Archive for January, 2009

Enjoy it while you can

I was wrestling with the kids the other day — one of their favorite things to do with me — when I suddenly started getting worried.

It wasn’t that I thought they were ready to take their ol’ dad (though that’ll happen eventually), or that they would get hurt in any way. They’re still small enough (7 and 4) that injury isn’t a real issue. At least, I hope it’s not.

No, what worried me was the day that it won’t happen anymore.

We won’t wrestle the way we do now, because the kids won’t want to, or they’ll be too strong for me, or they just won’t have the time in their busy lives to goof around like that.

Seems like we’re already getting to that point, in some cases. Our 7-year-old already knows a LOT more about video games than I do, and he’ll soon be getting homework that’ll throw me for a loop.

It hasn’t happened yet. But it will. And so, I need to take advantage of every opportunity to wrestle, or admire a Lego project, or help with artwork, or build a sign for a JumpStart game.

Soon — far too soon — they’ll stop asking me about all that stuff. Especially if I say no a few too many times.


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Here’s what I’ve been thinking about lately:

As my dad tenure lengthens, I grow more and more concerned about how I’ll handle the duties of my parental future.

It’s something every parent runs into at some point, but for some reason I just can’t get past it right now.

I hear about the issues kids face now in middle and high school, and they bear no resemblance to the stuff I had to handle at those ages. I was bullied by kids who called me names and tripped me in the hall. But I was never concerned that a kid would seriously injure me, much less shoot or stab me.

And drugs? The worst of that, seemingly, was the wine bottles behind the stands at the football game, or the “rough kids” who stood outside on the smoking patio with their cancer sticks. (Jeez, some of our teachers even stood out there with them.)

My point? I don’t know that I’ll have the answers if my kids ask questions about stuff like narcotics, or STDs, or whether they should carry guns to school. I mean, I can tell them they absolutely shouldn’t get involved with stuff like that, and even to stay away from the kids that are. But obviously, that might not be enough.

I’m doing the best I can. So is my wife. We’re trying to be good parents. But I fear I don’t have enough answers. Or, perhaps more to the point, that I have answers, but they’re not good enough and they won’t work.

I fear being a failure as a parent. If I am, it won’t be because I don’t care enough, or that I’m not smart enough. It’ll be because when my kids face those kind of decisions, I won’t have the life experiences to address them as convincingly as they’ll need.

That’s the question I’ve found myself asking: Will I know enough about what matters, when it matters?

Maybe I just gotta spend more time on Facebook. Those darn kids, anyway. 🙂

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Hey, it’s only January 8. I haven’t broken any New Year’s resolutions yet.

I haven’t made any yet, either. So, from a parental perspective, here’s a few goals for my 2009:

— Demand less, encourage more.

— Yell less, expect more. It’ll make a quieter house all around.

— Be around more. (This one isn’t totally under my control, but I’m hopeful.)

— Laugh more, worry less.

— Learn more, vegetate less.

— Move more, lay around less.

It’s a start. Simple goals, but those are the ones most easily attainable.

This could well be a work in progress. I might just resolve all year long.

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