It’s not until I enter a new stage of life or embark on an epic new journey that I pause to realize how the non-stop nature of life serves to eventually (hopefully) make us all experts in our fields–whatever our field might be at a given time.
I teach journalism to college freshmen and I always tell them that what I love most about the profession is the requirement to become an expert-for-a-day on the subject you’re reporting. You talk to your sources–the real experts–and hopefully gain enough knowledge and insights to provide an accurate report.
Maybe it’s just my fine journalism education rearing its expensive head, but I do this in real life as well. When a new curveball is thrown my way, I’m looking for experts and doing the legwork to arm myself with the facts and opinions that will help me navigate these new waters.
As a good reporter, I then feel a duty to pass on my newly gained knowledge as well as any firsthand experiences I gleaned in the process myself, so that my contributions are there waiting for the next soul who is following a path similar to mine.
The biggest example for me was my recent fight against Hodgkin’s lymphoma. When I was first diagnosed, I was completely unaware of what was in store for me. Google searches helped a bit1, but talking to doctors and others who had gone through it before was the best way to get the real scoop. As I lived through the reality of chemotherapy and everything else, I found myself becoming an amateur oncologist, comfortable enough with the facts to advise those who were more recently diagnosed with my own experiences and tips to help them better deal with difficult aspects and perhaps make more informed decisions about their treatment and care.
And now my wife is pregnant–a brand new adventure that brings me back to square one. My editor has just given me an assignment with a due date of August 5. I have until then to consult with experts and put together a game plan.
As we are about to start week 13, my wife and I have fairly well conquered2 the opening rounds of our pregnancy. Having sought the advice of others and lived through it ourselves, we now have knowledge of morning sickness and what to expect at the first OB appointment and what it feels like to hear your baby’s heart beat for the first time.
A friend of mine recently confided that she too is pregnant, a few weeks behind us. I was able to offer some morning sickness tips that have worked for my wife–always be eating, sleep as much as you can, apples and peanut butter before you get out of bed–that I was clueless about merely a month and a half ago. A pregnancy expert in-the-making!
But the pregnancy continues and our fetus continues its epic growth spurts.3 This kiwi will eventually be a baby and want out…And I have a lot to learn between now and then. So if any parents are reading this, congratulations! You are my expert sources. Help me learn how to raise a well-adjusted kiwi.
I’m happy to read any lengthy treatise you might submit for my consideration4, but I’m also open to a blog comment-length summation of your best Dadvice. What should I do to prepare? What do you wish you had known when you were rounding 13 weeks like I am now? What has surprised you about parenthood? Mommies can feel free to jump in here, too, as you’ve had a front row seat to your husband’s fathering and surely have some Dadvice to dish out yourself.
Non-parents…don’t feel left out! You can play, too! Everyone has a father! What did you learn from him about the fine art of being a dad?
Leave your musings in the comments below so that your golden advice can be immortalized along with whatever fatherly wisdom my blog eventually (hopefully) contains. Your contributions to that effort are most appreciated. Someday I’ll have my kid write you a thank-you note.
Editor’s note: In case you didn’t notice, this blog is now fortified with footnotes–a comedic literary device that I have longed for–as I finally found a plug-in that can make them a reality. If you are using a desktop, you can view the footnote in context by hovering over the number or click on the number to be taken to the actual notes below. If you’re viewing this on a phone, I’m not even sure if they’ll show up.5 OK, now leave your Dadvice below.