In the past two letters, I shared with you what makes kids happy, from a scientific viewpoint. I’ve really enjoyed learning about this stuff.
Today’s letter is obviously particularly relevant to you and me.
I will admit, if this information weren’t scientifically backed up, what I am about to say might sound totally biased, but I read all about it an article in LiveScience, as well as seeing it referenced in “The Science Of Raising Happy Kids” infographic at the bottom of this page:
“Feeling loved by dad was even more important for kids’ wellbeing, happiness, and life satisfaction than feeling loved by Mom.
The most effective dads listen to their kids, have a close relationship with them, set appropriate rules, and give freedom when it makes sense.”
Maybe I’m alone here on this, but there are certain days when I feel like I don’t really matter so much; that I’m a chauffer and a dishwasher… like I’m a stage hand.
Your emotional attachment to Mommy is so obvious. As for your emotional attachment to me, the dad… not quite as obvious.
For most of my life I had functioned in a way that I needed confirmation that I was doing things right in order to feel confident.
However, I’m past that point in my life. That started changing about the time I got a real job… but even more so once I became your daddy.
But obviously, it’s still encouraging to learn that you feeling loved by me is an important of your wellbeing, happiness and life satisfaction.
Last week at work, I had a conversation with a co-worker named Matt, who has two small kids.
I was telling him how, the longer I’m a parent, the mellower of a person I am becoming. In other words, stuff is just bothering me less compared to the way it used to.
To my surprise, he agreed- he can also personally relate. We acknowledged that whether it’s gaining more patience, or a greater ability to not allow annoying things to bother us, the journey of being parents has broken us in, for the better.
Over three years ago, when I become a parent, I was a much more out-spoken, polarizing person; especially in regards to the world of social media… especially in relation to politics and religion.
Well, that has definitely gradually changed over the past couple of years.
For example, I no longer care to publically share my political affiliation (or disassociation). I feel that public political conversations divide people; causing them to believe that by putting blind faith into a certain political party, that there’s hope that “the other side” will be converted into an opposing belief system; therefore “getting America back on track.”
I’m so over that. I can’t change people’s political beliefs. Plus, I don’t want to be labeled (and limited) to just one side.
All I can do is hope to change the world through my behavior, which (hopefully) proves the validity of my beliefs in the first place.
Having learned that, I’ve realized that same concept applies to parenting issues which I had previously debated with other parents about.
Like the “cry it out” method, attachment parenting, and circumcision…
I used to be so quick to allow myself to get involved in public online debates over those issues. These days, I strive to not take, or present, the bait.
And really, I haven’t said anything controversial in a while…
Granted, I’m still constantly thinking out of the box, and open-minded to concepts that many people might question.
But now, I’m handling these situations differently than I would have six months or even a year ago:
Has anyone else seen the documentary “911: In Plane Site” on Netflix (will be removed on March 15) or on YouTube in its entirety? If so, will you send me a private message including your thoughts on it? I am asking for a private message response (not a comment) because I am attempting to avoid starting a comments war on my wall, in which I appear as a divisive host or commentator, or am labelled as a conspiracy theorist. I am not seeking controversy; only private answers to help sort out some confusion I’m having. Thanks.
I still like to engage people, and learn from others, but not at the risk of being polarizing. So I’m more discreet and more private about my questions and concerns regarding the world and the people who live in it.
It’s my opinion that the chaotic process of parenthood has forced me to focus on what really matters.
I have gotten to the point where I don’t feel the need to have to explain myself to other people if they find out my point of view and disagree with it. What’s the point in defending your beliefs to someone who is not open-minded to hearing them anyway?
Instead of controversy, I’m seeking the collaboration of ideas with other people.
I seek truth, not simply believing I’m right.
Being a parent has peripherally taught me to focus more on how I can become a better person withthe help of other people; not how I can try to make other people better against their will or conviction.
It’s trained me to not let things bother me like they used to. I don’t know if this necessarily makes sense to other parents, but it’s definitely how I feel.
There’s stuff that, as great as she is, Mommy just isn’t designed to help me talk through and understand. And vice versa, I want her to hang out with her girlfriends, without you and me around, so she can get the encouragement she needs in a way that I’ll never be able to handle.
In the movie, Big Fish, the whole plot is rooted in the fact that a grown man with a child on the way, is attempting to find out who his own father really is.
His father (subconsciously) refused to meet his son on a deep, emotional level; instead the father seemed to only tell lavished versions of stories of his own life, so the son grew up never really even know who his dad was, in a way. The son therefore couldn’t really relate to his dad.
Yes, the father had always physcially provided for his son; no question there. But the father was, in essence, emotionally absent.
I vow to you: I’m going to be here for you emotionally, not just physically.
And I think a big part of that happening means that right now, I make a proclamation to you:
You can talk to me anytime, about anything.
It’s not enough that you know that. You need to be reminded… so I will do that too.
I realize I will not always be the first fellow guy you want to talk to about certain things, but please know you can talk to me, whether it’s to have someone to listen, or somone to give you season advice, or both.
I’m here. I’m not like the dad on the movie Big Fish.