This entry was published in the Kings County Record and at first I wasn't going to post it here. It keeps speaking to me though and I keep hearing the message in my head. I'm sure there are other dad's out there who struggle similarly with the differences in personalities between themselves and their kids. For me it is important to remember that as long as my kids are happy and that I continue to encourage them to explore nature and themselves, then I should be doing an okay job as their Dad.
As a father I have struggled to find ways to bond with my kids. They are different than I am and have different interests and I don't always understand them. I have realized that it is better for them, and me, if I simply let them explore their own interests rather than try to push them towards mine. I am also realizing that they have to explore their interests at their own pace. I have really struggled with this last point and at times and it has resulted in struggles.
Sport is not always the best avenue for me and my kids to bond on. I am a competitive individual who always tries hard when playing. I always was eager to try a new game and find it unthinkable that my kids don't. Recently we were invited to play lacrosse with some friends. I had never played lacrosse before and so I thought maybe I could learn with my kids. While I couldn't wait to play, I found myself surprised by my kids' unwillingness to even try. After the game was over, my son did pick up a stick and throw the ball around with me, he was actually a bit of a natural with it.
The lacrosse experience led me to realize that even if someone has natural athletic talents, they might not desire to use it. This leads to another question, what makes some people competitive and others not? For this I have not yet found an answer, but in my son's case, it might have something to do with being over competitive. He seems to be afraid of failing or not being able to compete, so instead, he chooses not to play. With this in mind I wondered "How many great athletes simply chose not to play?"
With team sports not on their radar, I am getting familiar with new activities. For instance, I now consider guitar players amongst the toughest people I know. How they stretch their fingers across the frets and press on a single string without wincing is amazing. My son has been teaching me how to play guitar and my poor fingers are as sore as my legs used to be during two a day hockey practices. I'm hoping that my fingers will become conditioned and that my son continues to enjoy playing the guitar with me. One thing is certain, he won't have to worry about me competing with him on the guitar, because I would be scared to lose.
If you are like me though and enjoy team sports. If you get a chance, try lacrosse. It is a challenging sport that combines many athletic skill sets. I have some of the skills but will need to work on some others. Unfortunately my age is something I will have to learn to compensate for when I try lacrosse again. I hope to try again, and there are some others who are much better than I, looking to create a local youth team. For now I'm hoping they will let me play pick up with them from time to time.