Today I made that yearly Father’s Day phone call to my most amazing and brilliant Pa and as always he wanted to chat more about me than about himself. As a father to three daughter’s my dad has had to dish out a lot of advice in his 30 years of parenthood. If he’s not handing out tips on our careers he’s questioning our safety (as we live in large cities he doesn’t necessarily approve of) or inquiring respectfully about boys we may be dating.
So this got me to thinking – what is it that has made my dad (and also my mom) so totally boss when it comes to parenting? A lot of it was in the advice they’ve had to come up with over the past three decades, but some of it has also been in the things they haven’t said to us or the little steps they took that we didn’t notice until we were older.
A quote I saw (on Facbeook, of course) really sums it up for me:
“The attitude you have as a parent is what your kids will learn from more than what you tell them. They don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.”
This is so on the money. My dad (and again mom for that matter) never sat us down and had big serious talks with us about sex, drugs or alcohol – but all of us ended up being pretty responsible on those issues. They never grounded us, but we always respected their rules. I can remember getting mad at my dad (as teenage girls so often do) and him sitting me down and very reasonably trying to understand my point of view. He wasn’t humoring me and he wasn’t belittling my feelings, he genuinely wanted to know what my take was.
I once asked my mom how they had become such good parents. She simply responded:
“We just raised you to love us and that made you respect us. You knew that we just wanted the best for you so you trusted us.”
And boy is that true. What makes my dad (and mom) awesome sauce? They raised us to be like them. They’re good people who live by clear but not stifling morals. They are forgiving when they need to be, tough when they have to be, intelligent and reasonable people who always think of others first (especially their kids). They never took the easy route with us, they never sat us down in front of the television when they could read to us, they never let us get away with things if we needed to be punished (with a nice long lecture). I don’t think they got their “philosophy” (if you can call it that) from a book, they created it themselves. And maybe they should write a book on the matter – because they are awesome sauce indeed.
Thank you, mom and pop! Thanks for the irreplaceable advice and the amazing childhood. And most of all thank you for continuing to help me become a responsible and driven adult. I love you both!
Happy Father’s Day, everyone – I hope you called your Dad today!