Paired up, it’s tough to tell just what order of shenanigans Eric and I would find.
Eric Wood writes the blog All in a Dad’s Work. He popped up around here during the early stages of my A-to-Z Challenge. At the letter C, in fact. In a river of fabulous hair and ocean of motherhood that is my readership, Eric stood out. Mainly because of his bald head and the fact that he’s a dude. A Canadian dude, at that.
He’s also a soccer coach.
He and I could be cast as madcap bumbling cops who nevertheless get the job done. Or, as the bad guys in a movie like 101 Dalmatians. Either or. He’s stuck around and become a good blogging friend.
Today, he’s on the CD to talk about unsolicited advice to himself.
That’s a feat in itself. Eric’s a thoughtful dad and expressive writer, and I think you’ll like his style. He’s definitely going things right. Please give him a warm CD welcome, and be sure to check out All in a Dad’s Work, too.
[Check out my guest post on Eric’s blog, too.]
Unsolicited Advice to Myself
Journals are great pieces of historical artifacts. Even if they are only 9 years old. I was thumbing through my journal the other day when I happened upon an interesting page I wrote.
Dated June 19, 2007. Less than two weeks before our first born was born.
I had written five lessons I hoped to teach our baby as he grew. It was written by a nearly clueless soon-to-be-dad who had no kids other than the rug rats for students found in his fourth-grade classroom. I was a guy without kids giving advice to a dad. I gave myself unsolicited advice.
The first thing I wanted to teach him was to live without regret. If I knew then what I know now I would have known that this lesson is for adults, not newborns.
Now, I realize, kids do a lot of stupid stuff. Get heads stuck in weird places. Flood the bathroom with bath water. Try to climb up the slide while someone comes down it. It’s inevitable. It’s how they learn. They generally don’t regret it. We parents on the other hand…
Number two on my list was to teach him to treat others with the same respect as he treats himself. My kid was not to be an a-hole. (That’s in this post) I won’t tolerate it. I hoped to teach him kindness and tolerance.
This is a work in progress. Some days it’s more work than progress. I didn’t know then that would it would be easier to teach bowling to a blobfish. At the bus stop, he lets the smaller kids on the bus first. At school, he helps an autistic boy during fire drills. He’s still a jerk to his little brother, though. But then again, his little brother is a jerk to him, too.
Coming up third on my list of things to teach a baby is to try new things. Play many sports. Play many instruments in different genres. Eat new foods. Like their mother repeatedly asks me, “How do you know you don’t like it, you haven’t even tried it”. She’s right, too.
But have you ever tried to get a baby to eat peas for the first time? Chances are good you wore most of it. The idea here was to get him to try many things so he knew definitively what his favorite was. However, getting them to actually to do it, try it, eat it, whatever, is easier said than done. I can lead my kids to food but I can’t make them eat it. The best I can do is offer. The rest will be up to them.
The fourth thing on my list to teach was teach him to listen to his parents. There are things we know and things we do not know. If we know, we’ll tell. If we don’t know, mom will say so and I’ll make you think I do. Great in theory, not so much in practice. Kids don’t listen to parents any more than Windows 10 works flawlessly. Secret? They listen better after a parent reaches bat-shit crazy mode.
Last on my list was that I wanted them to use their imagination. Be creative. Mother Teresa said,
It takes hours or days or months or years to create and only moments to destroy. Create anyway.
Be creative with your writing, your drawing, you’re thinking… whenever you get the chance to create, use your imagination. Albert Einstein said,
Imagination is more important than knowledge.
I agree with him. But to teach it you’ve got to have it. And have it I do. We go on adventures in the back yard. We read imaginative stories. We think of wild tales to tell. We watch The Backyardigans. Okay, maybe I got this one right.
