What My Children Taught Me About Being A Better Man
I am the father of three children, 2 step children (1 boy 18 and 1 girl 15) and 1 biological child (8 year old boy). I love them all dearly, but if I am totally honest I was not ready to be a parent in the moment I became one.
I was 19 years old when I met the mother of my children (who is now my ex) and I quickly took on the role of father too her 2 children. At this time I was pretty unstable- I was a drug dealer with a drink, drug and gambling problem. I also had incredibly high expectations and ambitions of myself. The 2 (addiction and ambition) are a strange combination of creating amazing opportunities and ideas, then destroying them through self sabotage and bad decisions.
It would be 2 years later that my son came along, and the dynamics of everything would change in a huge way. I remember the first 6 months or so being quite a breeze and (while I was still facing a lot of personal stuff) thinking that this whole parenting thing is not to much of a challenge. That was until Archie decided he wanted to start walking. Truth be told he actually skipped the walking phase and went into full on running, often using his head to test the strength of the floor. After knocking himself unconscious, breaking a collarbone, thumb and arm (all separate incidences) in a short period of time I started to see what a challenge it can be to father a child that turns everything (including me) into a climbing frame.
Archie was also sick a lot- I knew far less about health then, than I do now, so he consumed a lot of antibiotics due to ear infections, he had bad eczema and suffered with terrible constipation. He was also diagnosed with epilepsy at around 6 months, then autism and ADHD a few years after that.
We were at the hospital most weeks and by this time I had stopped selling drugs and started to meditate a little. The drink and drugs were not really a part of my life anymore- however I had replaced those with food, and the gambling addiction was still prevalent.
Trying to balance a rocky career as a writer with addictions and a son who was in the hospital all the time was tough and this manifested in a short temper and an inability regulate my emotions. I was trying to be better (hence the meditation and career change) but I was a mess.
As Archie grew older, I grew shorter in my temper. I used to shout a lot and was often very short with him. I made a lot of mistakes and restricted him in his freedom to express himself in the ways he should have been able to. It was not bad all the time and we had a lot of fun, but I was a mess and that came out in very erratic and unstable behaviour- swinging from pole to pole of different emotions.
I was the same with Harry and Georgia, and I spent far too much time in their childhood shouting and being aggressive. There are not really any excuses for my behaviour, just lessons that I can look back on and learn from. With Harry I struggled to bond with him to start with and did not know how to express what I felt, this often made me distant and disconnected. With Georgia I also didn’t know how to express myself towards a young girl- which led to teasing her a lot and struggling to healthily express my love.
With all 3 of them I knew I needed to be better, but struggled to break the habit. I knew a lot of stuff- studied psychology, read a lot of books and had a devout spiritual practice of meditation, but did not totally embody all that I knew.
Eventually around 3-4 years ago I decided I needed to stop gambling, start eating better foods and actually walk the talk. I started to create more from my heart, I lost a load of weight and for the most part stopped eating meat. Through a bunch of spiritual experiences ranging from psychedelics, to out of body meditations I started to realise some of my errors.
I got into music, poetry and creative writing- and landed a job here on this blog Truth Theory- soon after me and the children’s Mum split up (which was as amicable as could have been expected) and I really started to pursue my career as a content creator (messenger) in its many forms.
My family and my career became a bit of a mess of priorities and I almost felt like one had to be put over the other. For a while I choose my career over my family and while I love them dearly, I struggled with the balance.
I now know I can have both and am committed to being a better parent, man and person to my children. To my beautiful family- I am sorry for every time I raised my voice when there was no need, and I am sorry for every time I did not live up to that of which I should of as a parent. I love you all dearly and want us to create a beautiful future. You are part of my motivation, you all deserve to be truly happy and if there is anything I can do to make that a reality I will.
Sometimes we really need to make mistakes to fix them and I guess one of the messages I am also trying to share with this is that of my humanness- I have had some real intense and enlightening experiences of late and the work I have done in the last few months alone has reached millions of people.
It is easy to look at someone in my position and from the outside to assume I have it all worked out. I don’t I am a bundle of mistakes tied together by the odd moment of genius, I still have issues I am working through and I am far from perfect. I follow my heart in what I do and encourage others to do the same, but for me this has often come at the sacrifice of my time, which has stopped me being the best I can in other areas.
We don’t have it all worked out and will make mistakes on the road to being better, but if we can forgive ourselves for our mistakes and love the parts of ourselves that are not 100% desireable we can improve.
I can honestly say that my children have been my biggest teachers, they broke me down, raised me up and helped me to see parts of myself I could never have seen without them. I love them dearly and I know they love me and I can’t express enough how much they mean to me.
As a family or anyone you spend enough time with- you will see the best of each other, but you will also see the worse. This is reality and if you cannot cope with this reality it will be hard to ever fully love anyone. Human beings can be selfless, selfish and everything in between- don’t mistake someone else’s behaviour as something you are incapable of, because we are all just mirrors of each other. We all make mistakes, but if we take honest inventory of our lives- are we not all seeking forgiveness from someone, somewhere?
I think I will end this article with some words I wrote while in a recent ceremony:
My truly selfish goal that I hold is to heal myself entirely. That is one of the driving forces for what I do. Wanting every piece of myself to be understood and every potential to be fully realised. Mind, body and soul. Masculine and feminine. To be complete. Now isn’t that something to aim for. Maybe we do this through seeing all the realised and unrealised potential in others. Maybe every man, woman, child, animal and inanimate object is just a part of us healed or unhealed.
To my children- you have helped me to be a better person and for that I am eternally grateful!