Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Caring Dad

During engineering class yesterday, I noticed a young boy - maybe around seven years old - sitting in the front row of the auditorium.  I wondered to myself:  Why is there a boy sitting there?

Then I realized that it must be my professor's son. 

Toward the end of the lecture, my professor told his son to stand up in front of all the students and help him with a teaching demonstration.  During the demonstration, my professor's face was painted with a goofy smile that displayed his immense happiness of having his little kid around. 

There was something magical about watching my professor acting fatherly in the classroom. 

I remember my first impression of him on the first day of school:  strict and too serious.  Over time, however, that impression of him broke down and a new impression of him developed.  He started to become more of a father-figure and more of someone I could look up to.  He even became handsome...

Oh gosh, I never thought I'd say that.

During the demonstration, I looked around at  the other students' faces and they too were smiling.  The mood of the classroom at this instant felt different.  It felt more friendly, more comfortable.  It exuded a feeling of being at home with loved ones.

It was a feeling that everyone in the world should experience.


As I sit here typing this out on my laptop, I wonder to myself: Will I ever be a father?  If so, would I be a good one? 

I envy my professor not because I don't have that relationship with my dad but because I question if I'll be a good dad to my children someday...

How do children cope with having gay parents? 
With having no mom or no dad?
Will they fare well with other children teasing them for having gay parents? 
Or is it something that they'll be willing to lie about to keep it a secret?
Will they come to secretly despise having gay parents?
Will other people question the safety of a young boy in the hands of two gay men?

Although I'd love to be a dad someday, I don't want to have children if I'm not ready to handle all the challenges that gay parents face.  That would be a huge mess...

Because it's an uphill battle.

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Mitch Block said...

We owned a hotel for "gays & lesbians, their families, and their friends" — a hotel designed especially for gay & lesbian families with kids. It was badly timed for the economy, but it was an amazing experience and we met all kinds of parents and kids -- some exceptional families, a few screwy -- just like the rest of the world. Do not give up on your dream of having a family. Check out this blog for an amazing family (two dads, and four adopted kids):

JustAMike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CoreyJo said...

I think it's great that you were able to see your professor in a new light. Everyone has a softer side, they just don't always have the opportunity to show it.

Please don't ever give up on your dream to have a family. If everyone didn't have children because of the what if's the human race would cease to exist. It doesn't matter who or what you are, if you have a child it is going to be teased by others. How your child deals with being teased, and how they handle the situation all determines the out come. You just have to know your child and be honest about what traits they have that others might tease them for. Knowing and admiting these traits, be it a lisp when they speak or the sexual orientation of their parents, allows you to help build the confidence of your child in these areas. If they have confidence they will be less likely to be continually teased for these things. It's not a cure all, but it's a big help for any parent.

You can't let the what if's of society stop you from living your life. Have confidence in the fact that because of the not so stellar relationship with your father, you will be a better parent to your child. Simple for the fact that you know what it feels like to be the child yearning for the love and acceptance from your father.

If you have confidence in yourself, love yourself and have an open mind anything in this world is possible.


p.s. Lots of children survive without a father or mother for one reason or another. As long as they have your love & acceptance they will be fine.

naturgesetz said...

There are no guarantees that things will turn out as we expect or hope. But it's always wise to ask yourself how good the prospects are, which is just the sort of questions you are asking yourself now. Obviously, you should be sure of yourself and sure of the timing before you take a definitive step.

But that is a charming story you told, and it's natural enough that anybody, gay or straight, would say, "I'd like to have that relationship for myself."

SpiritMountainGuy said...

I'm glad for you, and the others in the class, that you were able to get a connection with your prof.

I think you'd make an excellent dad. You're entertaining questions about the subject that make sense to ask. We all know straight people that don't make exceptional parents, and we read about the trials and tribulations children go through when checking out the paper each day.

