I am a Dad-In-Training. I do not have a degree in parenting. No one pays me, so I’m not a professional. I am an amateur, a Dad-In-Training.
As a Dad-In-Training I learn as I go. I learn from other dads. I learn from my children. Some things work really well. Other things work not so well.
One of my sons was angry one day. He slammed the bedroom door. I wanted to teach my son to control his anger and not to slam the door. So I opened the door really hard and slammed it even harder. This did not work so well.
I wanted my son to learn, “Dad, that really looks mean, nasty, and aggressive.” But the door broke through the dry wall. My son learned that I am a weirdo with a lot to learn.
I have taught my boys to run long distances, play hockey, and sail. I am learning that the more time I spend with my boys the more they learn from me.
What my boys have most learned from me is what I call “Language Lessons.” My boys have been learning English from me since the day they were born. Not one of them speaks German, Japanese, or French. They speak English.
There were no lessons or books, per se. There was just lots of practice. The more I talked the more they learned. Some people say I talk a lot. I don’t know about that. But I can tell you that they speak English pretty well.
But what do I want my children saying?
This is the question we Dads can ask and answer together. We need to think about what we want our children learning from us.
Our children learn to say what we say. When I slammed the door my children learned to be angry and destructive. They also learned to repair dry wall.
But when I am grateful, my boys learn to be grateful. When I am thankful, my boys learn to be thankful. I am learning that thankful Dads beget thankful children.
I am thankful for my boys. I am thankful for my boys’ mother. I am thankful for my boys’ coaches and teachers and those who spend time with them. I am thankful for my boys’ church and the dear people who invest in them. I am thankful to each of you Dads who model, and encourage, and mentor me.
I am learning that my boys learn to do what I do and say. You and I have a huge influence and opportunity to mold, shape, and encourage great things in my boys. We can teach our children how to run and play. We can also teach them to be thankful.
Thank you for being a Dad. We are in this together. Let’s learn from each other.
Jeff Sippy resides in Springfield, MO and is the father of three sons, all now young men. When he's not out sailing, he can be reached for question or comment at email@example.com.