How Being a Father Has Changed Me

by Michael Simmons on Oct 2, 2009

When you’re on your way to becoming a parent, the world completely changes.

Living in New York City, I only saw a handful of children over the 10 years that I was there. They were invisible to me. After Sheena became pregnant, I found myself just watching children and noticing how they came out of no where.

When Halle was about to be born, everyone said that she would change everything.

I nodded, but I didn’t understand how right they were. Now I do.

Halle is now a part of every major decision I make. When I visualize the future, she is part of it. When I think about what I’m going to do for the day, she is in every thought.

Just the fact that she is alive, and I played a part in creating her amazes me. It really is a miracle when you think about it. In some ways, it makes everything I do professionally seem insignificant. How can you match actually creating life?

Halle has taught me to laugh out loud again. Her smile is amazing. She’ll smile because she sees me. She’ll smile because I smile.Every few hours, she does something that either scares me, amazes me, and make me laugh uncontrollably. She is so curious. It’s like she’s in a candy store, and she doesn’t know what stimulus to follow. Her curiosity means that I have to watch her like a hawk. She thinks the best way to get off a chair is head first. She thinks that scraps of carpet and basically anything else is deserving of being put in her mouth.

Halle makes me vulnerable like I’ve never been vulnerable before. The thought of her getting hurt in any way sends shivers down my spine a million times worse than someone’s nails going down a chalk board. I can see why parents are over-controlling of their children. It will be hard to fight this urge.

I feel like I’m part of a club now that I never knew existed. Any time, I see a parent with a child in the same age range, it only takes a few moments until we start conversing or at least giving each other a broad smile and congratulating the other’s baby.

My thoughts on how to make a difference in the world have changed. The power the parents have to shape the lives of their children is so extremely powerful. Every moment I’m around her, I am her teacher.

The words that I’m pretty sure she is able to say now are – cat, car, come, come here, good morning, ma ma, da da, come on.

She randomly stands on her own now without any support. She doesn’t do it consistently yet, so it’s pretty shocking to all of a sudden see her standing. I don’t think she realizes the gravity of her breakthroughs.

Watching Halle takes more energy than working. I’ve pushed myself harder in the past 10 months than I’ve ever pushed myself before. This has led to a lot of growth. A lot of old ways of thinking simply don’t work. When something becomes a must, it changes.

In the past, I remember hearing someone say that raising children was a full-time job. I remember laughing. That seemed silly to me. Now, I’m not laughing about that any more :)

Watching Halle grow is like watching a Mystery movie. Everyday is new. For example, today’s new thing was her second tooth. It will really be fascinating to see who she becomes.

I like when I’m carrying her, she’s asleep, and her head rests against my chest. I want to kiss her all over her head, but I don’t. It’s better to let sleeping babies lie.

Beyond providing safety, I view my main role as being the best human I can be. I want to teacher he through my actions. I want her to know appreciation, unconditional love, integrity, courage, learning, growth, and humility. I am not perfect, so I can’t pretend to be. In the end, I want her to see me doing my best in every moment and her to strive for the same.

Yes, I am a proud father.


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I'm the co-founder of Empact, one of the leading entrepreneurship education organizations in the world. I'm obsessed with understanding how we all can lead meaningful lives that have a positive social impact. I love probing into the truth of how we experience life. I believe that challenges are what make us grow the most, and I openly share my experiences. Continue reading…