Note: I meant to post this on my blog on Father’s Day, but I was sick over the weekend and nothing got done. It was published in the Barrow Journal on June 15, 2016, before father’s day.
Father’s Day is this weekend, and I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that my kids have a great father. No one else on earth wants my boys to succeed in their heart’s desire more than their father. This is why he spends countless hours researching whatever it is my boys express an interest in so that he can make sure they are doing it right.
He doesn’t think any age is too young to do something right. In fact, he would argue, it’s crucial to start young. When they become adults and enter the workforce, they will be competing against peers who have apprenticed, volunteered or had wealthy parents enough to send them to all the best schools. We don’t have that kind of money, but we can start them early on the right path.
As a college professor, he’s in a unique position to see that homeschooling is beneficial to kids. He uses his knowledge as an advisor when thinking about how he wants to support his own kids. I’m lucky I have his support because I know not all couples agree on whether or not to homeschool. Sometimes he and I will squabble over how to homeschool, but we rarely question the decision to homeschool in the first place.
A few years ago, my husband had a chance to work from home full-time, and he took it. For a while, we weren’t sure how this would work out, but he doesn’t regret it and neither do I. Even though he has to spend the greater part of the day in his upstairs office, he can come greet his boys in the morning and also eat lunch with us….We always watch a documentary on Netflix or PBS at lunch. (You would be surprised at how much conversation and interaction can happen between family members while watching T.V.)
My husband can also take the time to be my son’s audience while he practices piano for an hour after lunch and dinner. My son loves playing the piano. He also loves learning about composers and listening to classical music performances on YouTube. I’ve been reading an introduction to the great composers with him, but my husband is the one who helps my son look up performances online and reads about them further on the Internet and Greene’s Biographical Encyclopedia of Composers.
My husband always wants to give the boys anything they want, and sometimes I have to slap my head at this. Whether we run out of a snack food or entrée they like, he runs to the store often to keep the house overstocked on everything everybody likes to eat. He does almost all the grocery shopping.
When we visit a museum, he usually lets the boys pick out a little something from the gift shop, and if one of the boys goes shopping with daddy, they usually get to pick out something special on the trip as well.
My six-year-old has had a special interest in birds for the last year or more, and my husband has promised him that someday we’ll buy him a real bird as a pet. The only thing keeping him from running to the pet store right now is that my cat is still alive.
My nine-year-old is also interested in robotics, so my husband found the best robots on the market for him to learn from and play with, and this year he also guided my nine-year-old in building a computer from scratch. His thinking is that if our son is going to work a lot on computers, he wants him to understand the hardware as well as the software. Someday he plans to help our younger son build a computer too.
Every day my husband talks to his kids and interacts with them, which I think is wonderful, as I didn’t grow up with a father that was as available as that. Some days he might inquire about their progress on their favorite digital games, getting just as excited as the boys about Hungry Shark World. He laughs with them over Calvin and Hobbes comics. Other days he might go outside and push the boys on the swings, and he’s been making up dinosaur stories to tell to my youngest son at night for several years now too.
There are many different ways to be a good father, and I know there are many great fathers out there. I’m lucky to be married to one of them. Happy Father’s Day to all you awesome dads.