“Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man.” These are the wise words of Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore. They also came true this week for Tasman and Jean Westbury with the birth of their first baby, named Elijah Joseph-Anthony Westbury.

You have never met Jean Westbury, but you will know her work on our new Dads4Kids website and our Dads4Kids Facebook site. Jean has a heart of gold and so does her husband.

It feels as if Dads4Kids has had a new addition to our family in more ways than one. The words of Roland Leonhardt bubble out of a thankful heart:

“Children bring us a piece of heaven on earth”. 

I spoke to Tasman, the proud dad, and asked him if he cried when his baby was born. He said, “No,” but later when he picked Elijah up to cuddle him, the edges of his eyes ‘got very wet’.

Tasman is not alone, as the below video of a new father’s tears shows.

 

Benjamin Fox

Tough footballer Benji Marshall, regarded as one of the best players in the world, cried when he had his first baby. He tells his story in Body & Soul:

“The doctor said the cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck, so I told Zoe she had to push. It was as if I was giving a talk to the boys on the field,” explained the NRL star.

“We were both crying. I was hysterical.”

Benji explained everyone in the room was encouraging Zoe to keep pushing and the doctor told him the baby would be like “a wet footy” so he had to hold onto him tight.

Zoe’s labour lasted 10 hours and she opted for an epidural after the contractions became too much. But when their beautiful boy arrived, everything changed for the pair.

“I held him up like on The Lion King and put him on Zoe’s chest straight away, and we were both crying. I was hysterical,” Benji told Body & Soul magazine.

He admitted that despite everyone saying it would happen, that moment has definitely changed their world.

Throughout their relationship, Benji and Zoe have always referred to the other as their ‘Arctic fox’ because the animal only has one mating partner for life.

They used that as inspiration for naming their son and called him Benjamin Fox. Benjamin is a nod to the rugby league star’s uncle Benji, who was there to guide him through his younger years and to Zoe’s late mum.

Co-Creators With God

See the below photo of Elijah. This is what Tasman had to say about the experience,

“To see the child you have co-created with God and your wife, resting so trustingly in your arms, brings a well of feeling you just aren’t prepared for.”

Having a baby is a profoundly spiritual and life-transforming experience.  I asked Tasman how he felt as a proud new father and he said something that grabbed my attention. “I don’t feel like a father, but I feel like a dad.” I asked him what he meant?

Tasman said with tears,

“A father guides his family, provides for his family, loves and disciplines his children to bring them up as the Great Father would. The Father in whom there is no shadow of turning, the perfect Father of all, and I am not that yet. It is too big a challenge for me at the moment, so I am just a dad. I hope I can be a true father to my Elijah someday.”

I said these words of encouragement to Tasman, and I would say the same words to all first-time fathers everywhere.

“You are a dad, but you are also a father to your son. There is no such thing as a perfect father this side of heaven. We are all works in progress. When you are 67 years old like I am, and you have 9 grandchildren, you are still learning, and you are still making mistakes.  

So, accept the title of father as well as Dad because you will grow into it, and yes you will fail, but ultimately as long as you stay humble, you will succeed. Tim Hansell summed it up when he said, ‘It takes time to be a good father. It takes effort — trying, failing, and trying again.’”

The words of Tom Wolfe in the book The Bonfire of Vanities come to mind,

“Sherman made the terrible discovery that men make about their fathers sooner or later… that the man before him was not an aging father but a boy, a boy much like himself, a boy who grew up and had a child of his own and, as best he could, out of a sense of duty and, perhaps love, adopted a role called ‘Being a Father’ so that his child would have something mythical and infinitely important: a Protector, who would keep a lid on all the chaotic and catastrophic possibilities of life.”

Lovework: Being a Father

Never stop learning and never stop saying sorry.

More importantly, “Never ever give up” as Churchill said. Tim Hansell certainly nailed it when he said,

‘It takes time to be a good father. It takes effort — trying, failing, and trying again.’”

Yours for Never Giving Up,
Warwick Marsh

PS: Watch out for an important announcement in the coming week.

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Image by Omar Lopez on Unsplash.

About the Author: Warwick Marsh

Warwick Marsh has been married to Alison Marsh since 1975; they have five children and nine grandchildren, and he and his wife live in Wollongong in NSW, Australia. He is a family and faith advocate, social reformer, musician, TV producer, writer and public speaker. Warwick is a leader in the Men’s and Family Movement, and he is well-known in Australia for his advocacy for children, marriage, manhood, family, fatherhood and faith. Warwick is passionate to encourage men to be great fathers and to know the greatest Father of all. The Father in Whom “there is no shadow of turning.”

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