Happy Father’s Day to all those good daddies out there! Being a good parent is a tough, never-ending job and we are blessed with a good one in this family. Giving of yourself day in and day out, adapting your schedule to meet the needs of others, and choosing to be the best role model you can be is tiring…..and also fun, rewarding, and joyful.
I recently read the book, All Joy and No Fun, a book about modern parenting by Jennifer Senior (**props to Dr. Dan for the recommendation and ongoing enlightenment!;). The first third of the book I spent annoyed but she was definitely challenging me to use my critical thinking skills by painting parenting as taking away from our lives instead of enhancing it. She uses data and the history of parenting (a relatively new term) in this country to explain how much having children takes away from our time, resources, and “fun”. I didn’t like that this book is solely focused on the middle class which is only one segment of our society. I didn’t agree with parenting being more work than fun. And, there were many generalizations made. The book did redeem itself, though, and end on a positive note during the last third of the book that talks about the joys of being a parent. Sometimes it is the unmeasurable and data-free feelings that mean the most in life, isn’t it?
Feeling true joy as a parent is having your child idolize you, say the same things you say, make you a better person, forgive you for the mistakes you make, and love you unconditionally as you do them.
Just a couple days ago at the beach, I was walking with Brody and he literally cracked me up and made me realize how much we say and do as parents matters. We were walking from the beach store to the gas station in the next parking lot over. Instead of driving over there which would be more trouble than it was worth, we cut over. Instead of walking up to the street and then back to the store, I made a short-cut through the pine needles, or “landscaping” as Brody correctly identified. He started scolding me as I led the way saying,
“What are you doing?! You always tell me not to walk through the landscaping and now you’re doing it. You’re always such a nut-job!”
Some parents would have been offended and at the wrong moment, I may have been too but he was right. He also quickly added, after I repeated to make sure I had his quote right, that
“We’re all nut-jobs in this family!”
LOL! So true. What made this even funnier is that it sounds like it was straight from Bo’s mouth. He is totally developing his sense of humor and overall personality. I’ve even had a friend say how much Brody acts like Bo. He wants to act just like King-Dada, his best friend, his rock, his hero.
When I think about the latest tragic shooting in Charleston, I think about this young, evil person who was not born this way. Kids aren’t born racist. They aren’t color blind either but they aren’t born to hate and think they are better than another human being because of their skin tone. It’s how we as parents talk to them about race, acceptance, and tolerance. It’s our attitudes about how we treat others and our actions that lead our children. Our families and parents have such a great impact on our values, habits, and even personalities.
It’s a big responsibility to be shaping the mind and heart of another impressionable little person, and it’s so FUN and JOYFUL. There will come a time when our children may not always admire and respect all of our actions and thoughts (no…..middle school!) but one would hope that if you’d laid a good foundation, then our children will always have that rock to come back to. It may be one crazy, moody, funny, and tough rock but it’s someone’s whole world.
Happy Father’s Day to all those great dads out there! (Dada Bo)