Fatherhood is the greatest responsibility and honor a man can have placed upon him. I never met my biological father, nor did I grow up with a male figure in my home. I didn’t grow up with money, a nice home or fancy clothes. In fact, I spent the majority of my childhood living in the projects or with family members. However, thanks to my mom, I had no shortage of love. Because of that I feel very strongly that love, faith, strength and courage are the most important elements of growing and learning at any stage of life. Now, as a father, I strive to demonstrate these in my home because the greatest lesson my kids have taught me is how to love people unconditionally.
Being a father has allowed me to keep things in perspective, for which I am extremely grateful. When a young fan asks for an autograph or picture or when I visit hospitals and schools, I always think, “What if these were my kids? What if my children were sick or didn’t have the resources to obtain a great education, live in a safe neighborhood or live a comfortable life?” I am very grateful when people go the extra mile for my kids, and I make it a point to always return that favor. Life as a WWE Superstar is hectic and stressful at times, but the ability to positively change lives on a daily basis motivates me to work hard. My kids could not care less if I win or lose a match or if I have a bad day at work. I’ve come to find not just my kids but WWE fans love and respect me regardless because beyond the lights, cameras and the action in the ring, they continue to see a real, genuine person. My philosophy with my kids is simple…I expect them to do their best and be the best people they can be and they expect the same of me.
To me, being a father is simple. I live for my kids, not through my kids. I’m not trying to force them into doing the things I did as a child in sports or extracurricular activities because they are who God made them to be. As their father, my job is to provide my children with the best positive guidance, motivation, discipline and resources possible to help them reach their greatness. I do this with plenty of love and try to be a living example instead of a telling example. I’ve learned kids respond more to what they see you do, as opposed what you tell them to do. I am their first role model, and I take that very seriously. They might not take the same path I did, but as long as they respect people, work hard, are positive about life and give their absolute best effort, I always will be proud of them.
To me, the most important part of being a father is being present. Kids really remember the moments and time you spend with them more than the things you buy them. The smallest moments make the biggest impact on a child’s life. I often am asked what I like most about being a father and my answer is always that I love everything about being a father – the challenges, the responsibility, the discipline, the laughter, the school functions…you name it, I love it. Father’s Day is really a special day, but for me, every day is Father’s Day because I get another day to enjoy all of the wonderful characteristics my two sons display. I also get to be part of a very great fraternity….FATHERHOOD! I am honored, humbled and proud to be a father.
For more from Titus O’Neil on Fatherhood, check out his guest shot at Huffington Post, or this interview over at Life of Dad. O’Neil, along with Alberto Del Rio and Roman Reigns are part of a new initiative in which WWE has joined the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families’ Office of Family Assistance, the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse, and the Ad Council to launch a new series of public service advertisements (PSAs) that encourage dads to recognize their critical role and give them the tools to help get more involved.