Name: Justin Lay City: Little Elm TX | Instagram: @the_running_que
What does being a father mean to you?
What things did you take from your experience growing up into your own fatherhood journey?
Have you had any obstacles on your fatherhood journey?
I’ve had many obstacles on this fatherhood journey and it’s during those obstacles that I learn the most. One of the biggest obstacles I can remember has to deal with expectations. I had to understand that the expectations I set for myself, are structured for me based on the kind of person that I am. Therefore, I can’t expect anyone else (child or adult) to operate the way I do. For a while my son and I would bump heads because what I was expecting from him was the exact same as what I would expect from myself. I was basically looking for him to attack things and move exactly like I do. Two problems here. One, there’s a pretty big age gap. Two, we’re different people. I have to let him reach do things in a way that fits him and makes him most comfortable. I had to learn that his path to any endpoint may not look like my path, but what’s important is that he reaches the endpoint the best way he knows how. I’m currently in the middle of another obstacle. My son is currently 15, and these next few years are critical. Distractions will increase. Girls, activities, driving, friends, and etc. My son is going to do so much growing mentally and physically over the next few years, and my biggest fear is that I don’t give him everything he needs as a father before he leaves our house for college and enters the real world. For me, ages 14-18 were rough. I turned into a rebel and became a bit disobedient. Looking back, I believe it was simply due to too much freedom, and not having the appropriate male guidance all the time. I learned so much from my peers who were out running the streets, and they also didn’t have any guidance. It’s what you always hear about. The blind leading the blind. I believe my son will be fine because I’m doing everything I can to help him along the way. My fear comes from not having an example to look back on to help guide me to guide him. Personal experience and leaning on other fathers will help guide me in the years to come.
What advice would you give others new on their fatherhood journey?
There’s so much advice I can give, so I’ll hit a few key things here. * Give yourself a lot of grace because you’re going to make mistakes. Every father does. * Remember how you were as a toddler, kid, teenager, and a young man. You had to grow into who you are today. So does your child. * Patience….Patience…Patience….You’ll need a lot of it. * It’s ok to be emotional around your kids. Our kids need to see us in every form. * Lastly! ENJOY and CHERISH every moment. Before you know it you’ll be just a few years away from your child leaving the house.
If you could write a quick letter to your father, starting with “Dear Father,” what would you say?
Dear Father, Let me start by saying that I love you, and I forgive you for the past as you already know. The past was rough, but I wouldn’t be the man and father I am today if I hadn’t experienced your absence when I was child. Your absence lit a fire under me at a very young age. I knew that when I had kids, I was going to pour my all into being the best father I could be. I made a promise to myself that I would never let my kids experience what I experienced. Again, I forgive you. I just want you to know that even though you weren’t present, your actions still pushed me to be GREAT! I’m beyond grateful that we’ve been able to rebuild our relationship during my adult years and get to where we are now. We talk often about life, and I can hear how proud you are of me and the father I am in your voice, and it makes me smile. Even as an adult, I still have the desire to make you proud, and I’m glad that I have. I still find it amazing that we’re so similar! From our habits, looks, interests, and professional drive. We missed out on so much valuable time, but I somehow still ended up with so many of your qualities. Some things are just meant to be. I love you dad! Looking forward to what the future holds for us.
List 5 fathers you cosign. (Add their IG names)
Chad Alfred @XXchad314XX
Michael Jones @thefreerootsproject
Reginal Moore @reggiebthe3
Deon Douglas @1bearded_dad
Skylar Lewis @skybroski
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