My son is an outdoorsy type. So when Christmas rolled around, I thought I had the perfect gift–something that we could enjoy together…I was wrong.
I am blessed with two healthy daughters and one healthy son. My oldest is 14 and she loves sports and school and wants to protect the environment for our future. My son is 12, and he loves fishing, school and just learned how to hit his driver on the golf course. He is also getting addicted to golf like his Dad. My youngest is 8 and she loves to cook, play her guitar, and paint. We watch the Food Channel together and we both love Emeril.
All three of them are physically healthy and doing well academically. I am grateful for all of their achievements. However, I am a father who has learned from the mistakes that I have made and I’d like to share what I have learned with all of the members of SingleDad.
This is a major lesson I learned recently: Don’t pressure or persuade your kid(s) to do what you want. Let them speak and nurture their dreams.
There is nothing worse than being a Dad with expectations on their children. Like it or not, our kids know when we do this, so we need to stop and LISTEN.
My example is simple:
I bought my son a mountain bike for Christmas. I took the liberty in outfitting my son with the latest technology for tackling the hardest hills that Poway (the city where I live) has to offer.
The timing couldn’t be more perfect. It was too late to fish and the golf courses were full. It was the perfect time to implement my idea (expectation). We were going to head up the hills near our home and Mountain Bike together—just father and son.
In a nutshell, everything went well for me. Every hill, every climb, was a challenge. My son was being gracious and doing the best he could to keep up. He even offered to walk up the hill I just climbed on my 21-speed. As we got to the top, I had a moment to explain to my son how to navigate the descent and how to keep the bike underneath his saddle. I used every technical explanation on the ride he was about to take, not noticing the fear and apprehension I was causing him.
As I rode down the hill skipping and jumping on everything I could, I noticed there was no “wingman” by my side. In fact, I saw that he was still on top of the hill. As he made his descent, I saw that he didn’t come barreling down the hill like I had imagined. Instead, he had made accurate and purposeful stops along the way.
As he came to the bottom, I was greeted with the best advice a father could ever receive. It was an “a-ha” moment for sure…
“Dad, I really don’t like to go fast, and it scares me a little,” is what my 12 year old son said. “In fact, if you don’t mind, I would rather just ride around the lake or something.” I apologized and thanked my son for sharing his fears and told him that I was fine with a ride around the lake with him.
Adrenaline-filled Mountain Bike trips were going to be reserved for Dad. I had learned a valuable lesson to share with others: Sometimes, we just don’t see the signs that our kids are giving us. We can’t force our own passions, we can only support what makes our kids happy.
Richard “RJ” Jaramillo, is the Founder of SingleDad.com,
a website and social media resource dedicated to single parenting and specifically for the newly divorced, re-married, widowed and single Father with children.
RJ is self employed, entrepreneur living in San Diego and a father of three children. The mission of SingleDad is to help the community of Single Parents
“Make Life Happen…Again!”