You have something important to teach me: what it is to be a father.
I took the first of those lessons from my father, your Opa, who was a wonderful, kind, and loving father. He taught me how to laugh, how to be brave, how to love nature, how to love a woman, and how to live life joyously. And so much more as well.
Some people see the first role of a father to be a provider and a protector: I think that is only a small, secondary part of our role.
Fathers are teachers first and foremost. They teach their children how to empathize with others. They teach them how to stand for themselves and become happy, independent grown-ups. How to handle pain and sorrow, and how to laugh in the face of misfortune. We teach our children to think for themselves first. Fathers teach children to identify and grow their greatest strengths. If we are wise, we also teach them how to seek help for our weaknesses.
But we also have to learn.
I think a good father needs to listen and empathize with his son or daughter. He needs to learn how you learn. To listen to you and see all the lessons that you have for us. I have read many parenting books, and helped quite a few men become better parents and grandparents, but I will never learn nearly so much from books and coaching as I will simply by being responsive to you.
I hope you hold me accountable to listening and learning.