Whomever said I was qualified to do this job was crazy. Being the dad means having the answers and doing all the things the right way. I don’t have answers and I certainly don’t do things properly. I worry every day that I’m raising psychopaths or empaths. It’s fortunate that there is no license needed nor granted to procreate. I, likely, wouldn’t have qualified.
I tell my youngest daughter all the time how beautiful she is. She is beautiful, but isn’t that bad? Am I raising a girl who will grow into a woman who only values her appearance? Will she aspire to something magnificent, highly technical or really dirty then refrain because “girls don’t do that”? Will she stand up to anyone or anything and demand what is rightfully hers based on her merits and skills or simply be handed whatever her charms may garner and aspire to nothing more until they are gone?
My son is clearly gifted, he tested 99 – 97 percentile at age three. I tell him he’s smart and everyday he blows my mind with the things he learns or divines from some odd source. I over-react to these stunning comments he makes, “Oh, my gosh! Where do you keep all of these brains of yours? Your head looks normal size to me! Do you have brains in your arms like an octopus?”
Will he only value facts or worse, trivia? Will he appreciate what made Monet’s gardens so impossibly beautiful or Picasso’s Bull so innovative and dynamic? Will he love the sound of silence and the warmth of the sun on his face or will he only wonder where the wi-fi signal is?
My oldest daughter is becoming a woman. She oscillates between being a kid and being an adult and she can be either in any given moment, like choosing one hat over another. She too, is beautiful and intelligent with world of possibility at her feet. She could be anything she desires but I don’t think anyone knows what she will choose.
Our culture and her peers have repressed her more than I’d like already. It happens to all of us. I don’t know if it’s biological or societal or something else. It’s akin to the difference between being 5 years old with boundless energy to express your emotions and being 25 years old, when, outside of a funeral or a winning lottery ticket you are more or less anchored. An adult world of thorium patients.
The dichotomy of Being the Dad is thus; I have to encourage learning, the adoption of social norms, teach respect and value and values but don’t crush the little people into beastly maniacs or, maybe worse, spineless “sheeple” who accept fairytales as fact or rumor for truth. Somehow show them that our social norms do not equal social decorousness, yet don’t give them the idea that “the man” exists to hold them down. Inspite of your own views, remember that society in general is not totally misguided. Show your children the beauty of the world but don’t reveal the ugly truth about it’s dark corners, not yet. Proclaim your own fascination of the world and its many, varied cultures but don’t let on how jaded you are about certain parts of it. Repress your own prejudices and teach tolerance and peace even though you feel disdain for certain groups or philosophies.
Rationally, I know that there are no rules to parenting. Outside of not forgetting your kids at school or leaving them in a hot car, it’s essentially up to the dad to make the rules for being the dad. As I go along, I find I know one thing for certain. I love my children and my wife more that I even thought possible. That love, at least on a moment to moment basis, keeps me from making really harmful parenting choices. I don’t know how my kids will turn out in the end, but I know that at the very least, they will know how to love and be loved in return. Failing that, at least I can teach them how to sweat a joint.
Did you like it? Please Share it.