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26 January 2018

Being a Dad

As I type this, I can’t help but have an overwhelming sense of regret – and that shitty feeling acts as endless fuel and motivation for me every single day.

For many years I was a father, but I wasn’t really a dad.

It wasn’t until I gained custodial custody of my four children about five years ago that I realized I didn’t know my kids. More importantly, they didn’t know me.

I had that epiphany when I was a member of the border patrol. I knew I was playing the part of a father through my preconceived notions of providing them with food and shelter, but it felt empty. I’d leave the house and head to work before my kids got up and wouldn’t come home until they were asleep.

However, I remember one day where I randomly felt a commanding desire to have a deeper relationship with my kids. Something … more. It’s hard to articulate the love a father has for his kids; it’s on another level or realm of existence. I realized I had that belief on the inside but wasn’t expressing it to them in the way they deserved.

More than anything, being a dad means you have to be relevant in your kids’ lives. Be. Fucking. There. Show up in a genuine manner. Hug them. Kiss them. Really, truly love them.

Over the years, I’ve learned that as a dad, it’s imperative you customize your approach to each child.

Better said, teach them the same but coach them differently.

It’s kind of like baseball. There are so many home run hitters in today’s game, but they all have different swings. The result is the same but the process to how they get there varies greatly – and there’s nothing wrong with that! My goal as a dad is to create an environment where they feel comfortable growing and excelling in whatever they choose to.

It’s so much fucking easier said than done. Trust me; I get it. And having both girls and boys adds another dimension to the puzzle.

When I was growing up, my father raised us with little emotion. Stone cold. Disciplined. There wasn’t much affection shown, but we always could count on him. I’m very appreciative of how my father raised us; it was just a different time and society has changed and evolved.

I look at my boys, and I see how important it is for me to show them affection and love. I want them to know it’s okay to cry. To always, ALWAYS respect women. To be kind.  Just be fucking real!

One of my boys has always had such a kind, loving and sensitive soul. He’s always been that way. He doesn’t like to fight and doesn’t have any desire to be “macho.” In fact, he’s bullied at school and kids have called him gay. They see his sensitivity as a threat instead of the beautiful gift it really is.

Is he gay? I don’t think so. And I really don’t give a shit. I will love and protect him with my life, unequivocally, no matter what.

At the same time, I want my boys to know the world is not a nice place. They’ve taken jujitsu, wrestling and understand how to defend themselves if they need to. I can’t always be there to protect them.

It’s the reason why all my girls are in wrestling. I believe in empowerment and want them to know that despite how it seems, this isn’t a male dominated world. I don’t want them to assume that because they are women, they can’t do an infinitely better job than men. I don’t want them growing up thinking they have to depend on a man to be successful. Whatever field they choose to go in, I want them to have the confidence they can be the absolute best.

In the end, all I really want for my kids is happiness; and I’ll do anything to make sure they have it. I know it sounds so damn cliché, but I believe that with all my heart and soul.

I want them to do no harm, but take no shit. I want them to be proud of themselves. I want them to be strong AND kind. I want them to respect themselves and other people. I want them to do what they feel is right, not what others define as socially acceptable or right. I want them to know how much I love them, and that I’d give up my life in a second for them.

Just be you – 100%, unapologetically you.

Dad’s always got your back.

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8 Responses

  1. Ashley Brynn

    While I’m not a Dad, this speaks to me. I have a son much like your son and I really Needed to read this today. I’ve also been struggling a bit with my parenting decisions lately and this was the perfect read! Thanks for always being an open book!

  2. Willie Canales

    Fuck bro! I found DB podcast in November and been listening non stop. I’m on ep. 153 now and as much as I like to hear the rest of the guys, I seem to pay more attention when you are on. You fuckin put yourself out there and I can relate to so much of what you say. The way you talk about your family always makes me think about mine. Keep doing big things brother and I really hope to meet you some day, as well as Mat and the rest of the guys.

  3. As a single father of a 13 year old girl, I relate to this 100% and I respect and admire your approach to being a dad. Your kids are extremely lucky and fortunate to have a dad like you. You’re doing it right, brother, and I’m proud of you. Don’t change, love them as hard as you can, and ever forward.

  4. Stephen

    I think in some aspect we all struggle with these things. I have a some what strained relationship with my son due to having to work long hours to try and keep our family a float in some rough times. I’m still looking for ways to connect with him. I don’t get his interests because they are different than what I felt I was interested in at that age. But I could be wrong. My boy is sensitive too. I don’t get it but he is. I try to suppress it sometimes… only when I think he needs to learn the “world is not a nice place” lesson. I’m sure I fuck that up. If your trying to know them then you’re doing right…. too many are only worried about their own selfish lives….

  5. Michelle P

    This is a beautiful thing. I love this. One of my biggest regrets is that I did choose a better Dad for my children, or father for that matter.
    I have raised my two the best I can, and while their father (my ex) constantly uses them and tears them down emotionally, all I can do is stand by and watch as they desperately search for that Dad relationship with him.
    My children are both young adults and even now it hurts seeing that relationship missing in their life.

    Thank you, Vin, for realizing your children need a Dad more than just a father and putting this out there for other Fathers to read and come to their own realization. You are an amazing and epically wonderful human being.

  6. Albert Parr

    Well written and articulated. Hit me in the feels as I know the feeling as a Dad and being disconnected. Between the transition out of the military and juggling my MC life as an officer in my club.

    I think it’s tough for a lot of guys to admit these things but I can guarantee many can relate… all bullshit aside.

    Great read

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