I’ve been silently beating myself up a lot lately for being strict with my kids. Sometimes down-right hard-ass. I feel like I’m in a constant state of giving the evil-eye or saying use your head for something other than to put a hat on (which in turn draws the evil-eye from my wife). My struggle is between ensuring they have respect for others (and each other) and a voice telling me to lighten up, relax, let them be kids: Little lego-parts or several boardgames left out on the livingroom floor – no worries. Pushing each other into furniture, snowbanks or recycling bins on the porch – looks like fun. Leaving a prize in the toilet for whoever’s next in line – no biggie. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s tough for me. I get hung-up on the little stuff. And while I have theories, in the end I really don’t know why. Psychology is a bitch.

This past Monday, I had to work late and was subsequently late for my son’s wrestling practice – which I usually help coach. Still in my street-clothes, I pulled up a seat against the wall in the wrestling room with some other dads and watched Cam practice. He had no clue I was there. It’s been said that character is who you are when you think no one is looking. Well, I had a rare chance to see how my 6 year old handles himself thinking that dad wasn’t around.

When the coach blew his whistle, he listened. When the coach hollered “double-leg takedowns. Go!” he took his partner to the mat like the move was second nature. After he took him down, he extended his hand and helped him up. A dad sitting next to me hit my arm and said “you’ve got a good kid.”

Coach blew his whistle and started to get the kids lined up, smallest to biggest, for “wrestle-offs”–the two smallest kids wrestle to a take-down, the winner takes on the next in line and so on. Turning to go line up, Cam stopped and looked around, spotting me and my big grin. We exchanged thumbs up and I told him “you shoot first.” He turned and walked over to line up, standing taller than I think I’ve ever seen him. He was ready to roll.


Filed under Fatherhood and venison jerkey

8 responses to “CHARACTER

  1. Jennifer Wetherwax

    This was just what I needed to read today!

  2. An apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. What a sweet story! Thanks for being an involved parent and doing the work with your child that is sometimes forgotten today.

  3. leah glickman

    you are a good egg and a good dad

  4. oh the joys of parenthood. At least they don’t have keys to your car yet.

  5. Joseph

    Beautiful and sweet. A classic Hollywood end of the movie story.
    Crane up. Fade to Black. Roll Credits.

  6. Susan

    We all struggle with these kinds of questions, don’t we? Whether we are too “strict” or “lenient” parenting is never easy!

  7. This is a great testament to the parent who holds a line with their kids, and sees the rewards. I’m a pretty ‘strict’ parent myself on the little things that will some day add up with my girls. I like to believe I balance it with having a really great time in between those moments of strictness. So far, everyone that meet my girls always comment how polite and well mannered they are (and they are teens now!) It takes love and caring to choose the rules and guidelines method of parenthood, but the rewards….last a lifetime.

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