It doesn’t help that over the weekend you watched an episode of Transformers: Rescue Bots, as well as the 1981 animated Spider-Man series, where the plot involved dinosaurs coming to life in modern day, causing chaos and therefore invoking the help of the good guys to save everyone.
When your teacher, Ms. Lauren, asked you what else besides dinosaurs you are excited to see at the zoo this weekend, you quickly responded: “Trucks. Fire trucks.”
Son, this may be a very disappointing visit to the zoo. Hopefully, I can pass off the iguanas as “baby dinosaurs.”
It’s just that I feel compelled to protect your belief in dinosaurs. I kind of don’t want you to find out the truth about them.
So that’s what will happen. I will encourage and build up your version of reality where dinosaurs are still alive in the world. Because honestly, that sounds like a pretty cool version of reality. Who am I to mess that up for you right now?
Yesterday I bragged on how much I loved the “Pals” ad by Robinsons. Since then, I’ve read some comments online pointing out that the commercial closes with the tagline, “It’s good to be a dad, it’s better to be a friend.”
For some people, that motto carries a different meaning than it does for me.
Here’s an example, from “richa20560″ on The Drum.com, of the kind of comments that barb in between the positive ones, in reference to the ad:
“Nice ad if you reversed the strapline. Current ad epitomises everything thats wrong with current parenting practises, kids have plenty of friends in their life but only 1 mum & dad this trivialises the importance of stepping up & being the dad you can’t always be their friend, to infer its better to be their friend devalues the vital role of a parent, sometimes you have to say no & sometimes they won’t like you for it. Better to be a dad and raise a child capable of making friends, than being the only one who can bare to be their friend.”
As for me, I hear the phrase “It’s good to be a dad, it’s better to be a friend” and I don’t think that the message is to be a parent who overlooks discipline for the sake of wanting your kid to like you.
I can hear it without thinking it is promoting something stupid like buying alcohol or cigarettes for your kid, too.
Instead, I totally get what ”It’s good to be a dad, it’s better to be a friend” means; without jumping to polarizing conclusions or taking it so literally.
As I mentioned yesterday, it’s impossible to love and lead you without serving you. Therefore, so many of the elements of me being a good dad require that I am a good friend.
My interpretation of ”It’s good to be a dad, it’s better to be a friend” is this: The best part of being a dad is the part where I get to have a buddy who loves me unconditionally.
I could go on to theorize that the worst part, or, my least favorite, is the discipline part. However, it’s no less important that the “being the friend” part.
As your dad, I do my best to make sure the majority of our time together fits into that glorious (and more marketable!) “friend” category; because a good friend can still teach, mentor, and even discipline you.
Really, I guess it just comes down to a person’s definitions of the words “dad” and “friend.”
(Here’s a chance to, if you haven’t. Go ahead, please. I’ll wait.)
As you just watched, the boy in the green shirt puts his arm around the boy in the striped shirt while he was holding the ball, dusts him off when they fall down, compliments him on his throw, lifts him up to the bar he can’t reach, pretends like he’s about to push him into the water, patiently looks over his shoulder as he plays his video game, recognizes the boy’s crush and encourages him to talk to her and insists she likes him too, takes the “fatal hit” while using sticks to play sword fight, serves him juice, stays awake after he falls asleep watching T.V, takes his shoes off for him, carries him upstairs and lays a blanket over him.
They’re clearly friends, right?
The ad closes with the boy in the striped shirt saying, “Good night, Dad.” Then the dad tells his son good night too.
In those 60 seconds, through play, encouragement, and affection, the dad serves the son.
“It probably comes down to this anyway: The most important things I do in life, and that I am best at doing, are the things for which I’m not regularly thanked. Serving is loving and leading. I get that now… no thank you’s required.”
In a history of commercials making the dad out to be an idiot, finally, somebody really (!) gets it right.
“So, in review, a stubborn, penny pinching, Dave Ramsey following, Generation Y dad like me will magically buy a product for his son if he believes that… the product will reinforce the traditional ideas and principles that remind him of his own 1987 version of childhood and/or… the company makes it clear that dads are helpful and important, not idiots.”
A+, Robinsons “Pals.” You are the official dad ad to beat.
Here’s a secret, Son. A dad can never hear enough, from anyone, that he is a good dad.
To outsiders it may appear to be a sensitive male ego thing, but as a dad, I can confirm that routine, positive affirmation is one of the most effective ways to reach and connect with a dad.
So now, I need to go wipe my nose. I could blame it on the Maple trees blooming here in Nashville, triggering my allergies.
