A friend from high school recently became a father. I thought he would go through life without children and be the happiest about it and was surprised then when he announced on Twitter that he and his wife were expecting a daughter in May 2013. My second thought was that he was going to be a great dad. There's only one thing you have to do to be a great dad; you have to give a shit.
That's it. You have to care about your kid and act that way. Care about their health and growth and your family as three instead of two. The moments I find myself not being a good parent or husband is when I'm letting things slide. When I'm not reading books because I'm too tired or not listening to the person in my life because I'm looking at the iPhone screen of things that aren't.
When I care though, I'm the fucking best, and you are too. When you pay attention to your kids and pursue what's best for them you are a Jedi, an all-star, a rock-star. You are like a god to them, in their little lives they are entirely dependent on you and they understand on some level what you're doing for them. They see you caring for them. They see you giving a shit. They're like little Hobbits wandering around Mordor and the Misty Mountains and you are Gandalf the Grey.
There is a lot of parenting that's hard because it's tough to care so much so often, it's draining. When you care though, when you really give a shit about it, that feeling is the logs that you use as fuel, the coal for the engine, the arc reactor for an Iron Man suit. All you need is the spark and those are everywhere. It's a smile, a laugh, a fond remembrance of what your life was like before kids and a contented smile that it was nice but this is better. The spark could be knowing you have the fuel to burn to be a great parent. Once the spark meets fuel you'll be off again.
Many times in life we overly complicate things and babies are no exception considering all the things we buy to care for them but the way we act is simple, unitary. Give a shit.
Congratulations Steve and Jen, you two are going to be awesome parents.
This actually works with everything in life from your career, relationships, health, and wealth.