We as men simply do what we want to do. I don’t necessarily mean in a dominating type of way, but more in a line-in-the-sand sort of way. Outside of things directly involving the affection of a woman (e.g. prom, wedding, sometimes in-law trips), if we don’t want to go, we don’t go. I think our kids recognize this trait in us guys early on.
So what do our children think when we do not attend their events, whether sporting, choir, debates, etc.?
My mom would say and do things for me just to well, be a good mom. Naturally, while I’ve always appreciated her words of encouragement, they have never carried the weight of my father’s words.
Why? Because I know he didn’t say it just to be “nice”. Or even if I suspect he did, it’s usually followed up with statements confirming or denying my suspicion.
While I stressed the word ‘every’ in the title above, that was just to encourage us to make that the goal. Please make it a rule in the early years, that dad well be at those events if he can. Now the job may hinder you, but quite honestly, that should be about the only circumstance IF IT MUST. Your kids will know that, by default, you are there in those special moments.
Looking back, I remember some pretty embarrassing moments trying to make an effort to watch my kids do their thing. When my oldest, who did not live with me, played high school football, I often had to pack up the other four kids (two of which were in the dreaded double-stroller) and pack for the dropping temperatures, change of clothes and my camera bag! However, the most embarrassing time was when I had to call his school, because I had no idea how much it cost to attend the high school game at that stadium (really, these places are worst than the NFL). We were extremely low on cash and some of the schools charged me for the kids, and some had varying prices. At that time, I was only getting paid once per month, so I didn’t want to embarrass the family at the gate by not having enough money at the posh suburban school.
Would you believe they never even called me back?
I look back at those years and while I don’t miss some aspects of them (really, why do you have to spend ALL day at a track meet? Do all of the events in one spurt instead of the final heats last will you!), I hope I set somewhat of a standard that he can carry on with my grandson.
If your kids are adults and/or driving themselves to the games, be sure that you’ve set a considerable cache of your attendance. Most sporting events are meaningless in the grand scheme of life, so if it’s some other kind of event, do your best to get that day off and be there.
While the event may live only in Facebook Flashbacks or on some memory card somewhere, dad’s presence, encouragement and congratulations will stand the test of time.
I hardly remember anything about my high school graduation nearly three decades ago.
But I do remember my dad yelling, “That’s my son!” when my name was called and I was walking across the stage.
I have no idea where that videotape is at to relive the moment though…