I Want to be More Than A Father, I Want to Be a Dad!

Mark Otto reflects on growing up and his journey to becoming a dad.

What does it mean to me to be a father?

I think any male can be a father. We see countless men all over the world who carry the title of ‘father’ as there is no prerequisite required to be a one, because as soon as your child is born you become a ‘father.’

What has always been important to me growing up was I wanted to be more than just a father, I wanted to be a Dad.

To me being a dad is a title that carries so much weight and responsibility. Being a dad is being a role model to your children, and instilling values in them that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.

I vividly remember growing up, and all the lessons my dad taught me. Those lessons are paramount to the person who I am today, and I thank him so much for that. 

My dad taught me so much about what it is to be a man. He taught me the importance of being honest, that you can have anything in life that you want if you are willing to put in the work. 

My dad taught me about saving for the future, and I have since learned that saving alone is not enough, as you also need to invest. 

Mark and daughter
Mark and daughter share a moment

The most important lesson my dad taught me after he came to this country, is that he did the best with the opportunities given to him. It is my obligation to build on those opportunities and become a better version of who he was. It is these core values that I live by now in my life, and I try to stay true to those values every day. 

Today, I have one child, and I want to be the best dad to her that any child could ask for. This means I try to afford her every opportunity to try things that I did not have growing up, without spoiling her. This can be a difficult task because I need my daughter to understand that not every activity she wants to do, and not every material item she sees, can she get it. 

Being a dad lets your child know that they can come to you and talk about anything without being afraid to speak about what’s on their mind. One of the most important lessons I have taught to my daughter is that it’s ok to fail, and not to be a follower. It is this lesson that has allowed my daughter to go out and do what feels right to her without feeling she needs approval from her friends. Sometimes these opportunities take her off the beaten path which many of our young ones trod each day.

I love being a dad to my daughter. She knows that I love her unconditionally and that I support her in everything she does. Knowing this has allowed her to blossom into the beautiful, intelligent, young lady she is today.