Back in May my newest book came out. The New Dad’s Playbook: Gearing Up for the Biggest Game of Your Life has been a few years in the making. In fact, it was the first book I ever started working on.
After our second or third child (it all blends together) Kirsten looked at me and said, “Benjamin, you need to write a handbook for first-time dads so they can know how to swaddle, how to help their wife as her body changes, what to expect in the OBGYN appointments… all those types of things” So we did. In fact, anything and everything Kirsten and I could think of, we put into this book.
In a sense, it’s a What to Expect When You’re Expecting for men. Kirsten was the instigator behind this. We even signed a book deal, but when Ferguson happened we put this book on hold so I could focus on writing Under Our Skin. Then when I hurt my achilles last year, I had plenty of time to pick it back up, this time finishing the playbook.
This book is part exhortation and part instructional. Our first goal for this book was to practically prepare men to be fathers and the husbands and supports their wives need them to be. The second is to encourage men to know they have what it takes to be a father. No matter what our background is or what our own father was like or not like, we are needed as fathers. We can become the fathers we want to be.
When Kirsten first challenged me to write this book I didn’t think I could or even should. First of all, I didn’t think I was qualified to write a book period. But I also didn’t know if I was the right one to speak on this subject. I know I’ve said and did some things as a father that I shouldn’t have, but I did always desire to make things right. If I didn’t know the answers, I’d search for them.
What I’ve realized through the process is that you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect dad. Nor do you have to be perfect to be the perfect husband. What you need is the willingness to admit when you’re wrong and be willing to grow into the man you were created to be. Be open to change. Prepare for the relationship you want to have with the mother of your children. Prepare for the relationship you’ll have with your children.
I believe fathers are to be the protectors, providers, priests, and spiritual leaders within our families. Though we do this imperfectly, it’s what we’re called to do. We have the opportunity to imperfectly be the first example of our perfect Heavenly Father that our kids encounter. We also have the chance to lead them to their perfect Father.
This is the reason Kirsten and I thought it was important to write the book in the first place. The whole point is to show men how they can be the father they want to be, but also to show them the Father who we all need. He is our first and truest example. He is the One we are to emulate in every way.
“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are the children born in one’s youth. Blessed in the man whose quiver is full of them.” —Psalm 127:3-5
This book is just as much of a challenge to other men as it is to myself. I wrote this book, not from a place of having it all together, but from a place of knowing the truth and holding myself to that standard. As fathers, we have the chance to change generations by the way we lead our children. What kind of father are you going to be?
Benjamin Watson is a tight end with the Baltimore Ravens and a regular contributor to The Increase and will be providing monthly articles and opinions.
For more info on Benjamin’s new book, check out the book’s website: newdadsplaybook.com