I’m a very proud Dad. I have a six-year-old son and a daughter, who has just turned eight. I realized long ago that they are growing up fast. Their curious little minds absorb everything that surrounds them. Their ears prick up whenever they hear Daddy on the phone. They are trying to make sense of the world around them, and they scarily understand more than I expect.
My wife and I take our jobs as parents very seriously. It is a great gift, but a great responsibility.
I have a view that childhood should be full of as much joy as possible. The joy of throwing stones on the beach, making Daddy laugh, creating something new, saying something clever, finding out more about the world. The joy of loving and being loved.
However, I equally understand that I should teach my children about real life. My daughter was amazingly understanding and supportive when I lost my job a few years ago (read “Daddy? Have You Lost Your Job?”). They are always trying to see things from an adult perspective, so I am equally trying to teach them to be little adults.
A big part of being an adult is being able to provide for your family – having a job and earning a living. I am lucky enough to work at home, so I have an ideal chance to demonstrate some basic values. However, I believe that everyone should simply talk about their jobs with their kids more. I’ll give you a few examples:
I was talking to my son about how I feel when people criticise my blogs. He has had a hard time at school as we have only just moved back from Russia, and he struggled with English to start with. He said that he understood how I felt, and told me how he learned to laugh with the bullies. Yes, he had a funny accent, but he could say naughty words in a different language to the teachers without them understanding. Rather than running away, he engaged with them; he got the bullies on his side.
I was talking with my daughter about how I leave everything until the last minute. I perform best when the pressure is on. She was telling me about how she likes to come home and read her school books straight away and then she is free to have a play. She suggested that I write the trickier blogs first and then psychologically it would become easier as the week goes on.
My daughter wonders why I am quiet on the phone so much. “If you are selling to them Daddy, why aren’t you speaking?” I explain to her that in order to influence someone, the most important thing is to listen. If you don’t understand someone’s motivations, you’ll always be guessing about their next move. She noted that those people who talked the most in her class often got the lowest grades.
My son didn’t understand why sometimes people don’t want to work with me. “They are silly Daddy; you are great at what you do.” I explained that everyone is entitled to their opinion and that there are many people out there who won’t share your view of how the world works. Sometimes kids in the playground don’t want to play with certain other kids. They don’t even have to have a good reason; they just don’t want to. Such is the way of the world.
These are just a few examples for the sake of brevity. There are many more.
Share your life with your kids, if and when you have them. Help them to grow up and learn some lessons with you. Look at their lives and understand that much of what you are preaching to them can equally apply to yourself.
Their insight is spot on most of the time. “Daddy, it must be a really nice job because you are helping people.” Well, yes, yes it is.
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