Sunday, January 3, 2010

The old way is sometimes the better way.....

Bryan and I were riding in the car yesterday on the way to see Grandma Delores and the rest of Shirley's family. We got to talking about fishing (my favorite subject) and he said to me, "Dad I like fishing but only when I catch something." I quickly concurred with him that fishing is always a blast when the fish are biting. We had our visit with the family, came home, watched a movie together, and I tucked him into bed. I returned to the couch to relax and wait for Shirley to arrive home from work. I was sitting there, listening to music, and thinking about what Bryan had said to me. I concluded with the following. We have made everything way too easy for our children. There were many times when I went fishing with my Dad that we didn't catch a fish. We didn't have a fish locator to search the lake until we found a school of Crappies, or a trolling motor to quietly enter a back bay to sneak up on a giant Largemouth, or a GPS unit, to quickly return to the sunken island we had fished the year before. No, we fished the hard way and many times we came up empty. I decided to make a promise to myself in 2010. I'm going to try to be the best teacher I can be for Bryan in the new year. Not only at fishing but in life! When we had the last snowfall, Shirley and I were having a cup of coffee and watching out the living room window. Our neighbor Gary (he is retired) was about to start shoveling the driveway when his daughter (early 20's) took the shovel from him and started to remove the snow. Shirley jumped up from the couch, opened the door, and proceeded to tell Jenny what a nice thing she had just done. I said to Shirley, "When was the last time Melissa or Jeramie shoveled the driveway?" I don't think we could remember. We have made everything too easy for our children. We had an old floor in our house growing up in Hoffman Estates that would get marked up pretty bad from shoe marks etc. Every time we would have company coming over for a special occasion Mom would have the five of us clean the floor for her. The stuff we used probably would be included in the 2010 most dangerous chemicals list, but she didn't know any better. You had to wipe it on the floor with a clean rag, scrub out the marks, wait for it to dry, and then polish the floor with a buffer. Mom! I'm going on record here, "I'm glad you made us do it." I only wish I had that floor for Jeramie, Melissa and Bryan. We all have heard the stories from our parents, of how they used to walk miles to school in the cold of winter, or scrub the back porch stairs with a toothbrush. I think they did. That's why Mom and Dad didn't want us to have to go through some of the tough things they did. We try to make it easier for our children, and sometimes the final result is our own fault. So in this new year I'm going to make an effort to teach Bryan some of the important things in life. How many of our young adults today can cook, clean house, or mow the lawn? How many of your kids can read a map? Can they sew a button on a shirt? I'm glad that my parents took the time to teach me the "little things" that at 42 years of age don't seem to be so little. We live in the age of high tech, fast paced, and it's all about me. Remember waiting to use the phone? How about watching TV together as a family, instead of everyone watching their own TV in their own room? Having dinner together instead of everyone eating at different times? Our kids can Facebook and text message to each other all the details of the day, but can they sit and have a conversation? As parents I think we need to step back and remember how it was for us growing up. We need to take things back to a simpler time when parents made a real effort to make time for their kids. Not to take them somewhere and drop them off and pick them up, but to be with them. I think that is what my Dad was doing when he took us fishing, coached us in baseball, or had me help him on a project in the house. Mom did the same when she showed us how to cook or clean a bathroom. Take extra time in 2010 to do the little things with your children, and teach them a few extra things along the way that will last them a lifetime. You will be glad you did, and you will be preparing them to make them better parents. Last Sunday we went to Mom's, and my sisters and I took all the kids sledding together. We spent the afternoon, at the hill with the kids, and we all had a blast. Bryan said; "It was the best day ever." I think we can both agree on that!

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