When I first found out Brittney was pregnant I was overcome with joy. Having a family was something I was looking forward to for a long time. Finally this dream was becoming a reality.
Then the fear set in.
…the questions started.
What do I know about raising a child?
What kind of father am I going to be?
Can I give my child everything he/she needs?
What traits am I going to unknowingly corrupt my child with?
Am I actually prepared for this?
Yeah, so if you can’t tell already...I overthink things and having a child wasn’t any different.
I will say, I don’t by any means think I have this figured out, but I read a few books which I think helped me wrap my head around the father I wanted to be.
First, let’s start with the obvious.
The Book About the Baby
Typically men fall in this category of “fixers”. We just want to fix something when it’s wrong and having a baby doesn’t really change that. When the baby cries, we just want to fix it. We just have zero idea how. This book gives us that guidance. By no means will it give you the manual on how to stop a baby from crying, but it will give you options. It turns out just telling the baby to stop crying or that there's no reason to cry isn’t that helpful.
This book talks parents through the why behind certain actions that each baby goes through. It also talks about how our actions as parents teach the child what is proper behavior. I fully assume we all want the best for our children and for them to live as full of a life as they possibly can. I honestly feel like this book helped me give that to my child.
The Book About Spirituality
When I started thinking about the father I wanted to be, I reflected on the father I had and the father he had. In my family, spirituality was an important factor in our upbringing. However, looking back the spirituality I was handed down also created a lot of baggage that I had to eventually unpack. So, what does a connection with our spiritual self look like?
Well, for me it looks like a connection with our full self. It looks like a connection with everyone and everything. It looks like a journey beyond yourself and Michael Singer nails it with his Untethered Soul book.
My favorite part of the book is when he talks about our inner roommate. We all have one. It’s the voice we hear in our mind that never really shuts up. If we were to actually have a real life roommate like this, we’d move out in a heartbeat and that rings so true.
This book really helped me become less reactive to my own inner roommate, less reactive to those around me and see them for their inner beauty.
The Book About What it Means to Be a Man
As you read through The Untethered Soul, you’re bound to come up with some questions and some thoughts which may be challenging. Just like everyone on this planet, us men have been molded by our culture into believing certain things are true for us and certain behaviors are and are not acceptable.
That’s where this book comes in. If I'm not conscious of the constructs which were and continually are placed upon me as a man, then I can’t make a decision if it truly represents my full humanity. This book brings to light that we as men have feelings and that when we don’t express those feelings they will express themselves in other ways.
The common theme with all of these books is getting to the life we truly want to live. Living a full life for me also means living through every emotion I have as well. This book really helps bring that into perspective.
The Book About the Leader I Want to Be
This is my “work” book. As I’ve progressed in my career I’ve noticed how different leaders inspired me and how other leaders discouraged me. I wanted to work hard for certain bosses and for others I was constantly looking for a way out. Regardless of the industry you want to pursue, you’re going to work with others. This book is the playbook for how to create the culture where people want to work with you.
Just like the other books in this list, it will challenge you. It’s not going to secure your the next promotion or client, but it will allow you to be your full self at work. How I treat my fellow coworkers will be a reflection of how I treat my family.
The Daily Reader
Time is not a luxury when you have a young family which is why I love a quick read to get me on my day. The Daily Laws combines many of Robert Greene’s very successful books about life, career and stoicism. Each day is a thought provoking idea that only requires a couple of minutes to read. I really love combining this with my journaling practice. I jot down the idea as a starter when I’m feeling stuck on what to write. The ideas presented in this book will help you navigate many aspects of life and is 100% worth it.
I'm fully aware I don’t have this “dad thing” figured out yet. Heck, I’m still learning what it means to be a man. So, I’m sure this list will change in the upcoming years but I know this list will at least get a person going in the most fulfilling direction.