Fatherhood: Week 17: Traits To Pass On
My father has felt unfairly maligned by my blog in the last two weeks.
Two weeks ago, I wrote about how he gave my son Beckett a Kansas City Royals jersey. As a Detroit Tigers fan, I have mixed feelings about his thoughtful gift. Last week, I brought up (for the millionth time) that he and my mother went to Disneyland without my sister and me.
My dad has taken these somewhat public drubbings in stride (I doubt anyone outside my circle of friends reads this blog). In reflecting on the type of father I want to be, I realize I am perhaps unjustly critical of the man who raised me. In fairness to my pater familias, it might be time to reflect on some things he did that I want to pass on to Beckett.
Once a year, my dad took my sister and me to a few museums in Detroit's Cultural Center. We would go on scavenger hunts in the Detroit Institute Of Arts. We stood inside the room where Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye recorded many of their hits at the Motown Museum. I learned about the Underground Railroad at the African-American History Museum. These trips laid a foundation of knowledge and natural curiosity for me, and I can't wait to take Beckett to the Musical Instrument Museum here in Phoenix.
As a side note: I believe I am the only kid who can say his dad took him to see Oliver Stone's JFK and Malcolm X. If that isn't culture, I do not know what is.
When times were tough financially, my parents did everything they could to make ends meet. They would deliver newspapers early in the morning or work the night shift doing taxes at H&R Block. We were rarely spoiled. I cannot recall a moment being unemployed since the age of fourteen. I have come to realize that instilling me with this work ethic has helped me in my never-ending hustle for writing gigs. My son won't be putting the Sunday edition on anyone's doorstep anytime soon, but money earned is sweeter than money won.
I was awful at driver's education. My teacher refused to give me my learner's permit unless my dad promised to take me out to the middle of nowhere to make sure I had driving down. As I fumbled working the accelerator and the brake pedals, my dad did not raise his voice or lose his temper. He made sure I had it down because he knew it was important. I want that calm and patient disposition when raising my son.
My dad continues to be there, whether it is sharing my articles on his Facebook page or keeping me posted on the world of professional wrestling. It is sometimes easier to remember the bad things, but it is important to reflect on how great we have it.