Regardless, do the best you can with what you have, or with what comes your way, and most of all, be happy! The latter comes from within! - V

Hetero-Challenged said...

Do it with love and I think there's nothing you can do to children or anyone else for that matter that will ever harm them.

the island guy said...

sup everyone!

@ Mitch Block
Owned a hotel? Wow, sounds like you're rich lol. I'll be sure to check the blog.
Thanks Mitch.

@ JustAMike
It would be awesome to hear your perspective on the topic.

@ CoreyJo
I am admittedly not a very confident person... something I should work on if I'm ever to be a parent one day. I do tend to care a lot about what other people think of me. Thanks for all your advice.

@ naturgesetz
It really was a charming moment. I've never seen my professor that happy haha. I think that I should fix my post... I actually do have a great relationship with my dad now. When I wrote "I envy my professor not because I don't have that relationship with my dad", I meant that I actually do have a good relationship with my dad but I envy my professor for another reason.

@ SpiritMountainGuy
Thanks for the encouragement :)
One of the things that I have been telling myself lately is "No matter what, I will rule the day."

@ Hetero-Challeneged
Your comment makes me smile
Thank you

Mitch Block said...

OwnED a hotel, yes. Opened in 2011, which means we lost our shirts when the economy tanked. Therefore, if there had been any hope of being rich, that ship sailed. So, not rich. Just glad to have had the experiences.

Mitch Block said...

oops... meant to type that we opened in 2001 (not 2011).

Anonymous said...

There's a lot that goes into having a child, no matter whether you're gay or straight. I think when the time comes - when you are settled, on your own 100%, in a relationship (or not, single parents can adopt, too), you'll know when the time is right, and the just sort of comes naturally.

I don't think having two dads means as much as it did a few years ago, and by the time you're a dad, it will mean even less.

For a look at it, find Green Ectomorph's blog (linked off mine).

Peace <3

InItsGrip said...

I grew up in the LDS church heavily surrounded by pressures of heterosexual partnerships, eternal marriages, and families ran by a mother and father married to each other. However, I was raised by my single mother, who divorced my non-Mormon father while I was an infant. And while everyone in the Church looked down upon me, I notice how their own families lack the love and admiration I have for my single mother. My circumstances have helped me to know of the love that can exist outside of heteronormative families, and that there's more to life than just marrying someone of the opposite sex and having children. I would have never learned this lesson if it weren't for the "abnormal" family I have, and I am sure you will be a great dad/your kids will be some of the wisest people of their generation.

Marvin De Gracia said...

having gay parents seems to be difficult specially during the early ages of the child. but then, i think a proper upbringing and emotional endurance can help the parents to go through this dilemma. it will require a lot of time though until the child acquire his own sense of the "real" world.

Super Mario Palad said...

WOnderful story.. And I asked myself the same questions. I'm already in my 30s and the only way for me to fill up the void of parenthood is taking care of my partner and my pets. Not really the same but this keeps me sane.

thegayte-keeper said...

LOVE that you are thinking about fatherhood. Not many of us do that!

becca said...

i feel just from your writing you would be a great father and as for children of gay parents I think they are well adjust children that know they are loved regardless of whetehr they have a mom or dad. I know that i have a friend here in town who is currently raising his children with his partner after divorcing 2yrs ago and the children are just fine with it. As a matter of fact they rather live with their father and his partner then with their mom and knew husband. They feel safer and more loved by these two amazing men then they do by their mom and step dad so I think kids handle things better then aadults and are more accepting. I know my son is he actually feels jealous he doesn't have two dads. anyways just my opinion

the island guy said...

@ Mitch Block
Wow, that's impressive nontheless! I really am impressed just by the fact that you even did that.

@ Jay M.
"I don't think having two dads means as much as it did a few years ago"
I think you're right on that actually. As more time passes, the acceptance level of homosexuality seems to rise. That's a good thing haha :)

@ InItsGrip
"I notice how their own families lack the love and admiration I have for my single mother."
Bravo for bringing this to light! Sometimes the people who try to be perfect need the most help on knowing how to be perfectly imperfect and be happy about it haha.

