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7 Ways Fatherhood is Like Racing a Ferrari

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I’ve always loved cars – the faster, the better. I believe this need for speed is programmed into my DNA. My father raced in the Texas dirt track circuit when I was a kid. I don’t remember much about my father before my parents’ divorce, but I can clearly recall the roar of the race car engines and the smell of the track.

I grew up wanting to be a race car driver, but I never thought that I’d ever get the opportunity to make that dream come true. However, it did come true when I drove a Ferrari F430 GT at Dream Racing in Las Vegas. Saying it was one of the most awesome experiences of my life would be an understatement. The only thing that has surpassed that experience is being a dad.

Driving that car made me realize a few things about fatherhood and about myself. In the end, I discovered that fatherhood is a lot like racing a Ferrari.

  • 7 Ways Fatherhood is Like Racing a Ferrari 1 of 8
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    Click through read how fatherhood is like racing a Ferrari.

    Photo by Shawn Parkin

  • There is so much to learn 2 of 8
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    Before I was allowed to get into the Ferrari, I had to learn a few things. I watched a video that explained how to properly handle the Ferrari F430 GT using correct driving techniques, as well as safety procedures. After the video, I had to spend a few more minutes in a racing simulator. Finally, I had to listen to one last safety briefing after donning the race suit. Even after soaking in all of this information, I still felt unprepared to drive the Ferrari. I felt the same way when I became a dad. I read books, searched the web, and talked to other parents, but none of these things adequately prepare me for  fatherhood. Over the years, I've learned that hands-on experience is the best teacher.

    Photo by Shawn Parkin

  • You must listen to those who are more experienced 3 of 8
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    While I waited to drive the Ferrari, I talked to the professional race car drivers. These guys had driven this track hundreds of times and were full of useful advice. I listened to what they had to say and applied it during my laps. Fathers also need mentors. 

    As men, we often want to hide our insecurities and make it seem as if we have everything under control. But if we are to raise a new generation of kids, we have to admit our shortcomings and seek guidance from more experienced dads. And when we see another dad struggling, we must be willing to offer help. No one has all the answers, but each of us has the ability to listen and show compassion (from Dads Need Mentors Too.)

    Photo by Shawn Parkin

  • The driver’s seat can be scary 4 of 8
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    Even after all of the training and conversations with the experienced drivers, I was still a bit nervous when I sat in the driver's seat. There was so much to remember and I had to do it while traveling at speeds in excess of 170 mph. I felt this same fear when I became a father for the first time. What if I couldn't handle the pressure? What if I crashed and burned? These worries kept me from enjoying fatherhood as much as I could have. It wasn't until I learned to relax, that I gained the confidence in my abilities that I needed to be a good dad.

    Photo by Shawn Parkin

  • Curves are unavoidable 5 of 8
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    I would have loved to drive this car as fast I could on a stretch of straight road, but that wouldn't have given me an authentic racing experience. Instead, I had to drive through a course that was full of sharp curves. Each curve required me to make a different adjustment. Once when I went into a curve too fast, I lost control of the car and ended up in the gravel. The driving instructor gently directed me back on track to complete the race. Since I've been a dad, I've experienced many curves. Health issues, marital problems, and personal disappointments have presented major challenges in my life. But I've learned to navigate these curves and push on through to the finish line.

    Photo by Shawn Parkin

  • It’s more fun than you ever imagined 6 of 8
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    Driving that Ferrari was an experience that I'll never forget. Hearing that engine roar sent chills through my body. Feeling the G-force as I whipped around the curves was incredible. Speeding down the track at unbelievable speeds was thrilling (I managed to reach 172 mph). I felt an adrenaline rush like never before. Being a dad gives me a similar rush. Playing with my kids brings me joys. Seeing their smiling faces warms my heart like nothing else. And watching them grow and develop gives me a sense of pride. Fatherhood isn't always easy, but it is more fun than I ever imagined.

    Photo by Shawn Parkin

  • You’ll want to document every moment 7 of 8
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    When I wasn't driving the Ferrari, I was documenting every moment of the experience. I filled my phone with photos of the car, pictures of me in the race suit, and videos of other drivers taking their laps around the track. As a dad, I'm always chronicling the events of my children's lives. Every single thing that they do is a photo op. But I've learned that it's much more important to live in the moments than it is to document them.

    Photo by Frederick J. Goodall

  • It goes by too fast 8 of 8
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    When you're driving a race car around the track, the laps go by quickly. Before I knew it, I had completed all 5 of my laps and my tenure as a race car driver was over. I felt as if it ended too soon. That's how it is with fatherhood. Before you know it, that tiny baby will become an adult. I encourage every father to cherish every moment with your children because they go by too fast. 

    Photo by Shawn Parkin

 

Connect with Frederick J. Goodall on Mocha DadTwitter, or Facebook.

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