My latest for GodlyDaddy.com ...
Our fearless leader asked a few months back if there was any advice people gave you or you give people about parenthood.
You know, other than, "For God's sake, don't do it! I mean, look at your house, do you see how clean it is? Never again! Do you enjoy going to the bathroom alone? Hahahahahaha!!!!"
It may be a dodge, but the one thing I can't convey enough to new parents about what to expect is: You think you know, but you don't know.
Really, they'll forget everything I say anyway and their experience will be different from mine, so there's no way to get them ready.
Here's a list that is by no means comprehensive but an idea of the things I couldn't appreciate until becoming a father:
How much fun the holidays are. The kids love to have lights on our house and the inflatables in the yard. This past Christmas we had a tall Santa carrying a bag and a Santa riding a train, with some candy canes lining the driveway and icicle lights along the roof. I'm looking forward to a future with a house covered in decorations, but let's be real, you can't go full-bore Clark Griswold in the first five years of owning your home. I add pieces every year, so we'll get there eventually.
The Bible says it all: We are born evil. "Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward, spreading lies." - Psalm 58:3 (NIV); I mean, I knew that kids could be mean, disruptive and undisciplined, but wow, I never realized just how much they come up with lies and deception and disobey you, even when I'm pretty sure I didn't teach them that!
America's Funniest Videos isn't kidding around. The amount of bumps, bruises and knocks to sensitive Godly Daddy regions is astounding.
You have free reign to be silly. 1 Corinthians 13:11 has to be tweaked a bit when you become a parent. Paul writes that "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me." However, when you are in Parent Mode you get to sing songs and be a total goof. You get to play with toys and wrestle and you get called a great daddy for it!
They love on you unconditionally more than anyone else on the planet. No matter how many timeouts, whether you are in a bad mood or not, and within five minutes of a meltdown after being denied a third Popsicle in as many minutes.
R.A.D., or Random Acts of Destruction - The ability of a child to come into a room and seemingly out of nowhere create mayhem. It could be small, like trying to cram a Tonka truck into the toilet, or it could be major, like grabbing the remote and turning the channel from Daddy's recording of "Mythbusters" that he has had on the DVR for four months.
They never stop. Questions, pestering, hounding, constant, never-ending and unrelenting, they keep coming and even when you have an answer or give in to their demands it doesn't stop.
You can share their entertainment. Watching the same "Paw Patrol" and "Scooby Doo" episodes over and over (and over) really doesn't get as old as I would have thought. You'd be surprised how many inside jokes you finally catch on the 25th viewing of "Toy Story."
Sleep is a thing of the past. I hope you enjoyed resting on a pillow for eight hours for the past 20 years, because it is over until you are retired. And even then hopefully you get to wake up early to play with your grandchildren.
All the friends you hang out with now have kids. What is there to talk about otherwise? Sports? Who gets to watch that anymore? Movies? Are you serious? We've seen three movies a year for the past four years, tops.
How easily I give in. Say Penny comes whining and at first I am adamant, "No, Sweet Pea, you can't use the Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator, you'll make the earth go kaboom." Give her 30 more determined seconds of climbing on my head and whining and I will relent. "Oh, alright, just one push."
How much fun it is for them to be like me. One of the most fun parts of playing with Cooper is knowing that if I say or do something he finds silly, he'll repeat it constantly. Meanwhile, Penny is like her daddy when it comes to her method of trying to be cool: 1) Do anything on a dare; and 2) Do anything to get a laugh, including things such as walking around with a bucket on her head and bonking into walls, and jumping off the top of the couch, usually onto your head while carrying a sharp toy.
It's totally worth it. Daddyhood is a privilege, a joy and yes, sometimes it's a stressful buzzkill, but it's also a blessing from God and I would never want to go back to the way things used to be.