Friday, June 29, 2007

One of those Dad things

The other day I picked up our daughter (Diamond 3) from our neighborhood YMCA. She had just been dropped off there after spending the day at a Y day camp called Teen Extreme. I noticed immediately that, along with the rosiness in her cheeks undoubtedly due to the summer sun, she sported a scrape under her left eye. She didn't mention it so I didn't bring it up, just helped her by carrying her backpack to the car.

Later, after we got settled a bit at home, I asked her how camp had been. She gave me an enthusiastic thumbs up sign and big grin. So, again I didn't question the scrape on her face.

A few hours pass and my wife comes home. I'm upstairs taking care of business and changing clothes when I hear a very upset sounding Mom Voice from downstairs. I hurry down there and discover that our darling daughter was written up for fighting. Seems another girl, larger of course, had been playing a little too aggressively at whatever game they were playing, and got in our daughter's face. So she pushed this other girl, who promptly punched her in the face.

(Note to self - check backpacks for notes when we get home.)

Being a dad in this case brings two very strong, very distinct feelings:

  1. Disappointment in our daughter for becoming physical with another child
  2. Pride in that she stood up for herself against a larger foe
Of course we made sure she understood our disappointment with her. Using this as a teaching moment, we reiterated the importance of avoiding physical confrontations with other children - Especially when there are responsible adults there (well, young adult camp counselors in this case) to settle disagreements in a non-violent way.

But I'm still proud of her - in a dad sort of way.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Unease Returns

Well, our son has been a fully licensed driver for a couple weeks or so now and has had several opportunities to drive on his own. He's been humoring us and calls when he arrives at his destination, and if he is going to be late returning home. He's even agreed to shuttle his sister when we've asked. And get this - he's volunteered to drive her even when it meant an inconvenience to himself!

Now, let me explain "inconvenience" because it still blows my mind that he volunteered to do this: He said he would drive his sister to the YMCA to catch the 8:00 AM bus to her day camp.

OK. If you have teenagers, you may already be thinking that I've lost my mind - After all, It's summer: No sixteen year old boy with no school, no scheduled activities, no job (yet), and a penchant for staying up late playing video games could be pried out of their beds before noon. To drive his little sister. Not our boy. He wanted to do it. And because it meant a big inconvenience to either of us, we were happy to let him do it. He did a good job and got her there in plenty of time too. He even told us that evening that he was glad that he had gotten up early, because he was able to enjoy more of the day watching TV and playing games.

Pretty wise for a sixteen year old, I'm thinking. . .

Pretty wise, and . . . pretty eager too, if I think about it. Uh, wait a second! It would seem that our son is starting to enjoy this driving thing a bit more. He says it was cool because he had more waking hours in the day. But maybe the freedom from being tied down by the schedule of two very busy parents is starting to go to his head. Maybe he's out there right now blasting down the road on some wild adventure! Look Out! Be Carefull! Slow DOWN! AHHHHHHHH!!!!!

Ahem. Mmm. Sorry. It's the Unease coming back.

Such is the lot of a father of a new driver . . .

Monday, June 18, 2007

How's that again?

My wife and I were working the CTS at a swim meet recently, and had an interesting conversation with one of the other parents about our son. She is the mother of one of the female swimmers on our children's team. She was going on and on about how polite our boy was:

I saw your son at practice the other day. I asked him were his parents were because I needed to talk to one of you. He said that neither of you were here, and that he drove himself and his sister to practice.

Now at this point, she paused and commented how surprised she was that we trusted him to not only drive himself to practice, but to drive his sister too - Since he had just received his license.

We explained that we had good reason to be comfortable with him driving his sister because he's been driving at least one of us around for more than nine months, and we were very comfortable with his skill at this point. (See The Absence of Unease)

She must have been satisfied with our explanation, as she continued:

Well, anyway he was so polite about getting his license. I've seen so many new drivers waving their new licenses under their younger friend's noses, and bragging about being able to go where they want to by themselves, but not your son. He really didn't treat it like it was a big deal.

Oh, and he's so good looking too! I keep telling my daughter that she should get to know him, cause he's so nice and so handsome!

Well, I had to make a conscious effort not to burst out laughing in this poor woman's face! I was certain she was talking about someone else's kid at this point. But I soon realized that there probably was some truth in what she said. Hadn't we spent 16 whole years of our lives trying to teach him to be polite, to not brag, to be humble? So why wouldn't I believe that time had been well spent?

Why? Well, I'll tell you. He lives with us. . .

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Thought for today

Ever notice how easy it is to complain about something someone did that hurt us in some way, no matter how minor, and how many people we share that complaint with?

Ever notice how easy it is to do the same thing when someone does a good job for us, and how we feel much better when we share good news with others?

Ever notice how often we do the first, and how rarely we do the second?

Hmmm. . . .