As a relatively new father, I can confidently say:
“I have no idea what the hell I’m doing.”
I’ve said it before, and I’m pretty sure that I will declare it again. I’m definitely a “Dad ‘n Training,” learning every step of the way. I stumble from time to time, but I also feel like that I earn my share of gold stars.
My wife recently shared a blog post with me about daddyhood. It was entitled “28 Rules for Fathers and Sons.” My wife said it made her smile, because she felt like I did a lot of things on the list.
“28 rules? Really? That seems like a lot!”
She read through the 28 “rules.”
It was cute little blog post, written by a mommy blogger. She included fun and harmless “rules,” like:
• No. 2: Let him drive.
• No. 12: Let him dance in tighty whiteys.
• No. 18: Let him try on your shoes.
She had some “rules” that I really liked, too:
• No. 1: Love his mother.
• No. 9: Teach him manners.
• No. 11: Teach him to choose his battles.
Then the writer went off the reservation a little bit. First of all, she compromised her entire list with Rule No. 20 (Give him baths). Her expert explanation:
“Because Mom can’t do everything damnit.”
I hope there is room on her soapbox because here I come…
There were two “rules” on the list that were…well…um…ridiculous. I included the author’s explanation to help drive home the absurdity.
• No. 14: Let him win.
Sometimes he needs to know that big things are possible.
• No. 26. Grow a big belly.
Because every child should get the chance to rest there head on the absolute softest pillow ever. Daddy’s belly is the best place to land.
The latter just makes me shake my head. For a dad who laces up his shoes everyday to inspire his son to live a healthy life, this “rule” makes zero sense. Again, I get it…this is a fun little blog post, BUT getting fat is always a bad “rule.”
Now, let’s tackle the gigantic pink elephant wearing No. 14.
Let him win?!?!?!?
She. Has. Lost. Her. Mommy. Blogger. Mind.
Again, her explanation: “Sometimes he needs to know that big things are possible.”
Newsflash: You can do that without letting your son (or daughter for that matter) win. This falls into the same category as “Give Everyone a Trophy.”
When my son does beat me at something – and he will – I want it to be a monumental day. Whether it’s a foot race, a board game or a thumb war. I want him to know that he won, fair and square – not because I let up or quit. (The thought of my son seeing me quit makes me want to throw up.)
More importantly, I want my son to know – without a doubt in his little 3-year-old brain – that losing is a part of life. I don’t want him to fail for the first time and say, “What does this mean? I’ve never lost! I want my daddy?!?!?!”
We play a silly little game with his basketball hoop. I countdown from 5 seconds and he shoots as many times as he can before “the buzzer” goes off.
If he makes the last-second shot…”We won the game!” We yell, scream and hug!
If he misses the shot…”We lost the game.”
Needless to say, he doesn’t always make the game-winning shot.
After we go on a run together, The Boy likes to race in front of the house. It’s usually a 20-yard sprint, and I have never lost. It reminds me of racing my dad while I was growing up. I thought he had blazing speed, and I wanted to be that fast. He NEVER let me win.
I called my dad to confirm.
Me: “Did you ever let me win at anything?”
Dad: “Ummm…Hell, NO!”
Me: “Thank you!”
My dad did explain that he might have taken it easy on me from time to time – not destroyed me, when he easily could have – but when it came to winning or losing, he had no problem letting me finish second (or even last).
Dad: “I think it’s a bad precedent to set.”
Me: “Do you think I could beat you in a 40 yard dash now?”
Dad: “Ummm…Hell, NO!”
– – –
EDITOR’S NOTE: Please know that I’m not picking on this blogger. She simply struck a nerve, and I’m passionately providing a father’s perspective. One thing that I’ve learned over the last 3 1/2 years, mommies and daddies approach parenting VERY differently.
The author confirmed this in the comments section of her post. In response to a reader who disagreed with her “fat belly rule,” she posted a reply: “Sometimes I write with my heart not my head 🙂 healthy living is my head, fat bellies are my heart.”
I’m not sure if she’ll ever see this blog post, but I hope she knows how much I appreciate Rule No. 28 (Be his hero). She wrote: “You are anyway. To him, you have the strength of Batman, the speed of Spiderman and the brain of Ironman. Don’t disappointment. Prove to him that Daddy’s are the biggest heroes of all. Only Daddy’s can save the day.”
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