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Balanced February 4, 2006

Posted by fajita in Uncategorized.

I asked my 7 year old daughter how I was doing as a father. She said, “dad, you’re balance. You are part crazy and part stern.”

Now, I am not sure if her response means I am bi-polar or if she is, but I did like the first part, the part about balanced.

This question I asked is the question that bounces around in every parent’s head. It should anyway. Well, not from a self-demeaning, insecure, spineless, wussy-boy point of view, but rather from a self-aware, confident, I-can-take-critique, I am always ready to improve point of view.

Not that I enter into that question from a healthy perspective all the time, but I want to. I want to be a good dad, and yet I know that I am. I am good and getting better (with some slowly shrinking blindspots). At the same time, I know that I must be constantly ready to change…change at the speed my kids are. And that is what makes parenting so hard.

There is a point in everyone’s life when it becomes easy to “arrive.” When we arrive we stop. When we stop we are no longer learning. No longer learning means the world leaves us behind. And when the world leaves us behind we become increasingly different by staying the same; increasingly irrelevant by holding on to outdated relevance.

As a parent I cannot afford the luxury arrival provides. I see this dynamic in the my relationship with my mother (are you reading, mom?). She does not have the luxury of settling into one fixed point with me. Darned blast if I don’t keep moving, changing, growing etc. But this is what I really like about my mother (still reading, mom?) she resists the seduction of arrival. Although she is black and white on so many things, because she loves me that much, she is willing not to shut the door on this or that. In short, she continues to grow.

I need my mother to do this for two reasons.

1. Our relationship remains dynamic and meaningful. Agreement is not our cause for relationship, it is love.

2. I am going to be in my mother’s place one day with my own children. How she deals with me matters significantly to how I will deal with my children. It’s not deterministic, but simply just the most familiar.

So far, I’m “balanced.” Well, we’ll see how balanced I am the first time I take away the car keys…but that’s 9 years away – just around the corner.



1. Bek - February 4, 2006

great question. i remember my mom asking that when i was a kid and i felt important that she cared enough to ask. and even more important when i told her something that bugged me and she changed.

2. DJG - February 5, 2006

It’s great she is confident enough to tell you that you are crazy without fearing your reaction….tells me she knows that you are not really crazy…

3. Joel Maners - February 6, 2006

I heard meone say that to be a good leade you should be 85% encourager, 10% challenger, and 5% corrector. I’ve found that if I get any of those percentages out of whack, people startto suffer.

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