A Birthday Gift For Kanye West

Parenting: A Birthday Gift For Kanye West

What I wish I knew the day I became a father...

Dear Kanye,

Happy Birthday! I hope today is filled with what you want from life. You have a healthy bank account … and while money won't actually buy happiness, it does help pay for the search.

I'm sure you are receiving a variety of gifts today, but your real gift is but a few weeks away: The gift of fatherhood. I'd like to gift you with something unique; a gift only someone like me can provide: How to survive being the father of a baby girl. There's no rulebook on parenting, and being the father of a girl comes with a variety of challenges: some good, others that make you want to bash your head into a wall.

1. Recognize that you're not ready. I don't care how much money you have in the bank … nothing in the world can prepare you for fatherhood—no teachings, no book, no discussions with other parents. All those things are valuable, but they won't have answers … merely third-party perspective. Being a great parent isn't a destination … it's a journey you go through.

2. Be involved and spend your time with her. You have cash and privilege, but 10 nannies will never substitute for a father by her side. She requires your attention; be there for her and stay involved. From the first diaper change, to her first steps, to her first day at school to her first training bra … be there for all of it. If you don't, not only will you regret it, you risk showing her that men are vaporous, temporary fixtures in her life.

3. It's okay to make mistakes … and let her see it. Eighteen years ago, I was in your mental position: excited, nervous, paranoid, thoughtful … and admitting none of it. My job—as Dad—was to be strong; to be fearless; to be all-knowing. I didn't feel that I had the luxury of showing weakness, as I needed to lead. What I've learned is that it's okay to be human, and let your kids see it. The lesson to her is simple: Making mistakes is part of life … it's how you handle them that defines you.

4. Act like a fool. Your public persona is one of the well-dressed, successful-yet-controversial figures. But I would strongly encourage you to be a fool for her. Tea parties, characters, whatever. One of the funniest moments for me as a father was when my then 7-year-old daughter insisted on painting my toenails. I've never seen a child laugh so hard. CONTINUE READING ....

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