@ Marvin De Gracia
Thanks for commenting :)
Some kids might enjoy having gay parents when their still young but might learn to regret having gay parents as they grow older... or vice versa

@ Super Mario Palad
I love the story too... it still makes me smile when I think about it. And having pets is awesome! One of the things that I look forward to doing in the future is getting a huge tank and having oscar fishes. I used to have an oscar fish but it died because my tank was too small unfortunately. I miss that little guy.

@ thegayte-keeper
Yeah, I would be great to have kids someday. I never realized exactly how much a kid can impact a person's life until my older sister gave birth to my niece almost four years ago. The love that my sister displays for my niece is incredibly sweet... sweeter than chocolates LOL

@ becca
You have a good point there Becca. Children - when taught young - can be more accepting to things outside the norm. For example, when I was a little kid I learned to eat fresh sea urchins from the ocean. Just bang them open with a rock and start eating! LOL! Some people will think that is disgusting, but I'm accepting of it since it's something I learned to do when I was a little kid.

JustAMike said...

Here's some of my perspective (as a gay Dad):
1. I LOVE being a Dad. It's the single best thing that ever happened to me. I also think being a gay Dad is even more special because we have unique dimensions to our lives that most people don't get to expereince.
2. Raising kids isn't easy. I'm VERY lucky. My kids haven't been ill or got themselves into any trouble. But who said life was supposed to be easy? I think the postives of being a parent far outweigh the negatives (or so my experience has shown).
3. I asked my sons - what's it like for them to have a gay Dad. Keeping in mind, I'm pretty much a home body and I'm in a long term relationship. The most interesting answer I got was that "it depends". What my son meant was, if you grow up always knowing your parent was gay - no big deal. But when you find out as a teenager . . . it's a little more difficult. My step-daughter loves having two gay Dad's. Her children will never know what it's like not to have two granddads in love with each other. My youngest son is very much at ease with the notion - more so than his older brothers. My sons get along fabulously with my partner (and, incidentally, they don't like their Mom's BF).
4. No, my kids have never had problems when people found out I'm gay. In fact their friends have embraced it. You usually find out that they themselves have a gay relative somewhere near them. It's pretty much a non-issue where I live. Tomorrow my partner and I are attending a parent-child banquet with my youngest. My ex and her BF will be there too. I think my son finds that pretty cool.
5. I think there are lot's of single parent models that work, whether gay or not. There are lots that don't too. You will be the one to determine that by your own behaviour, emotions, etc (and that of your partner's).
6. I think as long as you are always honest and loving to your children - they will never despise you for who you sleep with.
7. Of course there are idiots that will question the safety of a child with a single man or a pair of men. But don't let those narrow minds keep you from experiencing the joy of having kids. Life is too short to let what others think stand in your way.
8. I think you are wise to wait until you are ready. Keep the idea in the back of your mind until the time is right for you. That goes for anyone - gay and straight!
9. I think I'm an awesome parent. Maybe it's becasue I'm gay!
10. I never liked my Dad. We had a horrible relationship until I was in my 40's. I purposefully parented differently than my father and I have a fantastic relationship with my kids. I hope you and your Dad will reconcile someday too (I have). He may not be someone you are happy with right now but he's still providing parenting lessons that you can use (even if that is to be the opposite of how he is with you).

I think the moral of my story is that being a parent is special and awesome. It's a life-long responsibility and it's really no different if you are gay or straight. The troubles and the joys will be the same.

Sorry for the ramble (but I guess, YOU ASKED! lol).

Best wishes.

dan said...

I'm still scared to death about never being a father. I sure hope so though! :)

Web Design said...

As A GiRl I Guess Being A Good Father Does NOt Depends On Gender.

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GoD bless

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