Monday, April 11, 2016

An UPNEXT Dad's Outlook on Fatherhood Changes After Son's Birth

Lawrence, was in the waiting room, anxiously awaiting the arrival of his son. As the time went by, he reflected on the changes, sacrifices, and struggles he went through to be prepared for this moment – and the future. Two hours later, a doctor stepped out of the operating room to call Lawrence to come in.  He entered the room, walked towards his newborn, and holds him tight. Lawrence’s eyes were filled with tears of joy as he gazed into his precious babyboy’s eyes for the first time.

Lawrence challenged himself to be prepared—both financially and emotionally— for the birth of his son.  He sought support from UPNEXT, and became a participant. In the program, Lawrence showed us that he had a strong, work ethic. Nonetheless, it was contrasted by his impatient, and rash, approach to job hunting. UPNEXT classes taught Lawrence the strategies to becoming employable. He received additional insights from both staff and guest speakers. Thoughtful conversations with staff, along with a few unsuccessful job interviews, humbled Lawrence. He paced himself and began to incorporate the methods and advice he learned from the program. These changes proved fruitful as his efforts led him to secure a stable, fulltime job.

Lawrence also saw an improvement in his fathering skills. Growing up in an old school, tough love environment, he assumed stern parenting is the most effective way to raise children. Our 24/7 Dad workshops, and the diverse perspectives of his peers, caused a shift in Lawrence’s attitudes and behavior. He realized that the tough love parenting he was brought up in, although well-meaning, was often excessive and unnecessary. He acknowledged the importance of embracing new parenting ideas so he could guide his children into living emotionally healthier lives than him.

Lawrence left the program with fresh perspectives on life and fatherhood. He has used what he learned from the program to build family relationships, organize his life and reshape some of the habits that were holding him back. With his newfound employment and increased family stability, Lawrence is confident that he will be able to provide his newborn son a loving and happy life.