I am romantic. I am luchadore. I am dad.
What does it means to be a dad? I mean uniquely a dad, as opposed to being a parent. In today’s modern society, moms and dads generally share parenting tasks equitably; but what makes dad distinct?
For me it comes down to two words:
wrestling and romance.
My wife is an amazing and talented woman, but when it comes to wrestling our 3 boys, I’m the man. She once tentatively engaged in a light-sabre battle with our oldest son. She picked up the plastic sword, smirked, and said: “I’m ready.” Our son didn’t waste any time: he began with a quick swipe at her legs, which lowered her guard. Seizing the opportunity, he went high and hit her head before she could react. Let’s just say there are no more mother-son sword fights.
In our house, wrestling is a “dad thing”. I take my position as the family Luchador very, very seriously. After one-too-many wrestling sessions ended with holes in the drywall, we constructed the “octagon” in our basement. Every battle is a 3-against-1 cage match. And it doesn’t end until someone gets hurt (usually me).
Thankfully, the research shows that wrestling with dad is good for kids. This means that when I’m pinned to the ground, with one kid sitting on my head, I’m actually contributing positively to their development.
In addition to 3 boys, we have a beautiful daughter. She also happens to be our oldest. And while she will occasionally engage in a little rough housing, she prefers a completely different approach from me: romance.
Our daughter is 9, and actually likes the idea of going on a date with her old man. Even better: her idea of romantic outing is shopping at Wal-Mart, followed by dinner at McDonalds.
It doesn’t really matter where we go; the key is to treat her like a princess.
Essentially, as her dad, I can show her how a gentleman would treat her. When we go shopping together, we hold hands. She might pull a hat of the rack and model it to me. At the restaurant we get a nice seat by the window, sit across from each other, and I just listen.
I’m hoping that our dates can continue until she starts dating other boys (preferably when she turns 35). By that time, I’m hoping she’ll have a high standard for who she lets hold her hand.
The key to good fathering
I have two vivid memories from my childhood: wrestling with my dad on the living room floor, and having my mom come and pick me up at school to take me out for lunch. One was rough and tumble, the other was more relational (romantic, if you will).
I think this is the key to good fathering:
creating lasting memories with your kids.
During the day, Justin Jackson is a Product Manager for Industry Mailout, but his real job starts when gets home. He and his wife Lorinda have 4 children, aged 9, 6, 4, and 2.
NextGen Speaks Out, our guest blogging series, is envisioned as a hub for information and discussion. NextGen is a non-political, non-denominational organization focused on giving all nextgeners a voice. NextGen does not represent the opinions expressed by the individual columnists.