Thursday, November 15, 2012

Feed Off Each Other

To my son Tommy,

One way everyone learns is by seeing others do.  Example is one of the best learning tools of this world.  We are often told to lead by example but many times we do not do this.  I believe a disservice is done when you put off a task to spend some "quality" time with someone.  First off, quality time is a very subjective term and as long as you are spending time with a person and engaging with that person, it can be quality time.  Secondly, the example of how to do the task is lost.  And finally, the example that it is okay to do it later is given.

Take for example straightening the living room.  I tend to make the mistake of putting this off till you go to bed in an effort to spend some time playing toys with you.  I also use the excuse that cleaning while a child awake is like brushing your teeth while eating oreo cookies (a concept or quote that stuck with me from one of you mom's friends on facebook).  The problem is you don't get to see me clean as often.  You don't learn how to clean.  You don't learn that cleaning is important.  As far as you know, you go to bed and the cleaning fairy comes and the next morning you wake up to a clean living room.  I really am doing you no favor by shirking our duties for playtime.  We could spend time straightening and we would still be spending time together.  I wouldn't dare offend your intelligence by trying to frame clean up as a game, but we could make it enjoyable as possible.

This ability to learn by example really should go well beyond the adult-child relationship.  Parent to parent example is a good way for your mommy and me to learn how to raise you.  Today when you finish waking up, I am going to put some vaseline on your chapped lips.  This action would have never occurred to me as I often fall into the "clueless father" category when it comes to basic child care.  But the other day I saw your mother do this for you and realized that I should be doing this as well.  I learn a lot when mommy and I spend time parenting together.  Too many times it seems we have one person parenting while the other person takes a break and does other things.  Yet even if the other parent is just observing you learn so much about how to parent, how to play, how your child responds, who your child is, and most importantly we often learn how to love and be loved.

As you grow, feed off those around you.  Learn from their good examples and attempt to return the best example you can for others to feed off.  Expand this concept into all aspects of your life, be it work or love.  Make your shared time a quality experience no matter if it is playing with blocks or picking them up and putting them away.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

No comments:

Post a Comment