(continued from the Ten Commandments of Fatherhood (Part IV)
COMMANDMENT NUMBER 3: THOU SHALT RELATE TO YOUR CHILDREN
Now the first two commandments have incorporated an awful lot of marital tales and advice and this is, after all, a book on fatherhood not marriage. Being a parent often involves people being in some sort of committed relationship either with the wife that bore your child, or a new wife or girlfriend or if you are gay, then your partner. Whatever the case may be, there is still a balance to be struck and if there is a child or children involved in your lives then this should all be relatable material. If you're not with the person who gave you this child and if you are single, then save this material for when you are in a relationship. The hardships and difficulties are always there and you will always need to find your balance.
RELATING TO YOUR CHILDREN
On the surface this seems easy. It's my kid...I can relate to her. It's your kid, but can you remember growing up? Do you remember wanting to watch cartoons, but getting to do so seemed like such a privilege. Do you remember wishing that your folks had told you more stories? Read you more books? Let you eat more Fruity Pebbles? Told you they loved you at least once or twice? We all have issues relating to our children and it manifests itself into feeling obligated to do thing "the kid wants to do" and not necessarily what you want to be doing. Let's face it, do you really want to go to the place where they paint the clay figurines? Are you dying to hit that awesome Monkey and Me gymnasium class again? And are you seriously pumped about going to that Sunday dance recital when you know that all your buddies are watching da Bears battle it out with da Skins for NFL dominance? My guess is that your answer is no, no and oh, hell no! Is this relating business making a bit more sense to you? Now, if you're like most of us dads, you are proud, you've got your video camera ready to catch those pinnacle moments and you're okay with the notion that every other Saturday you're going to be at some strangers house celebrating their kid's birthday soiree. But, how do you do these things and really relate to your kid and not go to that nasty place of, "Man I sacrifice a lot of things." This is not as easy as it seems. Too often we find ourselves distracted on the computer (an easy excuse escape. You ever use the, "Man I got so much work to do still tonight." So you can escape into cyberspace and get away from it all?). We find ourselves watching our seventeen favorite television shows that we have Tivo'd - a never ending cycle of being behind in our viewing. And lastly there was the image that I'll never forget at work one day, when Oliver was sitting at his desk at 7pm zoning out whilst listening to his ITunes. I said, "Oliver, get the hell out of here and go home man. What are you still doing here?" His response was, "Art, I've got four kids at home. I like the peace." His plan was that he'd show up at around 8pm just in time to give good night kisses.
Ideas for relating: These wouldn't be the commandments if we didn't offer some potential solutions for you.
(Up Next: The Solutions! Stay Tuned!)