Today’s entry in the #40Days40Dads campaign comes from Dale Kooyenga, a U.S. Army veteran living in Milwaukee1 and friend of my friend James (who previously participated). He definitely wins the prize for most unlikely moment when he first felt like a father. Be sure to check out his blog for more on his adventures in fatherhood. Thanks, Dale!
Dad #11: Dale Kooyenga
Dale is the father of a 7-year-old son, a 6-year-old daughter, a 3-year-old daughter and a 2-year-old daughter.
What was the moment when you first felt like a father?
I was informed while I was on a mission in Baghdad that my wife went into early labor. The immediate feeling of joy and worry was a great precursor to the blessings and nervousness all committed fathers feel along the journey.
What’s your favorite part about being a father?
The innocence–a glimpse of what the Father intended man to be. They are not perfect (I’m a Calvinist) 🙂 , but they demonstrate man at his best. Discovering truth, daily smiles, innocence and pure joy.
What’s the hardest part about being a father?
The stakes are so high. I was able to depart Iraq and get home following the birth of my oldest for 2 weeks. After 2 weeks I was back on the plane headed to a war zone. I remember sitting back on the plane, breathing deeply and saying to myself “Ahhhhh, now I can relax.” That is how hard fatherhood is–even returning to combat is a little less stressful at times than the challenges of fatherhood!
What’s the dumbest/funniest thing that your kid has cried about or fought with you over?
iPad–always fighting over the iPad.
What are you most proud of having taught/shared with your kids or what are you most looking forward to teaching/sharing with them?
Devotions–nearly every day and then we do rapid fire Bible trivia. The trick is to ask the 2-year-old only questions in which Jesus is the answer. For example – “Who loves you?” “Who walked on water?” “Who fulfilled the prophesy of rebuilding the temple in 3 days?”
What’s your favorite thing about your kids?
I get to act like a kid — lego’s, little Army guys, dancing like a crazy person.
If you could go back in time and give yourself a piece of advice when you first became a father, what would you say?
Hit the pause button–enjoy. Every kid is different and every phase is different so if you miss the moment, it’s gone. Put the phone away when you get back home from work.
If you’re a father or you know a father who would like to share his story, send him to this link to answer the questions. Stay tuned for another dad’s crib notes tomorrow!