I finally had enough children that I became a fairly decent father. Therefore I’m not responsible for the initial flops.
All kidding aside, one of the mistakes of all parents is investing too much time into the well-being and involvement of the child.
For me, this realization happened at the swimming pool. My first son, two years of age, came down in his cute little swim trunks. I could hardly wait to get him into the water and see him splash around–a vision I had perceived in a dream the night before.
But instead of jumping into the water or into my arms, he stood at a distance, critically, like an old maid viewing a Playboy magazine for the first time.
I made promises. (I’m talking about Baskin Robbins promises. In other words, the big scoops.)
He was unimpressed.
Matter of fact, he was quite enamored that he had gained my full attention over such a small thing. So in his toddler mind, he was dangling me over the abyss of an emotional cliff, giggling over my slipping grasp.
I hated myself.
He never did get into the pool. I must have asked him a thousand times, and I’m not exaggerating for the purpose of literature.
But by the time I got to the second, third and fourth kid, I realized that the key to engaging your children in good things is to always act like you just don’t give a damn.
I did not invite them into the pool. Matter of fact, I passed along the impression that they were “too small to swim.”
I jumped, threw balls in the air, and in no time at all, each of them came over to the edge, bouncing up and down, waving arms and saying, “Daddy, let me come in!”
I elongated the process (so there wouldn’t be any bitching about the temperature of the water). So when they got in, it was an honor.
Children are manipulative. They are not angels from heaven, unless you’re talking about the fallen variety, hanging out with Lucifer at the clubhouse.
Children were meant to come along with us, not us with them.
I have stopped all coaxing. I don’t coax anyone.
You can watch what I do, listen to what I believe or follow me around to see how hypocritical I am. Then decide for yourself.
I, for one, do not have time to talk people into pursuing good crap.