I’m not a Dodger baseball fan, I’m a Cubs fan. Even so, I try to take an interest in the local flavor since I’m transplanted here in L.A. territory for the long haul. The other day I asked one of my seven-year old students if pitching star Clayton Kershaw still stinks (he's having a tough season). For the uninformed reader, just know that Kershaw is amazing, so when he “stinks” he’s still better than most. When you are superstar, more is expected of you, so my question was a fair inquiry. My student replied, “Yeah, Kershaw still stinks. And my dad says it’s because he [Kershaw] is a dad.” As of this writing, Kershaw is a very new dad with a 5-month old little girl. He might be a little sleep-deprived.
My student’s dad called it just like he sees it. I love that. He was probably just being funny, but he got me thinking.
As a dad who has kids—the count is up to three now—I definitely feel the strain of balancing work, being a daddy, being a husband, outdoor grilling, and napping. OK, I’m joking about the napping. Really, I don’t even know what a nap feels like. I know that bears get them during the winter. Also, I’ve had dreams about what a nap would feel like. The nap dream is even better than the lifetime supply of meat for my grill dream. Anyway, I’m gonna tell you right now that having kids really can negatively effect the work we dads do. Our kids make us tired. Kids take time away from personal and professional development. They take financial resources. They drain us emotionally. But these things are so small when you consider...
Kids refine our character and teach us how to love in a unique fashion. Ultimately, this makes us dads great at our jobs. We sacrifice our wants in order to meet our kids’ needs. This means we know how to sacrifice for others at our jobs.
Kids teach us patience as we watch our them break stuff, make horrible decisions, and cry for 22 minutes straight because a balloon popped. This means we know how to patiently work with others at our jobs.
Kids keep us young at heart. As men, we are perpetually doomed to a certain level of immaturity (my sense of humor stopped maturing at junior high), but kids bring out something different than that. Without even trying, our children force us into worlds of pretend, beautiful imaginations, and lightheartedness. They don’t distract us from our ever-present work, they rejuvenate us. And that means we get to bring fresh minds to our jobs.
Who knows, someday Clayton Kershaw might be going to a lot of princess-themed birthday parties with those cool inflated jumper things. Or maybe he’ll stay up late helping his daughter with a school project that got dumped on him upon his arrival from a road trip series. Even with all of that, I bet that somehow Kershaw’s baseball playing will be better since he’s a dad. Even if I’m wrong, its still FANTASTIC that he’s a dad.
Happy Father’s Day, everyone.
Adam & Anna Bendorf are piano teachers in Santa Clarita, CA. God has been kind to bless them with three kids, whom they hope to bring up in fear and reverence of the Heavenly Father.