Saturday, July 2, 2011

On Being a Dad and a Teacher - Part 5

When my children were little it was amazing how much my daughter gravitated towards me, being in many regards a real 'Daddy's Girl', while my son did similar with my wife. This lasted till well into their school years. However, due a number of factors, not least being them maturing, their attitudes changed. My son & I spent more quality time together through hos sports & general 'hanging  out' while my daughter developed interests that didn't involve me as much. We still have our moments of simpatico, discussing particular movies or tv shows we share a passion for. A she approached & entered her teenage years, those moments became less frequent. I have taken this 'rejection' very hard at times, but as my wife and other keep reminding me - "harden up & don't take it personally." The teacher in me knows this is a natural path for parents & children (fathers & daughters especially) to tread through life's journey, but the dad in me can't help but feel left out.

My son will probably go through the same stage & it may affect me in a similar fashion. Part of me thinks it will be tougher as I realise the last of my babies doesn't want to be around me as much. Sadly though, I think the hurt will be less for a  umber of reasons. I will hopefully have toughened up due to my experience with my daughter, emotions tend to be more heightened in relation to the first child & the 'Daddy's Girl' factor. This by no means I love my son any less, but my reactions to events in his life are probably less vivid then with my daughter.

What this has to do with my teaching is that, as with my approach to teaching, I need to be flexible & be prepared to change the way I approach certain contexts. I am fully aware of this as a teacher & embrace it in order to be the best influence I can be on the children in my care. Why then is it so hard to take the same approach with fatherhood? Sure these two children are the most important I will ever have in my care so I should be ensuring I can adapt as the landscape changes. Otherwise I will be doing myself, my wife, & particularly my children a great injustice.

Time to bite the bullet & man up so to speak. I couldn't live with myself if while striving to be the best teacher I can be, I wasn't doing the same as a parent. Hopefully my Teacher self can influence my Dad self effectively in this. Afterall, there's high stakes involved.

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