Wednesday, 21 February 2018

First I Ask the Friends, Then I Do the Parenting (Part 1)

I always knew I wanted to have kids at some point in my life. I remember when my best friend B told me he was going to be a dad. At the time we were pretty young, but I turned to him and congratulated him. He told me I was the first person to say that to him, and it wasn't for lack of people that he'd told. Everyone's response to his news wasn't entirely unexpected - at that age, becoming grandparents was our parents' worst nightmare. However, it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to him. Between then and now he's become an example of the kind of father I look forward to being: caring, understanding, careful with his words, and unbelievably patient. The result has been two of the most polite, well-behaved, and interesting kids I have ever met.

Kay's new bump
Subsequent to his children being born, I watched as each one of my high school friends gradually had children of their own. As I'm one of the last of those friends to have kids, this puts me in an outstanding position to learn from the best, a notion that seemed like it would make a really good blog post. So I asked a number of those friends to help with my research by giving me their best parenting advice, tips, and tricks. What I was honestly hoping to get from this was enough hilarious material in the form of stories and cheeky advice to write an entertaining blog post, but what I actually got was effective, moving, and helpful recommendations with some seriously thick substance, so substantial that I've decided to make it a series instead of just one post.

For example, my friend B, the first of my friends to have children, explained his parenting philosophy to me - "show them love" he said. Something that seems really obvious and simple, right? Not necessarily for everyone. What he means by that isn't that you should tell them how much you love them all the time, or shower them with gifts. What he means is to lead by example - "be a good person, do something nice for a stranger, listen when they talk, treat them like real people - not just kids that don't understand what you're talking about", lessons I'm sure we can agree we should all live by, and something that I think really hits home about what it means to be a parent. Prior to parenthood, you can pretty much do what you want with your own life and (for the most part) you don't have to worry how that will affect other people. But as a parent, every single thing you do affects the kind of person that child is going to be.

B added to his advice by saying "show them you love their mominstil in them the want and need be a good person". He believes, "if you do everything with love in your heart; your kids (or anybody's kids) will turn out to be really great people". This will be really easy for me. As you all know, my wife is my pride and joy, the person who supports me, and the person that gives me purpose. How I treat my wife is how my children will learn to treat the people they care about. I read an article recently about a Harvard study that was done over the course of almost 80 years - which came to the conclusion that the key to our happiness in life is the relationships we have with others. To me, this means that if I show my children the love I have for their mother, I can teach them how to treat other people properly, how to love, and how to build meaningful and healthy relationships.

If this study is correct, I can then have a profound impact on their happiness well into adulthood. The secret to great children, it seems, is also the secret to great adults - which I think is what B was getting at when he added "Don't be afraid to discipline your children. That is something that is missing these days, and look how many asshole little kids there are out there."


  1. So, so very true. I think we spend so much time focusing on teaching our kids what we think they should know but we should also spend as much time focusing on being kind, good humans how care about others and the world around them.

  2. It means so much to me Chad that my words hit home with you and you got where I was coming from. But really, after 20+ years of friendship I should hope you get me. Lol
    You know this all ready but I am at your disposal for any help or advice you feel I could help you with. Love you brother!!