The Unforgettable Beauty of Being the Involved Dad

I read about an important man who walked away from his family to do Big Good Things. He traveled the world, and helped poor children. He made a deal with God, he said. “I’ll take care of Your children if You take care of mine.”

It didn’t work out that way. For his family, the story ended tragically, involving depression, loneliness, and even suicide.

I wonder if maybe God didn’t actually sign on to that deal. Maybe the “deal” was a one-sided justification for the man to continue to do what stroked his ego rather than what God really wanted him to do. Maybe God could have used someone else.

Perhaps I’m particularly aware of this struggle because it was mine too, when our kids were babies. I wanted freedom and autonomy. I kept trying to do the stuff I was used to doing, even though life had changed at home. It was enormously frustrating.

Frustrating, that is, until I made peace with my role as a husband and dad. I threw myself into it. After that, there was joy.

The garden I was given to keep—a little boy and a baby girl and a woman—was beautiful. My job? Helping them thrive and grow and bloom.

Parenting gets a bad rap in pop culture. Even in conversations when my wife and I first found out we were expecting, I kept hearing about how hard it was going to be, how aggravating the kid would be, and how this next season of life was sure to be awful.

Here’s how it usually goes down, and I share this from experience.

Your wife is expecting. “This is going to be pretty exciting,” you say.

They say, “You just wait.”

You just wait, because you won’t be getting any sleep once that baby’s born. It’s all over. It gets harder. It gets worse.

Your baby is fun. You think it’s hilarious how he’s amused by one particular stuffed dog above all other toys.

They say, “You just wait.”

Just wait, because when that kid is toddling around, pulling down the curtains, and getting into stuff, you can’t look away for a second. It gets harder. It gets worse.

Your toddler is a blast. Everything is new and wonderful to her, from puppies to repeatedly crashing towers of blocks. She laughs all the time and wants you to “Do again!”

They say, “You just wait.”

Just wait, because when your kid starts really talking, you’ll get tired of that sassy mouth. You’ll wish he was still a year old. It gets harder. It gets worse.

Your elementary-age kid is an absolute joy. You can take him swimming, play catch with him, and teach him hilarious end-zone dances to amuse your friends.

They say, “You just wait.”

Just wait until he’s a teenager, because he’ll learn how much he doesn’t like you and won’t want to have anything to do with you no matter what. He’ll eat everything, and you’ll get tired of him and want him out of the house as soon as possible. It gets harder. It gets worse.

Your teenager is fascinating. You can’t get enough of him. He makes you laugh because, well, you saddled him with your exact sense of humor. You get to play video games with him. He beats you at chess, sometimes twenty times in a row. He fills your home with music, first with a screeching sound that, months later, becomes recognizably melodic, and then with the sweetness of Bach on violin. He mows the lawn—not always happily, but he does it. You catch him listening to your favorite bands in his room. He says things that you never thought about before. He grows taller than you.

They say, “You just wait.”

Just wait until he moves away, because your heart will break in two.

And for once, for the very first time ever . . .

They’re right.

Brant Hansen

Morning Show Host, Star 99.1


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Brant Hansen

8 Comments

  1. Marilyn Hansen on June 16, 2022 at 9:11 pm

    This is very moving Brant, and very true. Though I am not a parent, I have parented my siblings from the time they were born. Happy Father’s Day to you and God bless you and your family! (PS: I’m a Hansen too, by marriage that is!)

    • Brant Hansen on June 17, 2022 at 1:47 pm

      Thank you, Marilyn! And what a great name!

  2. Karin Hand on June 16, 2022 at 9:25 pm

    All of what you wrote is so true. I made a point to enjoy every minute of my children growing up and I was so happy. Thank God I did because we lost our oldest, our son, and I am so glad I enjoyed all my minutes with him.
    Your words will hopefully help someone else to enjoy all their minutes with their children because they are fleeting and God wants us to be there for all of them.
    They are truly our greatest blessings.
    Thank you for your work, the laughter you give me in the morning and your beautiful realization that your family is your core.
    Karin Hand

    • Brant Hansen on June 17, 2022 at 1:48 pm

      Thank you, Karin!

      And yeah, that’s my goal here: Wanting people to see their opportunity to parent in a poetic light. We all need reminders.

  3. Maryann Striffolino on June 16, 2022 at 9:43 pm

    You are so right! My three children have moved to different states and my heart is breaking that they are all gone. It went so very fast, some really great times and some really hard times. I have the memories and I cherish them. I don’t hear from the boys often, my daughter calls every morning to chat for a few minutes. So enjoy every day with your children, they grow too fast and leave, not like it used to be when I was growing up, we all lived close to mom an dad. I’m divorced since early 2002. It has not been easy but I do have the memories! I never thought I would be without my children and grandchildren. I pray that God will get me through this and hope they are all safe and that the Holy Spirit will fill their hearts with love. Thanks for listening!

    • Brant Hansen on June 17, 2022 at 1:50 pm

      Thank you, Maryann!

      And may God bless you and grant you peace amid the bittersweetness and heartache.

  4. Edy Toussaint on June 17, 2022 at 4:38 pm

    Beautiful!!!!!!! Yes, no one can tell you what it will be like until it happens – and, as often is the case, things turn out far better than they’d predicted!!!!!! Those offspring will be back — Their joy/your joy is a bond that keeps them ‘boomeranging’ back to you – maybe when you least expect it – but good fathers are reflecting Our Good Father – and His Children will get back!!!!!!

  5. Kim Kuznetsov on June 17, 2022 at 6:39 pm

    This is absolutely beautiful! I have four kids, five years apart. Child #2 just graduated high school – two more to go. I’ve enjoyed every minute of each one of them – their personalities so very different. I also heard a lot of what people say. What they said was never my experience. I love each of my children for who they are and wouldn’t change a thing! Truly, they are the greatest gift from God. I know I have a different perspective being a mom, but it sounds like a mutual appreciation for the role we play and who each of our beautiful babies are. Happy Father’s Day to you, and thank you for this!

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