I’m not so clueless anymore. While my lessons may have failed in some regard, I have not. My lessons may have gone a bit off course. I may not have taught them exactly what I what I had hoped to. But I know one thing for certain. At the end of the day, no matter how good or bad the day was or who may have lost their marbles, there’s no better feeling than their arms wrapped around me as their warm bodies snuggle up beside me, and I hear them say
I love you, dad.
great advice from your buddy, eric. it’s clear hat you both love being dads and why you connected int he blogosphere. )
the douchey-dad connection slipped us both by, apparently, beth.
The fates brought us together. But when dads dad like we do we’re destined to meet somehow. Despite our differences in sports teams!
Your picks could have been much worse.
Absolutely great and solid advice here. Thank you for sharing and many of these are on my list that I have been trying to impart on my own two kids, too 😉
I know you love the journey, Janine.
Thank you so much Janine! When I wrote the list I had no idea hard it would be to teach these things. Good luck imparting this wisdom on your own kids. If you come across any secrets to make it easier, please fill me in 🙂
Those who’ve figured it out aren’t sharing the secrets, Eric.
Stellar advice and I have to admit, both my kids devoured peas as babies and love them today. Squash, yea I wore that well!
Great post Eric!! You are rocking the parenthood role with style and class and humor! You and your boys are very lucky. Thanks for sharing.
Technically, mine ate peas okay, too. Green beans? Not so much. Glad you liked it, Tiffany! And thanks for your kind words. Fatherhood is hilarious, but I’m a dad and therefore am out of style. Though, I’m not sure I was ever in style.
Are parents ever in style when kids are under 25?
Not even for a minute, Tiff.
LOL. Good point. I think we’re in style compared to other dad. Out of style when compared with our kids. Style, like time, is all relative 🙂
Style schmyle. I’m just trying to stay upright, brother.
I postulated that we dads could cure the nation of the saggy pants pandemic if we’d just wear our pants saggy. Nothing kills fashion like a dad.
Great idea, Eli! Nobody wears white tube socks pulled up to their knees any more. So I do believe this would be an ideal solution to saggy pants.
I wear Spiderman and Star Wars socks – with shorts, even – and pull those suckers up way high. That’s *my* fashion.
I have a pair of “Superman” socks. Blue socks with red tops. They even have a cape! That’s my fashion. Perhaps I should match that with saggy shorts?
Wait, the socks have a cape?
They sure do. Both of them do. So I get to wear 2 capes!
Great and entertaining advice. We didn’t have much of an issue with peas, but beets on the other hand…
Beets! I still have an issue with those. It’s weird what kids decide they like and don’t like. It’s even weirder still WHY they don’t like them.
It’s weird why God didn’t make veggies taste like Twinkies.
Green beans were the only vegetables immune to a fight in our house.
It is a great thing to find a dad who enjoys being a dad! Good advice from both Eric and you… 🙂
Thank you very much, Courtney! Good advice, incredibly difficult to teach. I think I always I would have kids who were intrinsically good natured and learning these morals would come naturally for them. I couldn’t have missed the mark by more!
Nature and nurture, my man.
For dads, it’s not about mastery – it’s about clinging to that sliver of relevance that might allow us someday to have a positive influence once.
First of all… A Canadian dude who is a soccer coach?
Those are good points to teach your kids, I especially like “imagination”.
I’m trying to think what I might have told my baby.
“Be happy”, probably.
What the … that’s going to be stuck in my mind all day unless I cue up some Kesha, stat.
I’m only Canadian by marriage. American by birth. I learned soccer before coming to the friendly, freezing North. Happy is a good lesson to teach!
I think Senator Ted Cruz lifted your comment for the Republican debate last night, Eric.
Tell him I want my comment back 🙂
There could have been worse candidates to steal your words, Eric!
You do have a way with dadness, Eric. Enjoyed this immensely.
Thanks, Elen. My dadness is really just my kidness coming out to play.
There’s a difference though – between being a dad and playing and being a dad and just being the biggest kid in the house, and highest maintenance. You’re the first one.
He’s a good dude.