As a child I always wanted to be a Dad. A good Dad. I married young and got busy doing the husband and "Dad" thing. Eventually my dream got clouded with distractions but the foundation of the dream, my children, drew me back to the dream before I strayed too far. With 14 children today, it seems a long time ago that I was a "rookie dad" but I can still remember the joys of first words, smiles, run to dad for hugs and some of the first steps days.
Now, 36 years after the first children came into the world I had a opportunity to look at the end results of my efforts. With eight adult children raised and out of the house and six more to go, I pondered on my success rate.
First the realities of today. One of the children moved to Niagra Falls, NY but calls every week and the other seven live nearby and I see them at least once a week at church with some having multiple visits during the week. That said. I have come to the conclusion that I have done alright. Had I not, none of the children would have keep in touch or be spending so much time in our presence and or communicating with us. That's the story I'm telling myself and I'm sticking to it. It makes me feel pretty good. A validation of some sort. A confirmation of perhaps many times of "Getting It Right".
"Getting It Right", is a big deal for me and I'm sure it is true for most. I never took parenting classes in the early years and they did not have such classes then when I was attending school. The school of hard knocks was my alma matter and commonsense as well as my own "like it or hate it" experiences of being a child were the mentors at hand as I started out as a Dad.
Yesterday I was riding in my truck with my adult son. He offered to babysit while my wife and I attended a married couples function. I thanked him for the time he was donating and somehow the topic of how well I did as a father for him came up. He said he had a great time as a child and only had one complaint. I began to worry as I knew the complaint was about to drop hard and soon. This is what he said. "The only complaint I have is you never taught us how to talk to girls. That why me and one of my brothers is not married." I thought to myself, "that's it". Nothing earth shaking like "you were never there for me" 0r "do you remember when I was twelve I ask for a pony and all I got was rollerblades". Nope, I raised a real boy or man in this case. He just wanted to know how to attract girls. Boy was I glad. It seemed almost too easy. Then I remembered that I married the girl I met in junior high. I really had no experience. More like dumb luck or the hand of God (I kind of like the one about God). Anyway, I search my mental data base and came up with the following. I said, son, girls like boys that make them feel special. The best way I know how you can do that is to learn to dance and take them out on the dance floor as often as you can. Make them look good, make them feel pretty. Second, read books and or listen to tapes/cds to become educated. Girls like a guy who has a little something upstairs. Last, learn to listen, make friends, build a relationship. He smiled and said,"Thats all". I responded "Yup". Now, I'm sure there are other high powered methods that include some type of NLP but for me, I like the old fashioned approach. It all made sense to him and he smiled at me as to say, "Thanks Dad, you have been a great help. I look forward to trying to find a girl" Hey, what can I say. I felt good. Now the results are not in yet but I betting that on this one, I'm "Getting It Right".