My son, bless his heart, credits me with the wisdom of Solomon, so much so that he has dubbed me “The Bruce”. For him, whatever “The Bruce” says must be the gospel. The truth of course, is that whatever insights I may have, didn’t accompany my birth certificate, but were learned from a lifetime of my mistakes. I guess the wisdom part is that over that time, I learned from my mistakes. Maybe that’s what he sees.
The irony of fatherhood is that while we are teachers to our children, we are all students of parenting. And while I didn’t get any wisdom with my birth certificate, I also didn’t get the manufacturer’s instructions that should have accompanied my children. And together my wife and I learned about the “some assembly required” aspects of building each one’s character.
We learned how to focus on each child according to their need, to be as honest with them as we expected them to be with us. To be fair, to wield authority without being an authoritarian, to judge without being judgmental, to counsel but never preach, to be ready to scold when it was called for, and to be equally generous with praise when it was deserved.
According to my kids, we did this reasonably well.
Looking at the adults they’ve become, I’d have to agree.
Personally, I’m still working on many of those traits I tried to instill in my offspring. But in order to be a success as a father, I had to lead by example. And in setting that example, I ended up learning a lot about life… and myself. In the end, I’m proud of my children and the adults they’ve become. And I’m almost as pleased with the man they’ve made of me.
This Father’s Day, I’ll celebrate every moment with my kids, every laugh, every smile, every memory revisited, and be thankful for the time (and the love) we continue to share.
For What It’s Worth,