Father Figures

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Being a father can be overwhelming, humbling, inspiring and joyful.

We asked Findlay-area dads, from first-timers to veterans, to share the lessons they’ve learned.

Dale Shaheen
Telecommunications/E911 coordinator
with wife Lisa and three children, Trevor, 26, Drew, 25,
and Bethany, 21.
"Rearing children, it is like the passing of the seasons.  I would not eliminate any parenting experience, but there are some I'm glad I don't have to go back to. But really and truly, being a parent is one of God's greatest gifts. Each person is an individual; parenting is an opportunity to mold and help develop that individual. Everyone has their free will, and they can choose to live life as they desire, but you are given this opportunity to show what the value of being a good person is, and hopefully they pick up on that and that becomes instilled in them so they try to emulate that. Maintain involvement, especially during the challenging periods. Growing up nobody really likes to hear ‘no,’ but as you think about it and you analyze it, you have somebody telling you not to do something, somebody is looking out for you and trying to keep you away from life's harms. So when you're raising children, you need to be firm and fair with each one, but you have to tailor that firmness and fairness to each child."

Majdi Akra,
Business owner
with his daughter Jihan, 22, wife Hanan and daughter Nadine, 21.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            “What I have learned is that kids grow up fast. If you don’t take the time to be involved and enjoy every minute of their childhood before they grow, become independent and ‘fly away,’ you will miss it. Taking the time to spend with children, especially at a young age, is important in their development as they become an adult. You have to guide them and help them as they make that transition. I still remember how confused and overwhelmed I was when my first daughter was born and the doctor handed her to me at the hospital. I thought, 'Okay, now what am I supposed to do?' It was strange, yet so exciting. She just graduated from college this year, and I can’t believe how time has flown. Cherish every moment with them while you can. My motto is from birth to 7 years, children need to be disciplined. From 7 to 14, they need to be taught. And from then on, be a friend.”

Aubrey Hornsby
Adams Street Publishing
Sales Manager,
with his children, Aubrey, 4 and Adelle, 2
"The first thing I learned about fatherhood is you’re never, ever ready for it. Everyone told me how difficult, exhausting and expensive it would be. And I said back to everyone “Yeah, I know, thanks for the advice." But, I had absolutely no clue what-so-ever. With a two- and four-year-old, I get my butt kicked from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to sleep and sometimes from midnight to 2 am.
I also didn’t realize how much love I could have for my two kids — that I could love anyone the way I love them. It wasn’t all at once, the-second-they-were-born, like in the movies — it never is. Each day I watch them grow, learn, laugh and play and there is this overwhelming sense of pride and joy that develops. It’s like an LED light — how it becomes brighter by the second till it is almost too much. Through all the dirty diapers, snot bubbles, and “Why Daddy?” questions you become a father and you know you would do anything for your children. My advice for new fathers is this: save up; buy diapers every time you go to the store; support them no matter what; and always remember to take a deep breath. It takes a lot of planning and patience, but it is worth it."

Drew Mihalik,
Lawyer (and husband of Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik),
with his children Joseph James, 6
and Elizabeth Mae, 4.
"The first time a child says 'I love you, daddy' on their own is something that I will never forget. Even through all the long nights and fits and not wanting to listen, or 'Daddy more milk!' —- when they look up and say those words with emotion and the most pure of intentions, it makes you melt. Now as they each get older and taller by the minute, each time they say it I still see them saying it for the first time. I hope that is something that never changes and that I never forget.

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