time, and a lot of focus. You have to be willing to accept quite a few trade-offs, and (if you want to be even a remotely worthy parent) be unselfish for a large portion of your life. It requires that you cultivate patience, wisdom, and a lifelong relationship with one special, well-chosen woman. The rewards are not guaranteed, you can’t just be a parent and expect your child to love you back unconditionally; you have to work hard at being a good parent. You have to fill your child’s life with love and understanding, to teach them to be a good and wise person, and hope that in the end, they choose to love you back as much as you love them.
I can’t tell you when or why I decided I want to be a father. On some levels, I always wanted a child. I love learning, and watching other people learn, so why wouldn’t I want the joy of seeing a person learn and grow from the very beginning, and foster that learning every way I could? Your Opa was an amazing father; loving, kind, and joyous. Being a dad meant the world to him,and it made him happy. Seeing his example makes me believe that nothing could be more joyous.
Like all things, in the end, this is something you will have to decide for yourself – do you want children? Is parenting worth it? Would you rather make a mark on the world some other way? Or are you one of those rare and strange men who don’t care if they leave a mark at all?
Human life is a dance of mayflies – we are gone before we know it. It’s only through our children and our deeds that we leave any sign that we were there at all. We have only a short time to decide what is worthy and meaningful. I have faith that if I do my best, you will choose well.