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I'm thankful for the unexpected lessons of fatherhood

It's a life of challenges, as well as simple, daily miracles.

miodrag ignjatovic/Getty Images

Thanksgiving is upon us. It's the time of year where we all take inventory and give thanks for the blessings we've all been given, or — as President George Washington put it, "the many signal favors of Almighty God."

I'll acknowledge that I have no shortage of things to render thanks for. But, having to pick one, I'd say that being a dad has been probably the most fundamentally transformative undertakings in my life and one thing I'm truly thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Parenthood, I've learned is one of those things where you learn that all the cliches are cliche because they're true. My daughter came into this world around 7 p.m. on an August night last year. Since then, my outlook on life has changed immeasurably for the better. I think more in terms of the world I'm leaving, I'm more serious about the faith that I need to teach both by word and by example. In the process of ceding much of my gun budget to things like diapers and baby shoes, I learned to let go of a materialism I didn't realize that I'd been clinging to, even while married. I've grown in patience in ways I didn't think were even possible, and it hasn't even been 18 months yet.

And the growth also comes with wonder. Watching her learn to walk and speak and become a part of the world around them has been a simple, daily miracle.

And in addition to all those blessings is the understanding that — more than any job I've ever done or title I've ever held — I finally and clearly see what God put me on this earth to do. I've also learned that the point isn't merely to the work that I've been given, but also to become the man that I'm supposed to become by doing it. That knowledge, that clear understanding of one's mission in this world — just like the blessing of fatherhood in itself — is invaluable.

Yes, I'm currently working through a stage of my life that involves unpredictable toddler tantrums, projectile hot dog pieces thrown from the high chair and a seemingly never-ending stream of children's songs that would have literally driven a past version of me insane, but despite that — and even sometimes because of it — I'm immeasurably thankful.

One last thing…
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