15.1.19

What dad does matters

When I was a kid, the things I was interested in most didn't align with the things my father was interested in. Even today, while I have been able to get my dad to participate in things, I am often wondering why it took so long.

For an example, when I was a kid, my first "dream job" was to be a monster truck driver. My parents did little to explore how such a thing would be possible. My dad took me to a Monster Jam show once, but about the closest thing to a tradition involving any wheeled vehicles was going to the annual "car show" at the Expo Center, where manufacturers showed off their new models before they were available at the dealer. It was something, but it wasn't a regular thing, a habit.

Today, I know that at the minimum I would have needed to get involved with professional karting. A doorway to many other motorsports, go-karts are a way to demonstrate or develop driving prowess in a controlled environment where the costs are generally lower than any other professional motorsport.

What dads do with their kids matters, and in this regard I am entirely spoiled, because so far it looks like mine are already trending down the same paths I am already on, the things that I find interesting. Next year we'll probably go to Monster Jam.

Even so, if my kids are interested in things that aren't already in my realms of interest, I still need to help them invest in and refine their interests further to develop excellence for themselves. I will certainly have opinions on whether something is ultimately helpful or not, but that's also where the separation between "career" and "hobby" comes into play.

What I do as "dad" matters. I can't just write my responsibilities off because I am tired, exhausted, unappreciated, etc. The struggle to spend time with my kids will cost me daily, but that habit is the price of trying to create a legacy. They won't know the difference for decades, but I will see the difference and understand it right now.

I love my dad, and enjoy the time we spend together, but the opportunities to do so are limited, and in turn the respective intimacy of the relationship is limited as well. Between men, intimacy is seen in the dimension of "truth", in that the closer two men are, the more truth exists between them, and that each knows about the other.

The basic framework for this understanding is in shared activities, especially when there is competition, because the truth of one's skills are not easily hidden. You scored the goal, got the faster time, finished the course without incident or injury, etc. This is where men get to know each other through objective means, and that knowledge is a prerequisite for trust, and that trust is a prerequisite for truth.

Thus a father, in bonding with his kids, will need activities, and they will be different with sons and daughters, but they still need to happen in the first place. A father needs to have an active role in the life of their children, even and perhaps especially because it is difficult.

I have a 700r4 that I need to rebuild, but it keeps getting delayed because of circumstance. It'll still be there, as with my other projects and hobbies, even when my kids have grown up and left my home, but I only get one chance to be "dad", and a father should understand this and make the most of it.

"Mothers plant and fathers prune."