I want to be a dad. Vlog + Blog

Dear Dylan,

Please read this letter thirty minutes after you become a dad.

Congratulations my son, you’re a dad! Life as you know it is over. Now is a good time to remind you that when you were seven years old and were asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” you responded, “a dad.”

Though your dream melted many hearts, it terrified mine. I had to figure out the complex, near impossible, and ancient problem of how to be a good dad. A problem you’re tasked with right now. So let me be the first to welcome you to the confusing, sticky, land of children. Where your sleep, dietary habits, aspirations, sanity, and fantasy football championships are now merely footnotes in this new chapter in your life.

 Writing about being a dad makes me uncomfortable. Even with years of experience, I feel inadequate giving fatherly advice in the same way I feel inadequate giving advice about the stock market, Russian doll collections, cosmetic dentistry, or ice fishing. However, I have found refuge in the following truth: Every dad is learning on the job. And when you learn on the job, you make mistakes. Maybe that’s what makes a good dad. A man who is honest and reflective enough to learn from his mistakes.

 I know a father’s advice carries weight. As I sought advice from my dad about being a dad, you may do the same to me. Of course, you have the right to disagree with my advice. And as my child, I almost expect you to. However, I’m not sharing my advice with you for agreement. I’m hoping my advice will help you ease the burden of the demanding career you sought when you were a starry-eyed seven-year-old child.

Here are seven ways to be a good dad:

1. Accept that you’re not always right.

2. Eat dinner with your family every night.

3. Set clear rules and expectations for your children to follow.

4. Tell your children you’re proud of them. (They should already know how much you love them.)

5. Learn how to do all the chores in the house so you can show your children how to correctly do all the chores in the house.

6. Value reading, exercise, and honesty.

7. Laugh with your children every day.

PS. Should something change and you don’t become a dad, please continue to follow #1 and #6. And please know, I’m forever proud of you

Dad in training. 2015.

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Need some encouragement? Some perspective? This hardworking, almost-handsome, suburban soccer dad can help. Subscribe and, like a pizza, get my posts delivered to your door (your email inbox). No spam. Just posts.


Jay Armstrong is a writer, speaker, and a former award-winning high school English teacher. Despite being diagnosed with a rare neurological disease, that impairs his movement, balance, eyesight, and speech–Jay presses on. He hopes to help you find joy, peace, and meaning in life. For Jay, a good day consists of 5 things:

1. Reading
2. Writing 
3. Exercising
4. Hearing his three children laugh
5. Hugging his wife
(Bonus points for a dinner with his parents and a beer with his friends)

Jay hasn’t had a bad day in quite a long time. 

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