As fathers we are expected to do a bit more than hold the couch down on our days off, we don’t get to play hours of Xbox while we wait for delivery pizza to arrive thrice daily.
We have a job to do, one that requires a bit of dedication, and perhaps finesse. I’m talking about mentoring, teaching what we know to our children so maybe they can get a leg up as they head into life. Now, just because we teach a lesson, doesn’t mean our kids will never make the same mistakes we made, but maybe we can help them spot the pitfalls a bit quicker than we did.
I think as dads we tend to want to teach our kids by showing. It is so hard for us to see them try and fail, we just want to keep them from the experience all together. I can still think back to when my dad was teaching me how to cut wood on his scroll saw, I stood there watching him, and watching him, and watching him… I didn’t “own” the experience, it was all him. Now, with my own kids, I catch myself doing the same thing.
And so, with my own kids, I try to let them dig right in when I teach them a new skill. I keep them safe (if it is a bladed, fire, acid, or wild animal activity) and let them learn. I am still there to correct technique, or give advice, but the ownership of the activity is completely with them. And now my oldest son can finally grate cheese like a pro, yes teenagers can still learn new tricks.
So in reflection, I wish I had figured these things out when the kids were young:
- Check your ego at the door (Big manly dads have to be ready to kiss boo boos.)
- Hug those kids ALL THE DAMN TIME!
- Be the adult you want them to become.
Good Luck, I’m out!