We are someone’s hero.
Though we feel as though we have failed in moments—even many of them—the fact remains. We are the most important person in someone else’s life, someone who suffers without our countenance.
It is a heavy burden to bear, being a father. It involves so much more than paternity; so much more than position. We have an inheritance to give, a legacy to bequeath. Our best intentions will not ensure it; only our actions will. We cannot take for granted that position or presence will suffice. No, those must be coupled with the hard work of attention.
Are we paying attention?
It is attention that determines our outcomes as a father. We will be judged, almost exclusively, on whether or not we paid attention.
And so much rides on whether or not we pay attention. Others soar or crash with or without it. We have experienced this, no doubt, ourselves; we know it to be true. And yet, it is so easy to become distracted, distant, selfish.
But prioritization is the antidote for distraction. It is well within our reach, but how often do we reach for it?
It is the heavy burden to bear—being last—serving when we’d rather be served, sacrificing when we’d rather have our own way. But that is the way of prioritization; that is the way of attention; that is the way of inheritance and legacy, even heroism. It is the way of fatherhood.
And fatherhood, in its truest forms, extends even to those who are not related to us. At our best, we pick up where others left off, or never began. We embrace the burden, learn to love it, let it change us into something we could never have been on our own.
We become fathers.
We become heroes.
And it is never too late to become what we might have been.