We had a friend visit recently from Hawaii who is planning to sail around the world. We shared scouting and sailing stories for a while and as we sat he asked, “What it’s like being a dad?” Two things came to mind right away. First, I communicated that nothing else in my experience has been more rewarding, and being a parent has been such a blessing. Second, I shared the metaphor that being a dad was just like sailing and being the captain of your own boat. He nodded and knew exactly what I meant.
To be a good captain of a boat and to be able to sail around the world without many problems takes experience and practice. You prepare for the journey—not sure exactly how you will get there—but this is what you love and you know you can do it.
- There are storms that you must face and long nights when you don’t get sleep. You need to budget all of your resources: sleep, money, time, and energy.
- There are days that are easy when “the wind is strong” and you get a bunch of smiles and hugs. Some days have no wind and you’re stuck.
- There are days when you feel like the work around the “boat” won’t ever be finished like the dishes or laundry.
- You learn a lot about working together with the crew of a boat because they are your family. They might fight with you from time to time, but they are learning to really be independent and make their own decisions. Just like their captain has modeled and taught them.
- The experiences will be so memorable that you could fill a hundred log books with memories.
- Finally, the journey goes by so fast that you get to where you were going and he’s all grown up and ready to be captain of his own ship.
I don’t know what my parenting journey will bring as we move to the future, but I hope that I can be a good captain for my family. It was good to have a visitor come to our boat and remind me of what a blessing I have and the real responsibility that comes with being a dad. For now, I’m going to do my best to enjoy each day that I have with my crew.