column: The job of being a father changes over the course of a lifetime | Notice
Happy Father’s Day. These first years of fatherhood are quite simple. You are the maintenance manager, janitor, playmate and law enforcement. And you are always ready to replace mom when it comes to child care and nutrition.
I enjoyed those hands-on moments, and that’s what I remember the most from the early years. I loved bath time and the ability to make up stories with bath toys that elicited giggles. And if you haven’t snuggled up a freshly washed baby in pajamas, you’ve missed out on one of God’s true blissful moments.
As a light sleeper – and closest to the door – I would often be the first to respond to nighttime crying. I warmed up my share of bottles at 2 a.m., and while cradling the kids in their high chair, I would soothe them with some made-up lyrics from very real songs, from Supertramp’s “Give a Little Bit” (Give a Little Burp) to Beethoven’s Ode to Joy (Daddy Loves Me.) For a particularly hectic evening, the latter had verses that extended to the entire extended family and included related pets.
But as they say, the nights are long and the years short. These babies grew into an almost 20-year-old girl and a 14-year-old son with a beard rivaling mine. No one needs help finding Barbie’s other sneaker or converting a Transformer anymore.
And so I closed shop on the children’s education business. Instead, my role as a father is “in transition”. I am now trying to raise young adults.
Where I once tried to shield my children from the ways of the world, my duty now is to teach them these ways, so that I won’t be undermined by them.
Where I once trained them to be fair and to share is my unenviable job of teaching them why nothing is fair and getting used to it. They need lessons in human behavior, to understand that sometimes you are the recipient of other people’s anger which sometimes has nothing to do with you.
They really never had to worry about themselves. Now they must turn their attention outward to be of service to others.
For most of their lives, money was just an object that seemed to emanate from daddy’s wallet or mom’s wallet. Now we are working on budgets, savings, reasonable salary expectations and the pitfalls of credit cards.
What many of us take for granted is still uncultivated land for young adults, like paying rent. My daughter this fall will be renting an apartment at the college with several girlfriends. To get her used to paying rent, we borrowed a lesson from friends and made her pay a nominal rate to live in her house this summer. The first month, I had to come and collect. The second month, she paid early, in full.
My son, who will soon be taking driver training, started talking about the type of truck he would drive – until he started learning the real cost of a vehicle and its insurance, especially for vehicles. teenagers.
Virtually every other animal in the kingdom raises their young and teaches them to fend for themselves. Then, at the right time, they are pushed into the world. Only we humans try to shelter our offspring and stifle their life experiences. Then we scratch our heads when they “fail to launch.”
I love my children, but my job as a father is not to hold them back. They have to know what it feels like to be knocked down to know what it feels like to get up. It’s their time now, and my job is to make sure they’re ready to work on it.
So while it’s nice to be worshiped on Father’s Day, the real gift is seeing the gifts they bring to the rest of the world.