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Fatherhood is unique ‘job’

Unlike just about anything else in life — except for maybe being a mom — fatherhood is full of contradictions.

It is insanely difficult and innately easy at the same time. It is white-knuckle scary but also infuses you with courage. It is immeasurably rewarding and hair-pullingly frustrating as well. It is mentally and physically exhausting yet also invigorating in ways that nothing else can match.

And I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.

With two daughters — one who is five and another who is turning three in two weeks — I may not have the breadth of experience as some other dads, but it is by far the most rewarding thing I have ever done.

I have tried to embrace it by “going all in” and striving every day to be the best father I can.

I look at fatherhood as my most important job in life. It is certainly more challenging — and more important — than any other position that I have ever had.

In my opinion, being a father really isn’t something you can learn from a book and, although much of it comes down to common sense and just doing what is right, it certainly helps to have some good role models when it comes to parenting.

My father, a man who like all of us has quirks and character flaws, has served as a great example. He and mom both did a tremendous job instilling in my brother and me the values needed to succeed in life.

Many of my co-workers set great examples as well, each going above and beyond to be involved in their children’s lives.

It is intimidating when you think about being responsible for shaping and developing another human being. I think my worst fear in life has now become that I will somehow mess the whole thing up and not do something that I should in order to help my girls grow up to be responsible adults.

Thankfully I have my wonderful wife to guide me when I go off course and hear myself say things like, “Yeah, I think that video game should be okay” or “No, I don’t think that movie is too scary.”

I certainly have tremendous respect for all the single parents or grandparents out there who are raising their children or grandchildren on their own. They have my utmost respect and admiration.

So, happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. May you enjoy the wonderful contradictions today and every day of the year.


Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at mike.caldwell@irontontribune.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCaldwell_IT.