Thoughts on being a Parent/Teacher
Mom, Dad, Uncle, Aunt, Grandfather, Grandmother, Brother or Sister. Aren't we all teachers in some way? There are always people in our realm of influence for whom we act as teacher or mentor. Sometimes it's formal, like being a music teacher, or a school teacher. Sometimes it's informal like being a father or a mother.
I don't think I know a father or mother who doesn't take the opportunity to teach their kids something when the opportunity comes up. For me, these conversations happened in the car with my dad. We talked about politics, physics, mathematics. I never realized that these conversations happened, they just did. Last week I was able to have a physics discussion with my 7 year old about the continual struggle between gravity and centrifugal force.
I remember talking a lot about relationships with my dad. My relationships with my siblings, my mother, and with him. I remember him telling me how that time was a training ground for my future relationships with my wife and children. I often tell my sons that. The way they treat each other and their parents will train them for being husbands and fathers. Kind words are hard to express at their age, but with some encouragement and coaching they're able to do just that.
With my kids, we often have "2nd takes". Another chance to respond to a situation. We treat it like an acting workshop. "This is how you reacted. Is that how you wanted to react to this situation? Do you want to try again? Ok, here's take two." And I slap my hands together like a gaffer would. We then replay the situation, and the kids get a new chance to react.
I remember as a young husband, asking my dad how I should act in a certain situation, or how I should deal with a problem I was having. Often he wouldn't have exact advice for me in the form of do this, or don't do that. He would tell me experiences where what he had done resulted in the outcome he wasn't expecting, or didn't want. This for me was such a great thing, because it showed me a path that was unsuccessful, and it brought humor into the situation. We laughed about how terribly my dad dealt with something, and it relieved tensions I felt.
The older I get the more and more I become like my dad. I enjoy the outdoors with my kids, I'm obsessive about my passion (for him it was mathematics, for me it's music). I swore I would never have a beard when I grew up, but I haven't been without one since I graduated BYU. I often hear his words come out of my mouth as I talk to my boys, Scouts, and my own music students. I'm thankful that his voice is one of the ones in my head, and that his words have become mine.
My dad used to say, that each father is just trying to do better than his own father. Each generation is trying to improve their parenting. I have always been impressed with the kind of father my dad was to me. I can already see how my sons will surpass me.