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Amaya Quitugua’s Essay
18
Posted by : TEAMDAD on June 24, 2014 - 4:33pm

Branch:         “Army” Father-of-the-Year

Name:           Raymond Quitugua, U.S. Army 1st Sergeant

Hometown: Sinajana, Guam

Amaya Quitugua’s Essay (6th Grade – Kedena Middle School, Okinawa, Japan) - 

There is no exact definition of a father, but if there was my Dad would be the living, breathing definition of it.  No one’s Dad is perfect, but to me he is everything a Dad should be.  By this I mean that a Dad like mine only comes once in a lifetime. 

My Dad is a hard working 1SG in the U.S. Army.  He has deployed two times and works long hours, but every second he was gone he made up for it.  If it wasn’t for family Game nights, family Movie nights, or just simply helping me with schoolwork we would have lost a lot of precious time together.  He supports us emotionally and financially.  There is no greater man to be a husband to my mother, or a father to my brother and me. 

When people say to cherish the little things, I now know what they mean.  Once I took a deep breadth and enjoyed the moment, I noticed that a Dad like mine only comes once in a lifetime.  There are no words to express how much I love my father, all I can say is that I love him with all of my heart.  No family maybe perfect, but with a Dad like mine, we come fairly close.

Raymond's (Amaya's dad) Response To The Essay - 

I believe the measure of a father can be based on the accomplishments of his children.  In this regard I feel like the most successful dad of all time.  Nothing my daughter does ceases to amaze me.  In my endeavor to be a father she can look up to and be proud of she has also enabled me to become a better man and husband.  Words cannot express how proud she makes me each and every day, and I thank God for the gift that was her on the day she was born.

WORDS OF ADVICE-

MOST SIGNIFICANT FATHERING EXPERIENCE: 

I became a father after I was already a husband and Soldier.  This is significant because I had always thought of myself as a good husband, and I always knew I was a good Soldier.  In my endeavors to become a great father however, it has led me to growing by leaps and bounds as both a husband and a Soldier.  I have since learned that being a great father is infinitely harder than either of the other two, but the reward of the love of my children has also brought no greater satisfaction to my life.

BEST FATHERING ADVICE YOU’VE RECEIVED:

Many of us active duty fathers constantly question if are we committed enough to our children.  We feel guilty for the time away and wonder how we can ever make up for the lost moments.  Sadly and too often, we do not even know what we missed.  I have found solace and satisfaction however by remembering this: It isn’t about how we live our lives…it’s about how we are remembered: by our Soldiers, our subordinates, and most importantly – our children.  I find comfort in the fact that my children will remember me for the times we spent together, and not the space in between.

WHAT SPECIFIC WAYS DO YOU PARTICIAPTE IN YOUR CHILD(REN)S LIVES:

Regardless of the type of day I have, I leave all external stressors at the door before I walk into my home.  I give my children 100% of my attention that includes having each of them recant their day and ends with homework review.  I also ensure the times I am home early enough that we eat dinner together as a family.  I believe this is extremely important in ensuring we get quality “family time”, even in the most routine actions.  My kids especially look forward to “family game night” which is most often on Friday nights and “family movie night” either on Friday or Saturday.  Lastly, I make everything a learning opportunity.  Whether it’s a story about their friends, something that happened at school, or even a show we watch together on tv, I apply the lesson to something about life and how they can learn from it.  My ultimate goal is to prepare them as best as possible for the challenges that await them in life and to build the resiliency and mental resources they will need to overcome them.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST CHALLENGE AS A DAD: 

My greatest challenge has, and will most likely always be, making time for my family.  As you go higher and higher in rank in the military, so does level of responsibility, which usually translates to longer work hours.  I deal with this by reallocating the free time that I have in regards to activities that only benefit myself (gym, video games), to the ones that involves my family (walks, camping, bbq).  My children are my greatest achievement and my family brings me the most satisfaction, so it is only fitting they get the majority of my free time.

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About author: TEAMDAD
Each year for the past two years, TEAMDAD has partnered with University of Phoenix to conduct the TEAMDAD Military Fatherhood Essay Contest. More than 500 students participated and this essay was one of the category winners.
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