I just glanced at the daily prompt and today’s little challenge — the prompts are all like little challenges for me — really caught my attention. You see, I’m a teacher. It’s what I do. In fact, it’s more like “who I am”. The prompt asks:
You have to learn a new skill. Do you prefer to read about it, watch someone else do it, hear someone describe it, or try it yourself?
I suppose my simple answer is “All of the above”; but I feel like that needs a bit of explanation. And in my teaching career I have discovered that the best explanations come with even better examples. So I thought about it and I realized I have one sitting right in front of me. This example is also the very reason I started blogging in the first place. It’s why I get up every morning and go to work to teach. It’s the subject of almost 100% of my writing. I am talking, of course, about my kids!
Read All About It!
When I first became a dad I had a vague inner sense of what I was doing. And still, a few weeks after my son was born I remember staring blankly at my wife as she said to me: “I’m running out to the store.” What was a vacant stare to her was merely the outer expression of an interior terror. I was scared to death that in those twenty minutes while she was literally a half-mile away at the supermarket, something terrible would happen. Here’s where a book would have come in handy. I could have picked it up, whacked myself over the head, passed out, and then she couldn’t have gone to the store! Come to think of it, if there had been a book to read I probably wouldn’t have read it. Instead I would have skimmed it and picked up just enough to fake my way through a conversation as though I had read it. There was, in fact, nothing that could have prepared me for that moment. But I made it through OK and alive. And my son was fine so I guess I couldn’t have been all that bad.
Watch Me Do It!
I admit that the thought of watching someone else raise my kids is intriguing. They could do all the work while I sit back and relax and then I could play with them. Oh, well then… My wife has just informed me that this is not what the prompt means. Apparently it’s all about whether I would prefer to learn how to be a dad by watching someone else’s example. OK, I did have an excellent example in my own father and other men in my family who patiently and lovingly raised their children. But as I think about this now I’m imagining myself copying some of their techniques with my own kids. OK, that’s not the worst prospect in the world; although my dad did have an unnatural fear of letting us out of his sight when he was watching us. No, I’m not talking out on the playground or anything. I mean he’d have a football game on the TV on a Sunday afternoon and we weren’t allowed off the couch. I’m sure my kids are glad I’m a little bit more trusting at least in the safe confines of our own home. Still, last week my son told me that picking up his toys was too hard. I reached way inside my soul and shot this gem back at him. “Son, do you know how hard it was for me to pick up toys? My toys were made of reinforced concrete and we didn’t have any of these fancy toy bin things to put them in. No, I had to stack them at right angles and do it with a smile…” I didn’t buy that crap when I heard it either.
Hear Me Now, Believe Me Later!
This one’s almost a no-brainer. When it comes to being a dad, obviously the only advice I’m going to hear will come from other men. Ever been present when a group of guys get to talking? About anything? Whether it’s the size of a fish he caught or the size of anything else for that matter, a man will tend to
boast brag lie through his teeth to impress his fellow men. And I should take parenting advice from these guys?
Stand Back, I Got This!
Clearly, the only logical path available to me in terms of learning how to be a dad was to just be a dad. Then again, I have always had an autodidactic streak in me. Boy am I happy that the kittens resemble me in some measure because I can expect that twenty-thirty years from now they’ll be sitting at whatever tech-y device the laptop has evolved into and writing memoirs of the crazy things they learned from their old man. Then they can go back and read this post and realize I had no clue what I was doing.