Question & Answer With Chabakuk Elisha - Fatherhood
How has fatherhood changed you?
Now that's a question! How has fatherhood changed me? Let me count the ways...
I find that everything changes. I am no longer an individual, I am a father. The single most decisive force in decisions, in time usage, in finance - in everything - is the fact that I am a parent.
As a child I looked at my father as grown up, old, experienced, knowledgeable, worldly, wise, in control, and above all, the man with all the answers. If my father didn't know, than no one did.
Little did I realize that fathers are often not all that old, of limited experience, with only selective knowledge, often unworldly, prone to mistakes, only wish they could be in control, and often without a clue. That's probably because I'm not as good a father as my father is, but it also means that my children look at me similarly, and although this is unreasonably and unfair to me, it remains my responsibility to try to live up to some of the expectations... Who knew that "the dad" isn't necessarily fully prepared for the job? We would never hire a pilot who wasn't fully trained to fly a plane, but dads don't get any prerequisite degree for the job. I only wish I was keeping my end of the bargain reasonably well.
Do you find that you are able to give individual attention to each of your six children?
Unfortunately, I have no idea how to give the individual attention each child needs, and especially to the children who need it more than the others. I felt like was doing ok, and mostly in control of things when I only had three children, but when we had our fourth child I instantly felt like the dam broke. Parents have limited time, limited energy and limited recourses. How is it possible for parents to devote this fairly and adequately to a large family? I don't really know.
I remember spending an hour a night on homework with my oldest child. But with each additional child, that is not a possibility anymore. If I have 30 minutes for a child in a night they're lucky and to which child should I devote it? When a couple children demanded my attention, I could usually juggle it; but with six kids demanding it, I am often drained and overwhelmed which doesn't benefit anyone.
I don't want to sound negative; I try my best (at least I'd like to think so), and I am very proud of my kids and their successes but if you ask me, "Do you find that you are able to give individual attention to each of your six children?" I would have to say, "I WISH!"
I think we'll have to ask THEM, say, in about 15 years.