I recently decided it was time to have a guest post on Founding a Father (it only took me 4 years to come to the decision). Luckily, I have had the good fortune of connecting with some amazingly talented writers to ask from.
So for the inaugural guest post, I asked my friend Justin from Daddy Knows Less. Justin is a devoted Dad to his ‘Peanut’ and a doting husband to his ‘Director’ and I have been a fan of his for some time. He writes with emotion, humor, and at times a bite of sarcasm that keeps me going back to his blog.
I am so happy he agreed to share his talents with Founding a Father. I hope you enjoy the post as much as I did.
Check out Justin’s website: Daddy Knows Less
Stepping Up Is Hard To Do
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” -Dr. Seuss, Oh the PLaces You Go!
Now that Peanut is kicking the comfort of daycare off her shoes and heading into Kindergarten in the fall; now that she’s participated in the emotional, adorable “stepping up” ceremony that had my face soaked with snot and tears, causing me to lose all of my street cred as a stoic, stone-faced sarcastic dad; now that all of that is behind us and we are looking forward to rest of her academic career, I have some words of wisdom to impart on Peanut and her pint-sized classmates.
First: Learn to read. You’re not going to get anywhere in life having other people read things to you. It’s embarrassing, really. Grab a book, sound out the words, and string a sentence together. Educate yourself. Stop relying on other people – mainly, your parents – to read to you. It’s lazy. (Actually, you’re so close it’s scary.)
While we’re on the subject of parental dependency, that brings me to my second point: your mommy and daddy aren’t always going to be there to help you. Cut your own meat. Blow your own nose. Wipe your own butt. Have some dignity. When you get older, and you ask someone for a favor that you’re perfectly capable of doing yourself, and they respond with, “You want me to wipe you butt for you too?” You’ll know what I’m talking about. Cut the cord.
That leads perfectly to number three on my list: entitlement. You are not entitled to a snack, a nap, or dessert. You don’t get a toy every time we go shopping somewhere. These things are rewards and they are earned. You work hard, you play hard, you follow the rules, you be kind to others, you reap the benefits. Do those things, and you get a bowl of ice cream. Do those things and I’ll get you that Rapunzel pez dispenser you’ve had your eye on.
Number four: if you don’t do those things, you don’t get a reward. And you definitely don’t cry to get your way. Do you think that’s how people act in the real world? In Kindergarten? This is the big leagues. Shape up. Crying because you want to read a different book than we picked? Or because you wanted to be the one who opened the door when we got home? Or because we didn’t let you play a ninth round of hide-and-seek before bed? That’s immature and unacceptable. Suck it up. Choke back those tears. As The Rolling Stones say, you can’t always get what you want. And as Frank Sinatra says, that’s life. Sometimes it’s not fair. You cooperate and coexist. Deal with it and move on.
Finally: Grow up. Everything is not a game. Or a joke. On second thought…who am I kidding? I still make a game or a joke out of almost everything. It’s why you’re so funny. (That and your mom serves a great ‘straight man.’) But if you do everything else on my list, you can get away with the occasional – or not-so-occasional – nonsense. People will take you seriously when it matters if you lead by example. Show that you’re smart, capable, independent, hard-working, fair, dependable, and realistic. You’ll have yourself allies. More important, you’ll have yourself friends. Friends you can joke with. Friends you can be silly with. Friends for life.
You stood up there on stage at your Pre-K Stepping Up ceremony. You walked up to the microphone with a big smile. You grabbed it, leaned in, and said confidently and excitedly that your favorite thing about Pre-K was “being with your friends.” You can tell a lot about a person by the quality of their friends. Keep surrounding yourself with good people. They will help you. They will love you. They won’t judge you. They’ll make you laugh in the good times. They’ll make you laugh until you cry in the bad times. No person is poor who has friends.
That makes you one of the richest kids I know. Keep doing what you’re doing, Peanut. I’ll always be here to guide you along.
Kindergarten here we come. But first, one last summer as my baby.