Thursday, October 01, 2009

B.A.D. Being a Dad

I write about a lot of topics on this blog but the most important and special one is fatherhood.

At a very young age I knew that I wanted to be a dad. I was always the guy people turned to for advice. I had a natural instinct to stand up for and defend my friends and my mother recalls a time when I sat on the curb for hours with my best friend Stephanie and she cried to me about her parents divorce.

Being a dad was in the cards for me.

I have always second guessed my ability as a dad. As much as my love for my children is with question, the way you raise your kids is always a concern. Am I going to say one thing and destroy my child's self esteem? Am I being to strict? Too leanient? Am I a being their friend or father?

It's a daily thing it seems.

But then when I see Gillian asking her brother for help with homework and him helping without any complaint. Or when George congratulated Gillian on her A+ spelling test she brought home the other day. Or when Gillian knew that George had a bunch of homework and took out the trash for him (his job, yay fatherhood) without asking. When I see this stuff, I know my wife and I are doing something right.

I'll never forget the moment I saw my son. I instantly fell in love with him and with being a dad and with my wife all over again in that moment. And it has never changed. Sure he has upset me but nothing he can do can stop me from loving him. The exact same feelings came over me when my daughter was born.

I tell my kids that my duty as a parent is to raise them up to be good people that help make the world better by just being good people! To raise functional members of society that love their neighbors as well as themselves. This is my goal.

Once when George was testing out his limits I told him, "I would rather you hate me and not be an awful person, then you think I am 'awesome' and you turn out to be a jerk." If it takes my kids hating me right now for the rules I lay down than so be it. I am older and I know more then they do. I am both strict and open to letting them stumble and make some mistakes in life. They will never learn to watch for bumps in the road if they don't trip over one now and then right?

I still have a ways to go with raising these children but the challenges ahead are met together. All four of us, my wife and kids, we talk about all of our struggles together, about our choices, about mistakes and punishments. I always ALWAYS explain why they are punished and how they can avoid punishment in the future.
They get it.

As with all parenting styles, not one is right for everyone.

My advice? Know your kids. Love them. Let them know you. Explain your actions. Ask them how they would handle the situation if the roles were reversed AND CONSIDER THEIR IDEAS on it. They may surprise you! You may surprise them!

Heck, you may surprise yourself. A lot can be learned from each other.

My last and most important thing I can say as advice from one parent to another is remember what it was like when you were a kid. Is what you are saying anything that would have made and impact on you?

If not, dump it and find a new route. You would be surprised how well this works.

Happy Parenting!!!


Traci said...

You're awesome! What a great blog post today. Thanks for tapping into feelings that fathers feel--it's something many Dad's feel but have a hard time putting into words. What a great blog post. Tears..(and I DON'T cry...much).

Lee Ann Thill said...

That's a great post, George! If I were going to be a parent, I'd want to follow in your footsteps. I really have the utmost respect for your parenting style and skills, and having worked with an awful lot of people with poor parenting skills, it's so reassuring to know that there are people out there who are not only doing it right, but doing it great, doing it thoughtfully, and doing it with all their heart. You have fabulous kids who are going to be fabulous adults someday.

Stacey D. said...

Very touching post George! And very rewarding advice. Your kids are lucky to have you as their father :)

George said...

Traci - Some guys have a tough time sharing their feelings. I never have and until adulthood understood that it was okay to be as open as I am. It was tough as a kid being so emotional but it's just how I am I guess.

Lee Ann-You have brought me to tears. I still worry about each step I take with these guys but so far, so good!

Stacey - Thank you so much, I feel like I am the lucky one but I think, we are all just the right fit for each other.

tmana said...

<*tears*> There is so much trial and error in the process of being a parent, or being a kid, and we as a society expect parents to be perfect (then we change the rules on them and tell them they're ****), and we as adults expect kids to behave the way we want them to behave -- as opposed to the way their personalities, and their needs to know and grow, prompt them to behave.

Every time I read you talking about your kids, I feel that you are blessed to have great kids, and they are blessed to have great parents. And maybe one day, years from now, you will be blessed to be a great grandfather (maybe even -- many years after that -- a great great-grandfather)

Jaimie said...

You're amazing! Jaz is amazing! Kiddos are amazing! you guys so much & I'm truely blessed for what our friendship as brought into my life...the end! (pass the tissues, damn allergies!)

Karen said...

Oh boy, this post made me cry big time!! Although I haven't met your kids, I can tell how wonderful they are through what you share about them. I've told people about Brother & Sister Day. And I believe a big part of how wonderful they are comes from what a wonderful parent you are!!

Scott K. Johnson said...

I've told you many times how I feel about the job that you & Jaz are doing with those two gems.

You are a role model for me. :-)

k2 said...

Your an awesome man, and awesome friend, and an AWESOME DAD!!!
You are lucky and blessed in so many ways, and so are your children!

Colleen said...

Nice post today. Like everyone else, I enjoy reading about your relationship with your son and daughter. It's obviously based on mutual respect for each other.

Sandy said...

Wow! nothing but blessings all around.

Amazing Children and great grandkids. I always brag about how wonderful they are. And you and Jaz are why they are so..
Lots of Love

Wendy said...

Thanks for this, George :) I love your take on fatherhood and I really enjoyed this post!

It's so nice to read about your wonderful family!

God Bless...this "No D-Day" thing was fun!

God Bless!

Bernard said...

George, it's clear that the Big Guy has you under His care. Parenting is hard work, with no classes in advance and you're doing a great job.

Now I'm waiting to see the big 35 get replaced with a different number...can't wait.

And thanks for #nodday, it was a lot of fun.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure your an awesome parent. I doubt myself too. Parenting is a tough job but so worth it.

Thanks for the #nodday. It was great!

Laura said...

A lovely post, George. Thank you for sharing (and thank you for coming up with No D Day - I had a lot of fun writing my post!)

Sandy said...

Undoubtedly, my favorite blog ever!! I agree, you and your lovely, warm and awesome wife, Jasmine, are doing a great job with those kids! Keep up the good work! Hardest parts are still to come!

love you....