I originally was going to write one of those top ten lists, but I became tired of those when my twelve year old son was still five. What we need to know is that our children do not care about how much money we make, or that we have to get to work on time, or what type of car we drive, or what size house we own. Brace yourself, they care about one thing and one thing only-that is how much time you spend with them. If you are also under the myth that you can freely go to work while your souse or child’s mother raises fine young men, you are wrong. This is not that work and you do not live in that neighborhood. All communities are affected by the fragile families, father-absence and random unemployment. Be prepared to come straight home to talk, play, and nurture your children. Yes, I did say nurture. Men are excellent at nurturing. Whenever I talk to my son, I put my hand on his shoulder, I look him in the eye, and when we are done I tell him I love him. This is nurturing, touching, eye contact and out ward emotions. Can you do this? Are you doing this? Start now!
Once you become a Father, you need to ask yourself, is your child’s life, dreams, and success more important to you than your own? You will have to adjust your dreams for theirs. Once you give birth to a child, the responsibility is on you to guide them in the right direction. If a job comes along that doubles your salary but takes you away from home more and more, then who is the job benefiting? It does not benefit the child to have the best bike in the neighborhood, best bat and mitt on the block and favorite hobby, if you are not there to share them. There are Fathers out there reading this and thinking about how alone they felt as a child with the best of everything.
How do you feel when you see a man playing with his son in the park? Yes we all know it is what truly defines us. What you may not see in the park is the sacrifice that is made every minute every second of every day by that Father. It is a sacrifice of ultimate humility. It is an effort of love that brings out the best of us. In our hearts we all want to be the, “Hero” in the comic book. Fatherhood is the hero and our children are the people in distress that look-up and say, “WOW!”
What we need to know before we become Fathers is how important our role and responsibilities are to their well being. Without Fatherhood involvement, our children will be sentenced to failing grades, poverty, social problems, criminal behavior and drug abuse. Our job is to set the tone with structure and discipline. We bring about justice and facts along with an example of the way a good man and father acts. Our children are always watching us, that‘s why the sacrifice is so consistent. Yesterday I was unable to voice my opinion and yell at a police officer writing me a ticket because I told my children to respect the police. However, if I see that officer again, I will get him a watch so he can see I was not parked that long. Back to writing…
I cannot emphasis how important it is to become comfortable with the commitment and responsibility it takes to be an involved father. I cannot also express how little money matters when it comes to being a great father. What I tend to find is the more we pay for an event the worst the event turns out for the child. We showboat our children into completing things and going places we never did. Ask your child, where would you like to go? Don’t take them to your game until they like it. Be more than dad , be empathetic.
Are you comfortable putting off your needs for the needs of your children? Are you willing to put off a tee time appointment with your associates for miniature golf with a child? Do you have a career that is comfortable for your family and their needs? Do you understand that your child is in danger of failing without your presence? Do you realize that to become a Father is not an act of science but and ordainment from the universe! Let me explain:
1. Fathers who live with their children are more likely to have a close, enduring relationship with their children than those who do not. The best predictor of father presence is marital status. Compared to children born within marriage, children born to cohabiting parents are three times as likely to experience father absence, and children born to unmarried, non-cohabiting parents are four times as likely to live in a father-absent home.
2. Children who live absent their biological fathers are, on average, at least two to three times more likely to be poor, to use drugs, to experience educational, health, emotional and behavioral problems, to be victims of child abuse, and to engage in criminal behavior than their peers who live with their married, biological (or adoptive) parents
3. Children with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well in school, have healthy self-esteem, exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior, and avoid high-risk behaviors such as drug use, truancy, and criminal activity compared to children who have uninvolved fathers.

The reality of our time is that fatherhood is the problem and the solution to all of the world’s problems. Fatherhood is the only description of a man that you cannot loose. Let me explain; after you pass people will ask who that person in the picture is; someone will say he was a doctor, he was my husband, and he was this and that. They will always say, that is my father, he is my father or My Dad. You can never loose the title. Please understand how important this ordainment is, it can never be taken from you. It is changing the face of the world as we know it. Your baseball throwing, your attending ballet, your graduation attendance, changes someone’s life. It is the deciding factor whether your daughter or son will fall victim to teen pregnancy, school dropout, and drug use. Your child is doomed without your influence, your time, and your love.

What do you need to know before you have a child? You need to know that you cannot fix everything. Remember that you become a parent the day they are born. Understand that you become a member of the largest fraternity in the world, so ask questions. Realize that you get to live your life over thru theirs. Understand that Disney is nice, but playing catch is free and more memorable. Travel the world first, so then you will have half the answers to the questions they will ask you.

Joel Austin, President/CEO
Daddy UniverseCity Inc.

Author's Bio: 

Mr. Austin is a formidable force in the fatherhood movement. His dual-role as a practitioner/single father and his straightforward feedback, wisdom and commitment to fatherhood have earned him global recognition as an emerging leader in the parenting community and business world alike. A proud graduate of Cheyney University. He is a father of four, a veteran and an advocate. He defines himself as a father first and acknowledges his family as helping him understand, hard work, education and community involvement at an early age. As a proactive father, he is personally and professionally committed to encouraging all fathers to realize that their mere presence impacts and changes lives.