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Cornelius News

109,500 Dad Hours, but who’s counting?

MODERN DAD | By Jon Show

June 7. This year marks my 13th Father’s Day as a dad, which means I’ve spent almost a third of my life being a father.

Malcolm Gladwell, in his book “Outliers,” examined the idea that a person needs 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at something. By my math I’ve been a dad for 109,500 hours and I don’t think I’m any better at it than I was when I started. I’m certainly not an expert.

I guess we’re all a work in progress.

On to the annual Father’s Day advice column for my kids, who might get around to reading one of these if they become parents someday.

Life’s Big 3

There are three attributes that your mother and I have tried endlessly to instill in you on a daily basis: Attitude, effort and kindness.

All are equally important and don’t require anything other than making the decision to have a good attitude, try hard and be kind.

Fear: Good points and bad

Fear is a good thing and a bad thing. Too much fear and you could miss out on some amazing things because you’re scared. Too little fear and you could miss out on some amazing things because you’re dead. Proceed accordingly.

I’m all ears

You’ll have physical shortcomings. Everyone does. The sooner you learn to get over them the happier you’ll be. I’m bald and my ears stick out. I honestly could not care less.

You’ll have personality shortcomings. Everyone does. Never stop trying to fix them but cut yourself some slack if you never get there. No one’s perfect.

No one on the planet – including your mother and I – will ever love you more than our dog loves you. Remember that the next time you walk in the house and ignore her.

Getting older – and wanting to be treated like an older kid – comes with responsibilities. You have to act like an older kid before we’ll treat you like one.

Don’t give up

There are three types of people when faced with adversity. The first one quits when things get hard. The second quits when it doesn’t seem possible to go on. The third person pushes through what wasn’t mentally or physically conceivable. Don’t be the first two types of people.

The green can is trash. The blue can is recycling. Unless you’re colorblind I don’t understand what could possibly be confusing about that.

2 feet. Ground. Go.

I know the last year has been tough on both of you. It’s been tough on us, too. When things become difficult I find it’s best to go to bed early, get a good night’s sleep, and when you wake up in the morning put two feet on the ground and go.

Heard that advice before? It’s because I put it in here every year. Two feet. Ground. Go. Every day.

If anyone ever tells you not to dye your hair, or that you can’t dye your hair, tell them your father said it was fine. No one, and I mean no one, gets to tell you how to look. Other than your mother in your teenage years and we’ll suffer through that together.

Brush your teeth. I don’t understand what could possibly be confusing about that.

Blonde Bomber, I taught you how to throw an absolute missile of a roundhouse for a reason. If anyone ever makes you feel physically threatened—use it.

Middle school is tough for everyone. You’re trying to fit in but stand out and get good grades but not be nerdy. I don’t have any advice here. Just want you to know that we know it’s tough.

Stay above the fray. Being in the fray gets you nowhere. It’s the realm of mediocrity.

Return the grocery cart

The grocery store parking lot isn’t just somewhere you park your car, it’s an ethics test. Put the grocery cart back in the cart return. Don’t park in spaces reserved for parents, veterans or the disabled. Pick up your trash when you drop it.

Be amazed

Be amazed by autumn sunsets and winter sunrises and cloud formations and hawk sightings. The sky is infinitely interesting if you just lay on the ground and watch it for a while.

I know I screw up as a parent, but when I do I always make sure I say I’m sorry. Please know that when I tell you I’m sorry I feel more genuine sorrow than anything I’ve ever apologized for.

Be grateful

Be grateful for what you have. I know that’s not always easy when you see others doing things and having things that you want. Chances are those people are not satisfied with what they have and there are plenty of people who dream of having what you have.

You don’t have to be an expert at something to enjoy doing it. As I’ve gotten older I’ve found that when I get really good at something I tend to lose interest in it. Maybe that explains why I like being your dad so much.

We’re all a work in progress.

Jon Show lives in Robbins Park with his wife, who he calls “The Mother of Dragons.” Their 10-year-old son is “Future Man” and their 7-year-old daughter is “The Blonde Bomber.” Their dog is actually named Lightning.