Fatherhood Adventures – December 16, 2016

Fatherhood Adventures – December 16, 2016
new fatherhood headshot

Sometimes a bad grade in school is a blessing.

Without letting him know that’s what I was thinking, it’s how I approached a disappointing math test score this month for Beckett. It was the lowest score he’s ever gotten on a test and it was from pure carelessness and rushing through it. It was an opportunity to learn from a poor performance, but he was reluctant initially.

For the most part, our third grader takes school seriously. He loves going to school and it’s never a fight to get him to go each day. He’s competitive and wants to be the best at everything he does, so he is internally motivated to do well. We feel blessed he’s self-motivated in that way.

However, when we reviewed this poor effort on a recent test and went over the teacher’s comments with him about slowing down, showing his work and reviewing it for mistakes, I was taken aback by his reaction. He was disappointed and frustrated. While I was telling him how important is it for all of us to take our time and check our work, as his parents must do at work, he responded that’s not possible.

“I can’t change who I am. Why do you want to change me? I’ve never checked my work in the past. That’s not how I do it. I can do the work in my head faster and don’t need to check it over,” he said.

That blew me away at first. Here’s my 8-year-old boy telling me he’s unwilling to be flexible and alter his ways. It was as if it’s too late for him to change at his age or something. It was as if poor grades will have to be the new norm if it involved him becoming someone he’s not.

I reminded him how old he is and told him his parents have to adapt all the time and change the way we approach certain things. Every individual is a work in progress and we only get better and smarter by being open to learning new things.

It blew my mind that he at his young age was unwilling to work on changing his routine or his mindset. I then used some silly examples to show what life would be like for him if he was unwilling to learn new things or change his approach to this or that.

Although I thought I gave him some good examples of how he has changed in his life, he preferred to think of it along the lines of potty training, for some reason. If he wasn’t willing to change and try new things, he concluded he would still be in diapers and that would make him a baby. His friends would then make fun of him because he’s so different.

That seemed to resonate with him for some reason. Whatever it takes to get the point across, I guess. We will see on his next test.

It’s the holiday season so bear with me as I relay a couple stories related to the reason for the season.

It’s our hope to raise our kids with a love of and understanding of God. We are instilling in them our belief that there’s a higher being that we are all accountable to on a daily basis. We talk specifically about God and Jesus, but we generally prefer to talk about the spirt on a fundamental level since they are just 8 and 7 years old, respectfully.

We often are unsure if what they hear in church and what they hear from us regarding God is hitting home or simply going over their heads at their age.

That’s why it’s especially exciting when it becomes apparent they are getting it.

Carson has God in his heart. That has been evident since he was extremely young. Oftentimes, as a result of life’s hectic pace, he’s the one who reminds us to bless the table before meals. For a non-verbal child, he has a way of making sure we all know we forgot something.

Additionally, while dressing the tree a couple weeks ago, he came across an ornament for our dog who died a couple years ago. When I asked him where Fletch was, he pointed to his heart and up to heaven. That was touching. It was something we told the kids when our dog died. That he was always in our hearts and our angel in heaven.

Beckett has God in his heart, too, but I think it’s more of a fear thing for him. Similar to his approach to Santa, who is an outstanding behavior modifier, Beckett seems to have developed a fear of disappointing God or not acting in a fashion that he believes would disappoint God. He’s also prone to saying he will make the right choice because he doesn’t want to go to hell. There’s a fear there that suits me just fine.

For instance, over last weekend, before saying good night to him I reminded him to say his prayers before going to bed. He responded that he already did after saying that bad word during soccer earlier in the day. He then asked whether God could hear prayers during the day. I assured him he could. He didn’t buy it, however, and decided he would just pray again to be sure.

I told him I would join him, but he ushered me away saying it’s a private thing.