Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Father's Dreams For His Kids

On November 27, I asked my readers to submit questions for me to answer. I received several questions and have been making my way through them.

This question came from Red's sister, Hestia (not her real name). Since Red likes to remain anonymous online, her family connections are anonymous as well. I have met Hestia one time and she recently became a reader. I assume this was to check out who this guy is that has been after her sister. I don't know how much Hestia has dug through my archives, but hopefully this blog has been a decent representation of who I am. Or maybe not. I am not really sure which would be better. Hopefully, at least the post where I promised not to chop her sister into pieces with an axe will give me some credibility.

Her question:
Since our daughter's are about the same age, What is your greatest desire for her future after living with Dad? Also, if it won't cause trouble with her, what is one of your "OMG, they're just like me" stories about your kids?
My hopes and aspirations for my daughter (both my kids) are pretty simple. I want them to be happy. I am not concerned with accomplishments, what they do for a living, how many kids they have or where they live. If Kirsten marries, I pray that it's to a great guy that will treat her well. Whatever she chooses as a career, I hope she enjoys it and works hard at it.

My biggest hope when they were children was for them to give their lives to the Lord. They have done that, so now I just pray that their lives are happy. That's it.

As for stories about how she is just like me, I have really had to dig back and think.

Kirsten appeared to be an adventure-seeking daredevil like me until she was about seven years old. She wanted to ride the roller coasters. She climbed the biggest rocks and tallest trees. She would jump off the roof into my arms and just seemed to have no fear.

When Kirsten was 5 years old, we drove to St. Louis with my mother to coat my grandmother's roof. While Mom and I were on the roof working in one corner, Kirsten came up the ladder and asked if she could stay. My mother really didn't like her being up there, but since I allowed it she didn't say anything.

Kirsten soon began to notice how nervous my mother became when she wandered too close to the edge. After one of my mother's outbursts to get away from the edge, Kirsten ran right to the corner of the roof and said, "Grandma, I'm fine. Look!" She then leaned over the edge and lifted one foot with her toes hanging over the side.

In that instance, I would say she really imitated the type of behavior I did as a child. However, today she is much different. Physically, she likes to play it safe. Creatively, she will take chances. She is much more artistic and creative than I am or ever have been.

Mentally, I see her struggling with many of the same things I dealt with as a teen. Her mind works differently than most people's. I was the same way. As a teen, I thought I was smarter than everyone else. Now, I realize that I just look at the world differently. Not better, but different. Kirsten still struggles with trying to decide how much of her thought process to divulge to other people knowing that it will probably not be understood or appreciated. I still think in the same way, but over the years have learned how to navigate conversations and read other people better.

I believe most people develop these tendencies over the years as they learn how to censor themselves to promote better acceptance. Unfortunately, it gets in the way of really getting to know others and hinders the thought process as we try to conform to socially acceptable modes of belief, mental process, behavior, and thought.

Hopefully, I am explaining myself well and am not appearing to be arrogant. I am always concerned that I appear conceited when trying to illustrate this for others. Probably because arrogance was my attitude for a long time. Kirsten has expressed the same concern when she has talked about it with me. I believe the way we perceive the world to be the thing we have the most in common.

Hopefully, she learns to embrace this and use it to her advantage quicker than I did. Suppressing it too much will keep her from expressing herself and hinder her relationships and achievements. Looking down on others for not seeing things in the same way will alienate her from people. I have my fingers crossed that she finds the balance quickly.

In the meantime, like me, she is very happy and always has been. She has a positive outlook on life and is ready to tackle the future. She is more socially reserved than myself, but that is probably a good thing. Now that I don't care what anyone thinks, it gets me in plenty of trouble. She isn't there yet.

22 comments:

  1. Thank you.
    I think one of the greatest joys is having a child that challenges the status quo (and watching them stay true to themselves in the face of peer pressure).
    Your poor mother, after raising you boys she probably was hoping a girl would be more restrained.

    Hestia

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    1. You are very welcome. Kirsten has calmed over the years. She now opts for safety and rarely pushes the limits anymore. I thought we were going to be sky-diving, bungee jumping buddies, but she grew out of it.

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    2. (I'll be your sky-diving, bungee jumping buddy!)

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  2. And yes, reading your thoughts has helped me see that you are very good for Red and *gasp* much like our father.

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    1. I got to hear a few of his stories last time I was up there. It sounds like he had some fun in his younger days.

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  3. Yes, Brett truly is (at heart) a great guy! And he is an amazing Dad! And Brett, Kirsten is so much like you it is scary. I have told you that in the past. She is true to herself and very outspoken about what and how she believes. You have raised a smart, brave and very warped young lady! LOL! Love you both (and Christian too I guess) more LOL's.
    tam

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    1. Thank you, Tammy. I tried to make them into people who were polite, but did not get walked on.

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  4. There seems to be a lot of us who think differently. Makes me wonder if we are really the silent majority.

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  5. Oh my lord, the whole looking at the world differently and the problems it brings, even the appearing to be arrogant, could well describe me and now I see it reflected in my own spawn.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again, if there were more fathers like you, the world would be a better place. :)

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    1. I love when Kirsten asks me, "Dad, why is everyone else so stupid."

      I just give her a big hug, kiss her on top of the head and explain that she shouldn't blame them or hate them. It's not their fault.

      Thank you.

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  6. Raising children to be responsible, goal-oriented and happy is a complicated job, and not many parents seem to be doing it right judging from media reports of young people gone awry. But you seem to have a handle on parenting and I think you will be rewarded in the future for all the good work you're doing as a parent today.

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    1. I have a philosophy that many don't like to hear, but it how I do parenting.

      "It is not my job to make sure they are happy or even like me. It is my job to mold them into productive, functioning members of the adult world."

      Obviously, I want my kids to be happy, but it is far from my top priority while raising them. Learning proper values, skills and ethics are more important. Those skills will make their lives easier as adults and give them a much better chance at being happy when they are on their own.

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  7. She really seems a lot like you. The story about the roof was pretty hilarious. And no, you didn't sound arrogant. I thought you got your point across pretty clearly. I think everyone looks at the world in different ways. Some just express it more, some just admit it to others and themselves more, some think of things in a drastically unique way as opposed to a slightly unique way.

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    1. In one of my education books, I recently found the layout of the person who thinks like me. The overly logical-analytical thinker (which is me), has a tendency to find his own ways to solve problems, feels hindered when asked to use a proven model and often feels unappreciated for his outlook and solutions to problems.

      That was (and still is) me. I am one who sees things very differently and have just learned how to navigate the culture and keep most of it to myself. Kirsten will say something to me that makes perfect sense, but was shot down by her teacher and classmates when she mentioned it in the classroom. Unfortunately, she has learned to keep her mouth shut. I did the same, but grew out of it in adulthood. I hope she learns to speak up as well.

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  8. You have a very open relationship with Kirsten, and it's unique, in my experience/observation. I'm sure that will serve her well in later years.

    ...you know, no "daddy issues".

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    1. Our banter is usually kept under wraps in public since it is not appreciated by most. She is an awesome kid.

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  9. I don't think you come off as arrogant at all.

    Kristen seems to be a balanced and intelligent kid, clearly you have done a wonderful job as a parent.

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  10. I'm the same way in that I think about things differently. I think we have talked about that before, and I think it is what helps to make a good writer.

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    1. I have to agree. It helps to see things in a different light.

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