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Fatherhood: An Unexpected but Welcomed Comment

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Blog entry by BassBully posted 03-27-2007 05:29 AM 959 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This weekend provided to be very busy. I aimed my goals towards finishing the router table top, and with rain in the forecast, it would be a good weekend to tackle this project. However, things needed to be completed first. I needed to tear down many boxes in the shop which were becoming obstacles to productivity, and then take them to the recycling center. With a baby on the way, my wife is in her nesting stage and needed shelves hung, but I was out of wall anchors. And ever important, I needed to spend some time with my little boy who’s almost three.

So it’s Saturday about 10:00AM and the sprinkles are lightly falling. I take five broken-down boxes to the car while my boy takes one “BIG” box. I take another five boxes and he tries to take three. His little hands can’t handle that many so two of the boxes fall behind. I get them later. We finally head out to the recycling center and it begins to poor. After we arrive, he of course wants to get out of the car and help unload. I didn’t have a problem with that because the genius in me put him in a rain jacket before we left but forgot to wear one myself.

The bin is too tall for him to really help so he becomes easily distracted and jumps into puddles while I finished discarding boxes. After I was done, I had fun with him when I stomped in one puddle to splash him. I would’ve stayed longer but I didn’t have a coat and was getting wet from the rain. It’s kind of ironic that I could jump into a puddle but left because it was raining.

Our last destination was Home Depot. It is very difficult to have a toddler while shopping at a store I like. He likes to grab everything in site. First it was the individual bolts. Then the screw packages and of course hammers. He’ll grab everything that can either get lodged in his mouth, fall on his foot, or change the color of him and the floor beneath him. Sometimes he doesn’t put things back where he found them. So, if you’re ever at a hardware store and a five inch lag bolt is in the wrong bin, you can thank me. All of these actions require a reprimand from me by mostly repeating the word “No!” five hundred gazillion times.

We arrive in the tool aisle and I see a roll of rubber padding (to grip wood while routing) that I’ve been wanting. I pick it up and ask him if he’ll help me carry it. Of course he will because he loves helping Dad and then he can have something to hit me with too. We begin walking out of the tool section and he whacks me with the mat. He didn’t hit me hard of course but I’m not going to let him slide on this one so I gave him a choice, “You hit me with that again, I’ll take it away.” I say this with little regard to those around me.

We turn the corner and he decides to make the wrong choice. He hits me again. I grab the mat out of his hand and reminded him about our deal. He whines and moans for a few seconds as we begin walking again. A woman, who was probably 20 years my junior, walks up beside me and compliments me by saying, “I had to laugh back there watching you with him, good follow-through Dad!”

She didn’t look at me when she said it but she said it in such a way that she was trying not to embarrass my boy. She was completely polite about it. She was very subtle. She had a proud grin on her face. I responded, “Thank you.”

I still don’t know why that compliment meant so much to me. I have no idea who she was—just a nice stranger. I don’t expect compliments from people. I usually don’t take compliments well as I am reserved and don’t think much about the compliment itself. I don’t seek compliments either but for some reason, the way she said it made me melt. Out of all the time that I spent with my son on Saturday, it was her compliment about discipline that made me feel like a good Daddy. It wasn’t even playing in the puddles with him or letting him carry the rubber mat.

That woman, although she probably doesn’t know it, made my day. Every time I use that rubber mat I will think about that moment. It will remind me to be a good Dad.

I’ve concluded that our society doesn’t do enough to compliment people about how well they are disciplining their children. We either criticize how bad their kids behave or we criticize discipline in general. The next time I see someone positively correcting their children, I will feel motivated to tell them that they are doing a good job because as a parent, it doesn’t feel good to discipline in itself. It’s something we have to do. It’s more rewarding when it feels like we’re doing it right.

-- There are three types of people in the world, those who can count and those who can't!



12 comments so far

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12292 posts in 2784 days


#1 posted 03-27-2007 05:33 AM

And I am sure your son will carry these lessons with him and pass them to his children. This brings out an important perspective on life.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View scottb's profile

scottb

3648 posts in 3013 days


#2 posted 03-27-2007 05:39 AM

Oh, it’s so much fun to take them, sometimes. My daughter loves to go to Home Depot or Lowes… ride in the racecar, etc…

To that woman, I’ll bet you were a welcome sign of relief in this day and age of either letting the kids scream, or pandering to their every whim.

