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Being awesome for your kids

Kids need to think their dad is awesome. I’m no Psychologist, but I believe that kids inherently default to thinking their dad is awesome. As a dad I know that idea is categorically untrue, but as a recovering kid (adult) I know that I still think my dad is awesome! So, in light of this thought, several things occur to me.

First, its good that my kids look up to me and think I’m awesome (even if they are horribly wrong about that). Second, kids need a role model, and its better that its their dad than some self absorbed twit that plays a professional sport. Third, having the admiration of a child (and recognizing that I have it) makes me want to be a better father and a better man. Forth, I should not discourage my kids from thinking I’m awesome (that happens later, its called the teen years), but rather, encourage it through teaching them and loving them. To that last point, a quick story from the other day.

I was at a music festival with my family and on the way there I noticed that my car was acting up a bit. So, my wife wisely asked “Have you checked the oil lately?” That question was of course followed by a long pause because I knew the answer would put my man card in danger. I wanted to say “of course, what kind of a man to you think I am?” But, instead I had to say, “great idea honey” and in my mind said “and here’s my man card”.

So, I took my son with me and we went to the car with the all important tool of napkins in hand in order to check the oil. I popped the hood, which my son thought was cool, and then lifted the hood. Ethan (my son) thought it was awesome! He was immediately asking me about the engine and the hood. Now, I know virtually nothing about cars, but what I did know was very impressive to my 6 year old son. I said, “this is how you lift the hood, and you see this [pointing to the stand], you put this here to hold the hood up”. Do you think that impressed Ethan? You better believe it did!

Then I showed him how to check the oil, which also impressed him. And then it was time for the grand finally. I took the stand out from under the hood, and said, “and you know how to close the hood?” and then I dropped the hood from about 8 inches high, so that it closed with a good thud. Ethan’s face was priceless. You would have thought I was a nascar mechanic or something. He thought it was awesome and we talked about it, in detail, as we walked back to the rest of the family.

If the simple act of showing my six year old son how to check the oil in my car can make him think I’m awesome, then I’m thinking the bar for making my kids think that is pretty low. And I’m glad it is, otherwise I might miss it.