A Conversation on Fatherhood in the Middle of Walmart

This morning I’m picking up a few things from the store with my Daughter Dylan in the shopping cart. As I’m grabbing what I need, I’m approached by a young man, hat cocked sideways, Vanilla Ice looking stripes shaved into the side of his head his under his hat, wearing a t-shirt of some hip-hop group I’ve never heard of walks up to me and just starts talking.

This is the actual conversation we had:

Him: “How old is she?”
Me: “Six Months.”
Him: “She’s cute.”
Me: “Thanks man.”
Him: “I got a little girl on the way. My girl’s six months pregnant.”
Me: “Man, that’s great! Congratulations! Little girls are awesome, she’s gonna change your life.”
Him: “I know, It’s crazy. It’s a big deal. Wasn’t really planning on it. Don’t think I’m ready.”
Me: “We’re never really ready. But you’ll be fine. You’ll do a great job.”
Him: “Yeah, I’m just too young though. I’m still a kid.”
Me: “How old are you?”
Him: “Twenty-Three.”
Me: “Nah, You’re not a kid.”
Him: “You know what I mean. I still feel like a kid.”
Me: “You may feel like a kid, but you’re not. You’re a man, and you’re about to be a dad. You know the difference between a man and a kid?”
Him: “What?”
Me: “A man takes responsibility for his actions. He steps up even when he doesn’t feel like it. You seem like the kind of guy who’s gonna step up. I can tell. You’re gonna be a good Dad.”
Him: “I just don’t know what to do.”
Me: “Man, I’ve got three kids and I still don’t know what to do!”
Him: “For real!?!”
Me: “Seriously! I’m still figuring it out. But you don’t really have to know a lot. Ninety percent of being a Dad is just being there. The worst thing you could do is nothing.”
Him: “Well, I’m not gonna leave. I’m gonna take care of her.”
Me: “I know you will. But here, take this. (handed him my business card) That’s got my number and email on it. When you do feel like quitting, and you will, we all do at some point, call me.”
Him: “Ok, thanks, I will. (looks at card) You’re a Pastor? (gets an embarrassed look on his face).”
Me: “Yeah, don’t hold it against me. (My daughter starts crying) Alright man, I gotta go. She’s getting crazy. Seriously call me if you need anything.”
Him: “I will.”
Me: “(As I’m walking away) Oh hey, one more thing. Do you have a job?”
Him: “Yeah, kind of.”
Me: “Kind of? You probably need to get a job. Kids are expensive.”
Him: “(Laughing) Yeah that’s what I hear! Thanks!”

I’m not sure how it is I tend to have so many conversations like this in the middle of the most random places. Maybe I just need to open a church in a Walmart.