September 24, 2010

Dad As A Role Model

Someone taught my son how to curse. Rumor has it that the same person taught his little sister how to do it too. I'd like to blame Charles Barkley for it but he is not a role model. That mysterious person who taught these children to use four letter words looks a bit like me. He even sounds like me, but I know that he can't possibly be me because he isn't as handsome.

Not only isn't he as handsome, he is not as smart, funny, witty or wise. He is just some dumbass that occasionally walks around the house in a pair of shorts, t-shirt and a backwards baseball cap. I know that he can't be me because that dude is missing some hair, has a bit more belly than he should and lines on his forehead. So clearly he cannot be me.

The other day I heard my son belt out a few lines of colorful language and thought it is time for a reminder not to speak like that. So I wandered over and asked him where he learned those words. He looked up at me and said that I taught him. I shook my head and he told me that he was working on saying it with as much feeling as I do.

I tried not to laugh and said that he shouldn't imitate me, not with those words. And then he looked me at asked why not. It is not our first conversation about cursing. In fact there are probably a few posts about this, but this time I figured I would take a different angle. So I asked him if he knew what the words meant and he said no.

So we ventured into dark territory to discuss what "goddamn asshole means." As I stepped off the cliff I realized that my son would probably ask me to define other words that he had heard. And knowing him, it could get interesting quickly because the dear lad would look at a term like "motherfucker" and want a literal definition and explanation. In fact, if I let it go that way he might even suggest that it really wasn't a bad thing.

But I really didn't want to have that discussion with him- not yet. Or maybe my reticence came from not having had the opportunity to think out what I was going to say. So as I stood there looking down at the little mister and his Lego set I found myself making a series of mental notes.

Mostly reminders to myself that the children are always watching what we do and how we do it. They may look preoccupied with other things, but they watch and they listen. It is not a secret or a surprise. These are all things that I know and are aware of.

But with all that has been going on lately I too have been preoccupied and to an extent living in my own world. So it was a good reminder to be aware of things. I don't worry about being a bad parent. I am a good dad, could be better, but overall not bad. I work hard for the kids and do my best to try to give them what they need.

And a good education is part of our responsibility as a parent, right. So really my teaching them these colorful terms is a good thing. I am just helping them to learn new and improved ways to express themselves. Ok, maybe not. Was kind of hoping that someone would buy into it, but I am not so why should you.

The thing about being a parent is that it never ends. There are moments when that is frustrating. Times when it is really hard because it doesn't matter if you are undergoing some personal challenge. You could be heartbroken or ecstatic and they see you. Depressed and disappointed and they see you.

The whole thing kind of reminds me of that line from Superchicken where they say "you knew the job was dangerous when you took it." Yep, I did and I accept it now as I did then. It is part of the reason that I am a daddy blogger. One day the kids will come read these posts and gain some insight as to who I am and why I do what I do.

And maybe it will help them see that parents are people. We are subject to the same rules that they are- except when that no one can send them to my room for saying "motherfucker."

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