a reply to: Sinter Klaas
My father was around, but the only thing he taught me was how not to be a man. He took me along to watch him play cricket when I was a child, and I
caught the bug. I practiced alone in my room after school, in front of the mirror, trying to get my bowling action right.
The other fellows on his team taught me more about refining my abilities than my father ever did, and when, at the age of about fifteen, I debuted as
a bowler for the team and beat his best bowling average by getting three wickets, for no runs, off two overs of bowling, he was angry. I do not mean
aggrieved in a tongue in cheek, quietly proud kind of way, I mean the not talking to his son for a month kind of angry.
He also knew how to read music, and played the trumpet, not to mention being involved in a church choir, and having previously been given the hefty
job of performing several solo choral numbers during Christmas related church events.
However, despite the fact that he knew I loved music (been a metal head since I was in the womb... I'm not kidding), he never once offered to teach
me how to read music, nor did he agree to do so when asked. He was the mathematician amongst our family also, and as well as failing to pass that on,
or even try to do so, he would leave all our families figure work to my mother, who ran ragged trying to keep us afloat and keep the bills up to date.
So here is the thing...
First of all, share what you know. If your child shows an interest in the things you do, your hobbies or abilities, then pass them on. Obviously,
depending on what they are, there might be certain ages that would be better than others to receive certain instruction, but that is down to common
sense more than anything else, and you probably require no help in that regard
Second, and this is crucial, when your child excels in something, or does something that you like to do, only better, be happy about it. Be a human
being, is what I am really saying.
Your job as a parent, is to protect, to offer nourishment to both mind, and the digestive body, and to assist the development of, your child. The
best way to make sure those things happen, is if you love the child. By that I do not mean, saying that you do (although that is helpful for a child
to hear every now and again), but act like it. Make your every available moment, theirs if they should want it of you. Spend time with your child, and
teach them the wisdoms you have gained over the course of your life.
Parenthood, done right, is the only job which it is possible to continue to do, after one has died. Your example to your offspring, of how to live,
how to nurture, how to protect and nourish, and indeed the practical elements of living, will be an example to them even after you die, and therefore
it is one of, if not the biggest responsibility that one can undertake.
I know this, because my mother managed to do the parenting for both my idiot father, and for herself. Thankfully, she is some kind of parenting
machine, and the ill effects of my lack of a father figure are somewhat less than they might have been. However, that is not to say that there has not
been a cost to me from not having a father figure worth a crap. I always say that my father taught me how not to be a man. My mother taught me how to
be a human being.
Therefore, the advice I can give boils down to, be there, and be a human being.