#db Father: Preparing to Raise a Man
On September 1, only 5 days from now, my son, who will most likely be named Elijah David Perucchetti Bonifacio, will be born via scheduled cesarian. As mothers will know, the process of pregnancy and giving birth is different for everyone. For some women, like my wife, and for a range of different issues, a surgical operation is required to deliver the baby. It is a generally safe procedure but your prayers are always appreciated. I love the idea of prayer, that we can come to God Himself, and that He listens. I love the idea of people coming to God for the concerned of others. It is a very real example of living out our Christian life, not only acknowledging God’s great power, but choosing to call on that power for another.
Yasmin has been incredible throughout the pregnancy. I do not think I would have handled the last 9 months as gracefully as she did. I wrote this on my Facebook Page to acknowledge my amazing wife:
Yasmin, you have been incredibly amazing throughout the whole pregnancy. You’ve been so strong, have had such a good attitude, and continued to take care of our home despite all the physical changes, discomforts, and concerns of the pregnancy. Thank you for carrying our son, for not getting a straight night of sleep for over 9 months, for going to the toilet a million times a day, for putting up with his constant kicking and moving, for managing backaches and ankle swelling, for enduring the nausea and puking, and for doing it all in your kind and loving way. I love you!
My advice for anyone who wants to attempt to raise a great family, as that’s the stage we’re currently in, is to choose a great spouse. I don’t mean be picky in the superficial sense. I’ve written quite a bit on how I think those marriage lists are silly. What I mean is this: be with someone who embraces the same purpose, lives by the same principles, and partners towards the same performance.
Who are you following?
While I do believe I’m extremely grateful to have such a beautiful wife, I want to ensure that my life and our family do not contribute to the diseases of “celebrity-ism”, which is the putting of people on pedestals. We want to do our part in contributing to society, and part of that includes sharing our experiences, but not in such a way to glamorize our situation, but to empower others to make the most of theirs. This is one of the things I love most about Yasmin. She is so natural and down to earth, and has no need nor desire to be treated like an “It girl”, like a goddess, or a celebrity. Quite the opposite, she likes to wear the same things every day, literally only wearing the one pair of maternity jeans she bought when not in a skirt. “Pretty good huh?” she told me, when I pointed that fact out to her. My wife rarely goes to have her hair done, usually does her own nails, battles her own way through Manila traffic, and is so used to washing her own clothes in the bathroom sink. Before and during the early days of pregnancy, Yasmin would be at the gym or out hiking, preferring to do active things than just hang out. Now that she’s close to giving birth, we’ve been talking about the workouts we’ll do to stay extremely healthy for our son. It’s true: Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised (Proverbs 31:30). Yes, my wife is extremely hot, the hottest in fact (I admit I’m biased), but what makes my wife lovely is this: she genuinely loves God, loves other people, and loves life, not merely the grand experiences of life, but the gift of every day, whatever that day may be. This is something we can all enjoy through the simple act of gratefulness. All of this to say:
I truly believe in the potential for everyone to be amazing. But it won’t happen if we spend too much time, in fact, any time, worshipping others. The time must be spent on living our own lives, the only lives we get, and making sure that our lives made the world a better place. So learn from us, learn what to do and what not to do, and learn that life has many options and it doesn’t have to look like ours. Most importantly, don’t worship us, don’t put undue attention or admiration on us because it will prevent you from learning the actual lessons, it will prevent you from being creative with your own situation, and worse, from worshipping the One whose favor all families need.
Before I move on, I want to leave some questions:
Who are you following? An influencer? An expert? A pastor? A relative? A celebrity? Or have you been cultivating your own principles and disciplining yourself to hear God’s voice?
The beauty of listening to God above all these voices is that He guides us to live a most creative life, for the source of all wisdom and the source of all goodness, knows a beautiful way unique to each of our own hearts and circumstances. So we let go of the need to compare and benchmark, and we focus instead on Him and each other, not our pegs, and place our attention to where it should be.
