The best and the scariest day of my life

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 15, 2014

Like a slow moving hurricane bearing down on the coast, the arrival of my son nearly 17 years ago changed my life forever. Never again would a decision be made solely for selfish reasons.

My son was born on a typical hot humid August night. I was a proud new papa and was brimming over with pride. Once I held that redheaded child in my arms the weight of the world suddenly settled over me. I realized that now I was responsible for raising a well-adjusted, respectful responsible citizen. Talk about a wake-up call.

A man can accomplish many great things, could save countless lives and invent something that makes the world a better place, but to me a true measure of a man’s success is the legacy of his children. I want my son to grow up working hard for his success, to be kind to others and know the value of true friendship and experience the joys of fatherhood.

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It would be too easy to try to fix problems and to smooth out the bumps in the road of life, but diversity builds character. The difficulties we face in life shape and define the people we become. I do want the best for my son and that means sometimes I have to let him figure things out for himself. Hovering over him and attending to his every need would make him a spoiled brat that no one would want to be around.

It is a great honor to be a father and has given me tremendous insight into my own father’s life. As an ungrateful teenager I didn’t understand my father and the things he tried to instill in me. It wasn’t until I became a father that the realization set in.

I used to think that I would never make my kid do this or that. I thought I had all the answers and then one August night I suddenly realized that I didn’t. That night was both the best and the scariest night of my life. It’s a night that no matter how much time passes seems as fresh as if it happened yesterday.

Happy Father’s Day dad, now I get it.

Paul Barry is the managing editor and can be reached by email at or by phone at 601-636-4545 ext. 123.