I’m sure I’m not the only parent who worries about teaching my kids what’s right and what’s wrong. I’ve spent countless hours concerned about what to teach them and the best way to teach it. For a modern parent, there are countless clubs and activities to sign your kid up for. We want a child who can play a sport or two, dance, sing, play chess and maybe attend yoga all while keeping up with homework and life.
How do we give our children the best chance and foundations? I thought back to my childhood and suddenly found some perspective.
You see I know very little about cars. It’s odd not only because of the stereotype about my gender, but because my Dad was a mechanic. I remember being five or six and watching his race crew (on a car nicknamed Pam’s Pram) so all the elements were there for me to be a revhead. Except I’m not.
I remember being vaguely interested around the age of seven. I remember Dad showing me everything I asked to see and answering every question. Not to mention Dad telling me I could learn as much about cars as I wanted but he’d prefer I didn’t grow up to be a mechanic.
He told me: “There’s no money in it, it’s back-breaking and often thankless. You can do better.” I can’t say whether that shaped my disinterest though I’m pretty sure it was there beforehand. But this was my taciturn father looking out for me.
Then I remembered what he actually taught me, not through clubs and activities, but by example. He gave me my love for books, my sense of fairness and injustice, my critical thought and objectivity, an insatiable curiosity and taught me what compassion means. He taught me all of the important things.
Thank you, Dad. You are the best father a guy could have. I hope I’m half the man you are.