I hope my posts on learning to become a father are helpful, but I hope never to be guilty of celebrity-ism. It’s a disease.
Somewhere the baby bag is packed, the bottles have been washed, and the car seat waits to be installed. Yasmin has stuck the alphabet letters on the wall of the baby room, added a night light, and we’ve turned-on the baby camera and monitor. His cot is assembled, his stroller parked, and his clothes have been hung on mini hangers, waiting for our little man. As Yasmin and I prepared, as we read more about the method we intend to use, which is Baby Wise, we also started thinking about the inner life of our son. It’s so easy to prepare for the outer life and for the physical, his health and his stuff, but it’s very easy to completely forget about his soul, or to leave that bit to some other time when he’s older or more cognizant of intelligent things. But just like we prepare for the physical things ahead of time, I think parents should prepare, particularly prepare themselves, to be leaders of the spirit, mind, will, and emotions as well. You can Google or buy books on a great number of resources on how to prepare for the material and physical. I won’t cover that here. I do want to encourage you to think about the values you want your young men and women to embrace.
I posted this on my Instagram page:
This used to be my study and workout room. Now it’s our son’s. I still have a shelf and a pull up bar though. I am so excited to give him the best that I can. This made me ask myself, What does giving our son “the best” mean? It means to prepare him for freedom. It means to lead him towards wisdom, character, integrity, and impact. It doesn’t mean more toys or more clothes or more stuff. It doesn’t mean more comforts or more conveniences. @yasminperucchetti and I had to recalibrate ourselves and remember, in our excitement for our son, we have a life to steward, not simply a baby or a child, but a life of infinite potential. And we are privileged to be responsible. The beauty of this approach is “the best” doesn’t mean breaking the bank or keeping up with other parents. The best means passing on a life of virtue, and that is something we all can do regardless of what we can afford. #db #family #baby #virtue
As part of the preparation, I’ve been able to define a little bit more the kind of man we want to raise, a man very different from the old boys our society seems to churn out more and more. While this list will be refined, here’s what we have so far:
1. Godly: Someone who loves God and loves others
2. Graceful: Someone who is full of God’s love, favor, and virtue
3. Grateful: Someone who humbly acknowledges that all of life is a gift
4. Generous: Someone who enthusiastically gives more than he takes
5. Global: Someone who is effectively engaging this changing world for the better
From Day 1, we want to prepare Elijah for freedom, to be able to be self-determining, and wise enough to determine the right things. By defining these, we realized that we need to guard against the vain and materialistic parenting so prevalent today, the kind that parents by pegs and marketing, not by convictions, the kind that always thinks it needs more things and forgets virtue. We will never raise a man who gives more than he takes if we raise a needy person. A needy person will never be good for himself or the world. This reminded me of something Yasmin always tells me when she sees me being impatient, using my phone too much, or working too late, “Do you want our son to copy you? Because he’ll be watching you.” This always makes me stop and think more deeply about my own behavior. It’s made me take our list for our son and aim it at me: Am I godly? Am I graceful? Am I grateful? Am I generous? Am I global? If yes, how do I pass it on to my son? If no, how do I develop these things in my own life that I may be a good example to him? Freedom is a very important idea to me. How can I teach my son to be a valuable member of a free society if I myself don’t understand what that means? I won’t be able to. Which is why I’m preparing my mind regarding these concepts and other intelligent things as well. The point is, my son has one father, me, and to the level I can provide is the level he can gain. That’s a serious responsibility.
In a few days from now, my son, Elijah, will come into the world. I’ll be sharing more about this exciting journey as we go along. As I do, I hope my readers will remember the following from this first post in this series:
1. Raise a man not a boy. The world needs strong men who can carry responsibilities, fight injustice, and improve the world.
2. Don’t parent by social media, by influencers, and by marketing. Parent by conviction and wisdom, using defined values to guide you more than advertising.
3. Take a good look in the mirror and decide to become the kind of person your child would be wise to follow, because he will follow.
I’m saying a prayer for all expecting parents. Here we go!