One of the saddest emails I ever received was from a reader who told me that she loved reading my posts about my kids. She said that she thought that it was really sweet that I write about what they do and share some of the conversations that I have with them. I thought that it was said because I don’t think that there is any unique or unusual about a father who loves his children. There shouldn’t be anything novel reading the stories men share about parenting. There shouldn’t be any raising of eyebrows or celebration because this is what we do.
Yet in more than one corner of the world and cyberspace it is noteworthy to read dad’s words about his daughter or his description of parenting. But then again when I think about the outcry regarding the Mother In The Men’s Room I shouldn’t be surprised. There are people out there who regard strange men as untrustworthy predators who are to be feared. And maybe this is true or maybe there are just bad people who steal a child’s innocence. While I am never shy about sharing my opinion I don’t think that I am going to open a debate about that here- not now.
Now I am more interested in writing about the ultimate blog party and how my children helped provide seven years worth of blog posts. These conversations with the kids have provided endless amounts of entertainment and thought. It seems like a daily occurrence now, these conversations. I don’t know if they recognize, understand or appreciate how much they have taught me.
The questions they ask have forced me to think very carefully about what it is I believe and why and I am grateful for that. We have talked about life, sex, relationships, death, god, religion, politics and so much more. And as they have grown older and become capable of understanding more the conversations have become deeper and in some ways more educational for me.
Passover is fast approaching and I find myself thinking about the seder and asking what I want to focus on, wondering what sort of message to provide. There are so many different angles to take. But this year I am sort of leaning towards talking about freedom and what that means to us…today…now. What sort of responsibilities do we have and what do we do to honor/acknowledge that.
I think about reminding the children about the importance of giving back and making sure that they understand the difference between a hand up and a hand out. I think about talking with them again about the importance of judging people by their actions and not their color. race or religion.
These children of mine consistently amaze and astound me. I’ll take some credit for teaching them some things and helping to provide structure to follow- but they get the credit for actually doing it. They get the credit for much of this. I keep telling them that I can’t live their lives for them. I won’t do their homework for them. Sometimes I will let them fail because they need to learn how to deal with adversity.They need coping skills. But I’ll always do my best to balance that. Failure is ok provided that it doesn’t crush self esteem.
I love being a father, their father specifically. And as far as blogging goes I appreciate comments, tweets, likes on Facebook and other forms of feedback- but don’t thank me for doing and being a parent. There is nothing unusual or special about that. I don’t get bonus points for being a good father, at least not from you. Any bonus I get is from raising well adjusted children who are compassionate, caring and productive members of society.