Adventures Of Fatherhood

Adventures Of Fatherhood
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Generally, I think parents are extremely hard on themselves.

In my world, I know we are our biggest critics and often question our parental discretion and abilities and specifically how we go about handling certain things along this wild adventure.

The challenging times must be a result of us not being good parents, at worst, or at a minimum at least not being strict enough or maybe it’s being too strict. We are letting our kids down by not being the best parents to them that we can be. These are some of the thoughts that can creep into the psyche at moments of weakness.

Why would our oldest son rather skip dinner altogether than sit at the table the proper way and eat with the rest of us? Why does Carson walk by and randomly clear tables at home? How come Beckett would prefer to stick his tongue out and put his finger up his nose for the first five pictures rather just smile once? Where did Carson learn it’s okay to put a toy flashlight down the toilet and flush it? Why does Beckett scream whenever the dog gets near him? How come skin on an apple makes it inedible? Why does Beckett try to talk over me when I am saying something he doesn’t want to hear?

These are just some of the questions that leave us scratching our heads. At our weakest, we point the fingers internally saying it’s our fault for the way we are raising them. We must do a better job, be tougher on them, guide them to better choices and explain things in a more clear fashion so they can understand. We have no idea what we are doing and are the worst parents ever.

At our strongest, we say forget about all that ridiculous introspection and second guessing. They have been taught right from wrong and the importance of leading a life under a certain value system. Instead of being responsible with their actions, they are simply making poor choices and terrible decisions. It has nothing to do with us. It’s all about them.

I have learned over the last six and a half years that it doesn’t do any good to overthink it, but yet we still do it. We do the best we can each day as parents and there are good and bad days along the way. Some (the majority) are fantastic and memorable, while some (the unforgettable minority) are dreadful, exhausting and frustrating.

I am sure we will continue to question ourselves on a daily basis. I presume it’s inevitable, but I do know there are no perfect parents because there are no perfect kids. It’s a struggle sometimes and features highs and lows, but it’s an unforgettable journey that can be tremendously rewarding as well.

The key I believe for parents with young kids, like ours at 6 and 5 years old, respectively, is continually being aware of the big picture, counting the blessings that come with life on a daily basis, embracing their hilarity that’s inevitable with their evolving personalities and trying not to sweat the small stuff, such as that missing shoe that went unfound for six months because Beckett kicked it behind the couch instead of placing it where it belonged.

It’s not easy, but it’s the healthier approach. That’s what I keep reminding myself.

I love it when a children’s book has an impact on my kid as well as me.

That’s been the case with Beckett’s clear favorite at the moment — “How Full Is Your Bucket? For Kids” written by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer with illustrations by Maurie J. Manning.

Children’s books with clear and easy to understand meanings are great for the little ones and they also have a way of simplifying life into a proper perspective for adults.

This children’s story is an adaptation and involves a little boy named Felix and begins with his little sister Anna knocking over a tower of blocks he was busy erecting. When he reacts angrily, his wise grandfather tells him the story about an invisible bucket that all people have over their heads.

The moral of the story is how every individual can impact other people’s psyche and moods by how he or she treats others. For instance, in the story, drops of water fall out of Felix’s bucket when his classmates make fun of his book bag and small stature, but the bucket fills up when he is chosen to read his essay before the entire class because the teacher liked it so much.

The concept that negative actions toward others can empty their invisible buckets, while kind and nice gestures have the reverse affect seems to have struck a chord with Beckett.

Several times over the last couple weeks, I have referred to the story during interactions. With one particular instance, involving him intentionally tripping his brother after he stole the soccer ball from him, I referred to Carson’s empty bucket and changed his behavior.

Later, we were in a parking lot of a store when a young girl tripped and seemed to skin her knee. Beckett dropped the bag he was carrying and ran over to her to help her out. I don’t know exactly what he said, but it had something to do with asking if she was okay and telling her, “don’t worry, I trip and fall all the time. It won’t hurt for long.”

When we got back to the car, he said, “I hope her bucket is a little bit more full now.”

That’s good stuff.