Monday, June 15, 2015

Just Take A Second...

I’m by no means a perfect parent. I have plenty of impatient, un-blogworthy moments. I get frustrated, baffled, and feel overwhelmed as I try to navigate the waters of fatherhood. But still, I’ll always try to be the best parent I can be.

I was at the gas station the other day. It was a mild, easygoing Sunday afternoon. A lady was leaving, pushing a stroller. A boy of maybe six followed. By the way she spoke to the kids I’ll assume that she was the boy’s mother. On the way out of the store, the boy bent down to study something in the parking lot—a bug, leaf, caterpillar or something—and the mother lost her sh*!. She exploded, shouting for the boy to hurry along. The little guy tried, but he was having a time peeling away from whatever it was on the pavement. So she stomped over and yanked him along.

I’m not going to pretend that I thought the world was perfect or anything. But come on, can’t why not give him a minute? They were walking, there was no fire that I could see, why not let the little boy take a few minutes and look at something that catches his eye?

Again, I have plenty of flaws. Just the other evening, on my watch of course, my son took a spill into the fire pit (there was no fire) and scraped his leg. I’ve knocked him down hovering too close at the park. And I’ve been in a rush while dropping him off at daycare on mornings where I was running late. But still, I always give him a minute to explore—to take a second and appreciate a bug. A stick. A rock. Especially now. Because in a few years I won't remember my long boring day at work or whatever mundane thing I was doing. But I’ll remember my kid. And I want him to remember his childhood as a wild learning ride, not a rushed parent.

*And now for the preachy conclusion to this post.

Maybe that’s why a lot of kids grow up without an appreciation for their surroundings. We always hear how they litter and don't respect nature or the world in which they live. Maybe because they don’t know anything about it. 

My wife teaches second grade, and I couldn't believe it when she told how many kids have never even squished Play-Doh around in their fingers. How can we not have time to let our kids play? What could be important to us than them? We stare at phones constantly. We check our apps and our statuses and immerse ourselves in meaningless blather. So the least we can do is let our children check out their surroundings every once and a while. It’s amazing what sticks with them. 

Okay sorry. Where were we?

After the gas station incident I let my son play with an ant until the ant finally scurried up a tree and escaped. And you know what? The next time he was outside he went right for the tree, bypassing his toy mower and big wheel and bubble machine. I sat down in the grass, barefoot and smiling. My son was looking for an ant.

1 comment:

  1. Love this post! I wrote something similar in my Mommy blog today about how I'm always rushing with my to-do list and my lil one makes me stop to play "chase" or "hide-n-seek". Kids teach us to slow down ...that is, if we listen.