What a great post. So nice to know that you’re really doing the “right thing” rather than feel all self concious about possibly bothering the other patrons.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

View oscorner's profile

oscorner

4564 posts in 2997 days


#3 posted 03-27-2007 05:56 AM

Teach him right from wrong at this young age and you won’t have to worry about him when he’s older. Keep up the good work, Dad.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Jeff's profile

Jeff

1011 posts in 2780 days


#4 posted 03-27-2007 06:08 AM

BB, even though I have no children of my own, I do have 2 nephews and 1 niece. It’s always a joy to be with them as I know that even when the do act up it won’t last long because my sister and brother-in-law won’t stand for it. They have never had to paddle or anything of the sort; they are stern yet extremely patient. I’m as proud of my sister as a guy can be who doesn’t have any real experience.

I agree with Scott that you were likely a breath of fresh air. I always want to compliment parents when I see such examples but feel odd since I don’t have kids of my own. Next time, I won’t keep the compliment to myself. Maybe I’ll make some parent’s day.

Thanks for sharing.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View gizmodyne's profile

gizmodyne

1763 posts in 2776 days


#5 posted 03-27-2007 06:46 AM

Follow through is hard. As an elementary teacher, I can always tell the students whose parents do. It will make a difference.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke." www.flickr.com/photos/gizmodyne

View Drew1House's profile

Drew1House

425 posts in 2774 days


#6 posted 03-27-2007 07:53 AM

Awesome… and yet in our society a compliment given such as that is given with as much risk on the givers part as anything as many would be upset that anyone interfere with their parenting… I have a 5 and 7 year old… and follow-through is very hard to do but when you slip for a while pretty soon you know why you never should… They teach you the hard way…

Drew

-- Drew, Pleasant Grove, Utah

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 3001 days


#7 posted 03-27-2007 01:17 PM

Thats more valuable than cutting the perfect dovetail!

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2847 days


#8 posted 03-27-2007 01:23 PM

I had to read your story to my daughter… every little item made me stop and say “awwwwwww”. We really enjoyed sharing your day with you (via the written word).

The woman: my guess is that she is either an early childhood educator or works in Social Services.

In my journey I have facilitated parenting programs for over 10 years and on occasion I have watched a parent reaching the end of their rope as they try to cope with children who are already at the end of their rope. I have also taken the time to say “you are doing a great job”... not only does this (hopefully) reinforce what they are doing but it also breaks them out of the moment and gives them that second to refocus on what they are doing rather than getting more frustrated.

And as for disciplining—well, since this is my favourite topic to discuss, I’ll refrain from commenting…

As for your parenting, I have one things to say: “Awwwwwwwwwww” :D

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View BarbS's profile

BarbS

2434 posts in 2772 days


#9 posted 03-27-2007 04:14 PM

What a great read! Thanks for sharing that story. He’ll be an adult who remembers ‘loving to go with his dad, anywhere.’ As he ages, get him talking. You may be amazed at his perspective. I think we learn as much from them, as they do from us.

-- http://barbsid.blogspot.com/

View DrSawdust's profile

DrSawdust

307 posts in 2784 days


#10 posted 03-27-2007 05:06 PM

BB . . . Thank you.

I’m glad I’m not the only one resposible for rearanging the lag bolt bins.

-- Making sawdust is what I do best

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2847 days


#11 posted 03-27-2007 06:15 PM

I just had a conversation with someone who is feeling guilty about not taking her children on trips when they were little (like all their friends did).. she thinks that her children missed out.

I disagree—it is things like carrying boxes together and jumping in puddles together that makes a healthy childhood and a good foundation for healthy adults!!

It’s all about doing things WITH your children—not where you are doing it.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View BassBully's profile

BassBully

259 posts in 2783 days


#12 posted 03-27-2007 06:34 PM

Thanks for your comments. My wife was a kindergarten teacher for two years until we had our son. Those of you that stated that you can tell if a child is disciplined at home are correct. You could especially see it when the parents picked up their children.

My wife ran a tight ship. This doesn’t mean that she was a meanie, because she is in fact a sweet heart, but the kids were expected to have manners and they knew the rules. They were very good about following them until their parents arrived (not all but a few). The kids would then begin following the parents’ rules and interrupt, etc. and have a complete change of behavior. It was interesting anyway.

MsDebbieP, I agree with you about trips. My Mom was a single parent for many years while I was young and she definitely could not afford Disney land. My best memories of her are when we went camping or had water fights.

-- There are three types of people in the world, those who can count and those who can't!

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