Yesterday, I met a young man for the first time for a life coaching session. He told me a little bit about himself, and one of the things that stood out for me was that he was 21 years old and said he was going to have a baby soon. Throughout the session, I noticed he seemed to be worried, and whenever I mentioned his imminent parenthood, he sank in his chair and his face fell.
Now, my own 3 kids are a source of pure joy and pride for me and, being an experienced father and a parenting coach, I felt I needed to say something to make him feel easier.
So I traveled back in my head to one of my favorite moments in time, when the paediatrician finished examining my first born, wrapped her up snuggly in her first-ever clothes and handed her to me. There I was, dreading the huge responsibility for a totally helpless human being, worried sick about my best friend, who was being stitched up from her C-section operation, and exhausted from 30 hours of labor.
I reached out, held the little bundle in my arms and brought her close to my chest. Her warmth spread through my body and suddenly, everything was alright. Not knowing what the world is like, not being able to do even the simplest things, my new daughter has the amazing ability to make everything right just be being there.
I looked at her, tears welling up in my eyes, and said, “You know, I don’t know you yet, but already I love you so much” (here I go dropping a tear again as I write – sniff, sniff).
So I told the young man this, “Let me make parenting really simple for you. If something could be dangerous, don’t do it. Stop and ask someone. If it isn’t dangerous, go ahead and do it and then see what happens. More than anything, remember that your kid will need your love in order to grow. She (he is having a daughter too) will do the rest, so be guided by her responses”.
He relaxed and smiled.