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The Examples Parents Set

While the weather here in the Northeast might not be tipping you off, radio music and decorations and such might have given you the hint that we are fully engulfed in another Christmas season. As part of that, my wife and I are having our kids purchase gifts for other members of the family. So on a recent Christmas shopping trip my wife attempted to suss out what the kids might want to buy Daddy by asking them what Daddy likes.

They responded with "tea and football."
Why? Why do my kids think this about me?

Which is fair enough. I do drink tea pretty much every day and it is football season. But my interests are broad and varied. Broader and more varied than most, in my experience.

At first I laughed it off. Kids, amirite? You can go crazy reading the tea leaves behind a four-year old's thinking and logic.

But its been a week now and there the comment sits, crouched at the edge of my subconsciousness like some sort of demented Nightmare-Before-Christmas version of Elf on the Shelf. And its throwing sharp little pebbles at my actual consciousness.

Football and tea.

Is that really all my kids can come up with about me? Shouldn't they have a broader understanding of their Dad? Or is it me? Maybe I'm not setting a broad-enough example? What about my other interests? I do like other things. Like, um, reading, chess, a recent love of watches, long walks and ... Wait, this is starting to sound like a dating profile. Maybe if I provided more examples of what I liked my kids would branch out more themselves? Fortunately, or unfortunately, I'm not a big fan of pushing my interests onto my kids; what I call Live Like Daddy Syndrome.

If you'll let me whine for just a moment, its really hard to have interests - at least interests your kids can see - when you have triplets. A lot of my efforts and interests are hung up in time and triplet management. Those kids are my interests. Ok, /rant.

But take a look at that list: Chess. That is a bit much for a four-year old. Reading. Pretty much every word I read is at work, after they go to bed, or on a cereal box. Watches. Nothing more exciting to four-year olds than clothing and accessories. I'm that weird person who actually enjoys working out, but good luck trying to work out around four-year olds.

What do I do, because I'm not sure what I expect. I guess I'll try to direct my kids' play a little more than I do now. But what do I want the end result to be here? I'm not sure I have an answer for you. If you have an answer for me, pound away on the keys in the comments section.

In the end, I guess if my kids were going to have such a short lists of things that interest me, I would prefer them have answered: our family!


  1. I think as we get older, we tend to focus in on a few things...mostly because we just don't have TIME to do everything else. You think of me and what do you think? Books and tea, I'm guessing. Maybe writing and horses. But let's be honest, the only thing the kids would know about me is tea (and maybe that I know the names of the ponies from My Little Pony...).

    But I think you hit on the major point: parents have interests that happen when the kids aren't around (at least until their older). It ties into the joke about the father getting a tie every Christmas. Why? Because when we're under the age of 12, do we KNOW what our parents do for fun?

    Rather than then seeing what you enjoy, necessarily, as long as you're exposing them to things (games, sports, etc, etc) and seeing you relax with some fun time stuff when they are, I don't think it's a big issue--

    Although on that note, I do have to say, if you're reading a book on your tablet, your kids may not associate that with "reading a book" if they normally play games or watch videos on their tablets. So that's one way a cue may be taken away from them. A way to solve this, and maybe your larger problem, would be to discuss what you did today. The kids aren't likely going to care much, but if you follow up the question of "What did you do today, L?" with "Wow. Last night I read an exciting story in a book!" (Or some such. I say as I sit here, reading, writing and drinking tea...)

    (And apologies for being...5 weeks late.)


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