10 Things I learned from Drei: What a Future Dad Wants to Know
Would you believe that in high school, I only wanted to marry a girl but never want to have children?
I dread having to wash soiled laundry, wake at every hour in the morning, keep all 2 hands occupied (not being able to defend myself for any ninja or terrorist attack) and eat half-consumed food – a simple glimpse of a sanitized, single and carefree me. But as I grew older, I matured and learned to see differently.
I yearn to be a dad.
I dreamed of sitting down my 3 year old and eat Oreo dunk’d in milk. Yeah! (Glamorized in the old commercial) I also want to explain how Darth Vader was actually Luke Skywalker’s father and all that Jedi stuff. Not to mention Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, G.I Joe, Naruto, Spiderman, X Men, He Man, Thundercats, Visionaries, Voltron, Voltes 5, Transformers and Centurions. Unfortunately the little guy wont love the dumb-down graphics of my era. So much for that.
Back to my story. This pretty little thing, delivered to a very happy brother, so suddenly transformed our dull house into one filled with wonder. His name is Drei. (German for the number three – Jerry Bantilan, III, son and rightful heir of the Bantilan estate in Bacolod City 🙂 )
I am so blessed to have him in my life. It’s amazing how a 3 decade guy could learn from a 3 month old. (For the unaware, I am still single at 2018) As I hold him to sleep, and feed him, I am constantly reminded how shortsighted I am, to not want a child for the sake of convenience. And to those single men obsessing on how not to have a child, I pray that this will be an awe-inspiring article to help you make that precious decision.
10 Things I learned from Drei (my nephew)
1. I don’t have to be perfect to be a dad.
As much as I want things to be perfect, I could only cover so much. Every mom and dad will have their first baby and we learn along the journey. I am so afraid of the money I never got, the challenges of serving my wife and how I need to be, to grow the “perfect” child.
Trust you will figure it out. Trust me, you will.
2. Babies cry no matter what you do.
One time, when Drei cried, I saw one relative shake the baby to shut him up. The poor little thing was unfortunately facing me cradled on my relative’s shoulder. He wanted to stop crying but the eyes were so expressive I can’t miss it, (he is 3 months and couldn’t talk) “Tito Ian, help, rescue me from this headache shaking torture. . .save me. . .save me.”
When babies cry, we want them quiet. More than shutting them up, I have learned to really listen. If the baby was hungry, he will cry – it is unavoidable. Bad things happen not because of our fault but because we can solve them. It is okay for babies to cry.
In life, you will find that managers that will blame you for your fault or other people’s fault. Most of the time, you don’t need to feel guilty but find out what to do about it. Find a Solution!
3. I have to learn how to listen.
For the first decades of a little one’s life, it is really not important if a child is doing right or wrong, of course he makes mistakes. That’s what you are guiding him for. The little one will never be perfect, seem gay, break toys etc. . . for more info see lesson one. But the more you judge him that he is doing wrong, the more he becomes permanently wrong – you assign him a permanent identity!
4. What really matters is that I love Drei.
Of all the things I say or do, it doesn’t matter. What matters is love. Can’t write it here. You just experience it. 🙂
5. It’s okay to admit I don’t know and I need help.
Part of raising a baby is that there will be things that are beyond your abilities. As a Filipino, there are many things we are ashamed of asking. Two of them is admitting I don’t know and asking for help.
6. After all the effort, it’s all going to be worth it.
Rom5:5 “. . . and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts.”
Watching any movie, it is easy to know that the good guys will finally win. But in real life, the plot is unpredictable. As a parent, it is easy to lose hope when the effort gets so heavy, boring or irritating.
This cause us to be disappointed and frustrated on the efforts we need to make, to support the baby when he keeps making mistakes or cries at ungodly hours of the morning.
As a parent it is important to have a block of time you can replenish and restore your strength through quiet meditation. For more of this visit Meditation.
7. Time flies when you are with someone you love.
Gen 21:20 So Jacob served seven years for Rachel: and they seemed but a few days, because of the greatness of his love.
This is the time I honor my brother Jerry. I am amazed how his love for Deni is like that of Jacob. And being with her for 7 year, he passed the test.
He loved deeply.
The same love is now the foundation of how carefree Drei has been this first few months of his life. See how he smiles?
8. It’s a privilege to give my time.
Psalms 127:3 Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.
As the prices of oil, bread, rice, chicken, beef, pork, and rent rises, the Word of God stays true. While it is true that it is more challenging to support a family today than 50 years ago, the choice of what we value is up to us. If we value our family and children, they will be our joy and our hope. Those that value other things, their sons may soon be a source of grief in their old age. A warning to OFWs to weigh your values. Balance is key.
9. My heart expands when I give love.
I was hearing from a mentor in Iloilo. He was telling me that I feel more balanced versus me a few months back. I tried to look hard at what went new. I’m still girl-less, I never did scuba diving, or did drugs, I did drink a little more coffee. I reflected on what changed to account for me emotionally more “ground-and-centered” as he called it.
The secret lies on a tightly guarded secret. I go home on some weekend and carry my little nephew a few hours on each vacation time. I could choose to do other things if I wanted to. Taking the time to care for this infant not only changed him, (gained a few oz of milk weight) but it changed meeee!
My heart expands when I give love.
10. Cradling a little guy is a chick magnet.
This is probably one of most unverified learning in this article. Quoted from my brother, I am doubtful if this has also been a tactic to stick Drei to his debonair uncle, me! Numerous data shows that chicks avoid guys with babies for fear of a married man. But I will test this for accuracy and live to tell you next time!