» » I get mail (from all around the world) saying things like » "I originally found your site while searching for advice on [ some technical thing ] but return periodically to check out your latest post about parenting."
I even get postcards from around the planet addressed to "Rad & the Bug" .. most recently one from South Africa (.. that sports a spectacular, other-worldly shot of Drakensberg).
Those fatherhood entries can be written from the mountain top or from the pit of despair. But if others are able to find in them something edifying, then maybe they're worthwhile.
I was really missing the Bug this Easter weekend. Not sure why. Perhaps cuz of the holiday, tho I suspect that wasnt the real reason.
Because our time together is so short since school began, I've begun teaching him little snippets of "Dad Advice".
I'm talking about things that are too important to just think up. Far too important. Rather I wait for ideas to bubble up from within. Fatherly inspiration that comes from deep in my heart.
The 1st, for example (.. as I've previously mentioned) was based on the advice Shakespeare put into the mouth of Polonius [ in Hamlet ]:
"To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou can not then be false to any man."
Be true to yourself. Be honest with yourself. Brutally honest. Know thyself. Great advice for anybody, not just kids. Advice that has echoed down thru the centuries.
[ Of course, it's much easier to be brutally honest with OTHERS .. than with ourselves. A lot more fun, too. To the point that some people seem to make a career out of it. ]
Honor yourself by being TRUE to yourself .. without which you cannot honor others (.. with your TRUE self). And it must follow (.. as the night the day).
Tho I put it this way, so a 1st grader could understand it:
THINK for yourself.
And yes, he gets it. After I could see he had a handle on that one, a few weeks later came (#2):
"You can do anything you put your mind to."
This one I actually got from an old girlfriend, who told me how her dad continually reinforced this message from the time she was just a little girl.
And yes it was clear that she did indeed believe it to be true .. seeing there was nothing she wouldnt "put her mind to" (.. including me). Obviously, that made quite an impression.
Then, last week I told him (#3) »
"Dont compare yourself with anybody .. except who you can become, given your God-given talents and abilities. Everybody has special gifts & talents. So you want to learn what yours are and put them to good use."
I remember my grandfather (mom's dad) telling me a version of this one when I was just a little thing, while we were driving around town .. and it helped me throughout my life.
It's very easy for kids, given the sports they play and academics in school, to compare themselves with others. I still remember gramps telling me:
"There are always gonna be kids who are SMARTER than you and those who arent as smart. There are always gonna be kids who are FASTER than you and those who arent as fast.
No matter how smart or how fast you get. All you can do is YOUR BEST. And if you do that, you'll always be a winner."
Next up .. "This is something you should KNOW," I told him, "rather than something you should DO."
"I love EVERYTHING about you!" I told him. "You should know 'My dad loves EVERYTHING about me'."
The message here is one of UNCONDITIONAL LOVE » "You cant do anything to make me love you any more .. cuz I already love EVERYTHING about you."
In other words » "You're valuable & special because of WHO YOU ARE .. rather than WHAT YOU DO." (We're talking about a first grader.)
Today's entry continues in Ye Olde Rad Blog v4 .. see here » Fatherly Advice with a Focus on Unconditional Love