The Season of Resolution

Another lap around the sun. We made it. Aren't we supposed to be seeing a giant checkered flag in the sky about now? That was a trip. Ready for another? The 2011 coaster will be departing shortly. All aboard. Buckle up. Keep your hands inside the car at all times.

Winter solsticeNoticed lots of folks out running yesterday. Heck, one girl even walked into the coffee shop dripping with sweat. (Yeah, I was impressed.) Resolutions.

Never done the resolution thing, myself. But something I've been pondering this holiday-week (.. regarding fatherhood) is this »

» I want the Bug to feel he can be himself around me, open & honest. And I want to know him for who really is .. and not for who I want him to be. Feel me?

I wasn't trying to think of this. It just kinda 'came to me'. Like somebody whispering in my ear. I mean, when kids are young, they are notoriously (& hilariously) honest. Awe-inspiring transparency. Nature's finest moment. But then they grow up.

I dont know if it's easy, but I certainly feel it's important .. to maintain that openness. Cuz once lost .. I think it might be tough to recover.

Trust sits at the heart of this openness. And what is more important than trust? Can you love someone you dont trust? Would that be real love?

I mean, what kind of relationship can you have without trust? And what could be more important to a dad than the relationship he has with his son?

So that's where my head has been wandering to this holiday season, this holy season when nights grow long & cold, and the warmth of summer seems distant. Not hard to see why this time of year would become the season of resolution.

••• today's entry continues here below •••

Pooh & Owl readIn other words, I want to provide an emotionally supportive environment where the Bug feels free to be himself, where he always feels free to feel however he might.

There's a line in Steppenwolf (1927), which says (.. speaking of the Steppenwolf himself):

"I have good reason to suppose he was brought up by devoted but severe and very pious parents and teachers in accordance with the doctrine that makes the breaking of the will the cornerstone of education and upbringing."

That's sorta the opposite of what I'm talking about. Kids dont need their spirits broken on any cornerstones. (I grew up in a Catholic neighborhood, so I'm familiar with the effects repression can have.) Our time together is limited, so I need to make every hour count.

This goal might take another 6 years to accomplish. But it should be equally rewarding. Maybe more so. Guess it doesn't really matter if I'm ready. Kids grow up .. whether we're ready or not.

Pooh learning to read in class» Messin' with My Head

You know, when the most precious thing in your life is threatened of being taken away (repeatedly), it kinda messes with your head ..

.. in ways that transcend the intellect .. because parenting taps into some of our most basic instincts, which lie below the intellect. Primal.

Powerful stuff, instincts, which may, or may not, be congruent with your education. Education thinks, but instincts know (.. what's right). Dangerous to override your instincts. (Try holding your breath.)

I know this stuff lies below the intellect, cuz normal defenses are ineffective. And the pain is much deeper. Soulish.

I have needed to develop a rather sophisticated psycho-defense system. Lotsa practice, doncha know. But there is no defense for this pain. (Not so bad now, which is why I can talk about it.) Beyond anything I could ever imagine toward Dostoevsky-ville. Must be experienced to be truly appreciated.

And here's the kicker » the more you care, the worse it hurts. Pain for which no amount of Advil is enough.

Strict disciplinarian» Co-parenting & Discipline

Another consequence (besides messin' with my head) .. is that discipline quickly falls to the bottom of your list of parenting priorities.

Now I have been of accused of being weak in the area of discipline (.. by experts, with degrees mounted on the wall) and this might be a fair criticism.

But here's what I've found (.. now that I have some years of experience in the game) » kids WANT to please their parents.

In other words, coercion is unnecessary. Same goes for punishment. (So far, anyway.)

Sure, we have talks sometimes .. always at an appropriate time. I describe the behavior_in_question and outline why it might be inappropriate. I try to do it respectfully (never in anger) and I leave it at that.

He gets it. He's cool with it. He adapts. Remarkably well. Surprisingly well. So I am not concerned with expert criticism. If you know a dad who gets better results, buy that man a beer. He deserves it.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Rad published on January 2, 2011 1:02 AM.

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