Instead, I’ll just admit it. After watching this ad a few times, I’m pretty tore up, in a good way.
I am told on a weekly basis, by family members, by friends, by co-workers, and readers, that I am a very “black-and-white, cut-and-dry” person; that there is no gray with me.
It’s as if I put every situation and event in it’s own compartment in my brain; as if history always repeats itself.
Maybe that’s part of the reason I’m a vegan. All or nothing, right?
Maybe that’s why I make a living by discovering performance formulas for my company to help them become more efficient.
I look at what does work, separate it from what doesn’t work, then check for reoccurring patterns.
Sure, I realize the world isn’t categorized in perfectly organized compartments, but I work to help make it that way as much as possible.
Son, I’m pretty sure you’re going to be a lot like me in those regards. In fact, I’m pretty sure you already are that way.
Sunday afternoon as Mommy was preparing dinner, you got upset because she wasn’t able to play trains with you like I was. After about 90 seconds of a breakdown because you couldn’t stand to be playing without her though she was only 10 feet away, I had to take action.
You and I went upstairs to play. You had to be moved out of the compartment of “Mommy, play with me!” to “Me and Daddy are playing like boys!”
By the time we stepped into your room, you were fine with Mommy being downstairs… in a “different compartment.”
The base of our papasan rocking chair broke, only leaving the dome-shaped seat part intact.
As I spun you around and quickly swayed you, it magically became a yellow submarine, a monster truck, and a horsey.
Together, you and I were loud, rough, and technically violent in our Daddy-son compartment.
You stripped yourself down to your pro-wrestler/superhero attire, which is a diaper and nothing else.
But once Mommy entered the room, you became a different little boy; a little boy who wanted to read and wear clothes, not play.
I’ve also noticed that everyday when I drop you off at school, you get quiet the moment I hand you over to your teacher, not speaking or showing emotion again until after I’m out of sight.
Who knows? Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m drawing too many conclusions; because after all, I’ve already established that I look for patterns and formulas in everything.
Maybe little girls can just as easily be the same way. I wouldn’t know about that; no history to build on since you don’t have a sister.
Thursday morning as we pulled out of the neighborhood, you asked me:
“What’s that sound, Daddy?”
Minutes later, a man in a pick-up truck next to me motioned to my back tire. Fortunately, we happened to be very close to a WalMart, where we learned my tire had a big silver nail in it and that the tire would have to be replaced.
For months now, I have meaning to get my own diaper bag to keep in my car for you.
Given that you and I spend at least 7 hours a week together in my car, it makes sense that I should have a “daddy diaper bag” to remain with me wherever I am with you.
Interestingly enough, Thursday morning happened to be the morning I placed my new daddy diaper bag in my car, in the seat next to you. Then minutes later, the flat tire situation happened.
So during the 2 and a half hour event, I had books, toys, snacks, and of course, diapers for you; right there all in one place. It’s strange to think that before this week, I didn’t even carry diapers with me in my car!
But now, we’re all set. And not only do I have a daddy diaper bag, I actually have a really nice, trendy one from OkieDog.
I noticed that the particular bag I chose, the Urban Sphinx, is specifically designed for a man. Just like the way a man compartmentalizes his thoughts in a very cut-and-dry manner, the bag is evidently designed this way too.
The bag actually reminds me of my car itself, a Honda Element, in that it is simple, practical, efficient, and very low-maintenance.
Those are all adjectives that, as a man, are important to me in describing things I own.
Like a Honda Element, my daddy diaper bag contains no cloth or fabric, making it very easy to clean.
It has a plastic carabiner-type device on a key ring behind the main flap, making it very easy to find my keys. (That’s why I hate Mommy’s purse… I always have to dig around for her keys!)
Something else that made me smile about my daddy diaper bag is that it comes with a couple smaller zippered bags; perfect for wet wipes or snacks.
I like how nothing about it is hidden: All the pockets and compartments are easily visible and obtainable. (I am assuming it was designed by a man because everything about it speaks to me in my language?)
In other words, nothing about it reminds me of a purse, like our other diaper bag.
Son, this is our masculine diaper bag. It has already experienced its first adventure with the two of us.
Here’s to many more father and son adventures! Hopefully, they won’t involve me buying a new tire for my car…
Attention Dadabase Readers: Here’s a coupon code that gives you a 10% discount on orders from the okiedog.com site: 2296.
It will be good through the end of May 2013. Also, Okiedog will soon be offering free shipping on all products to Amazon Prime members.