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3.24.2011

Grampy's report card: C+ ...maybe a B.

I suppose since I spend so much time doling out Ward Cleaver advice and telling the kids what they need to do, I should shine the light a bit on myself. I know that in general we're on the right track and most of what we do here is successful but that doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement on my part, too.

First, I can over control a situation if I'm not careful. I used to be much more controlling with my own kids before the magic meds but even now, my expectations are high and that in itself requires control to keep them going. However, there have to be breaks, I have to let some things go, and I need to make sure expectations aren't too high. When I spot issues I've drawn an uncrossable line on I need to back back off. Seeing where I become intractable is the hard part. Once I do, though, I try to adapt.

I need to be more complimentary of achievement. I've never lived off the fumes of someone else's praise. I got satisfaction from succeeding at what I set out to do. That's not so for many people, kids especially. They need praise to keep going, to feel their on the right track, to succeed. It's true in business and in volunteer work, too. One of the hardest jobs I had working on committees was encouraging fellow members. If we were all volunteers trying to achieve a goal, what's the point of patting people on the back? They weren't praising me, either. But it meant a lot to them and when I was chairman, I had to make an effort to do that. It applies even more to kids, especially when they don't really know what the goal is they're reaching for. So... more praise, reward, and mark milestones.

Third, I'm becoming less patient with the boys. Not a lot, but enough that I need to watch it. Maybe I can't be blamed having this hectic world on my shoulders and trying to keep everything moving, but it doesn't help. I'm not quick to anger but I snap a bit more than I should, even when I'm not angry. Sometimes that gets results that patience and compromise don't. Kind of like a modern version of corporal punishment: you snap your voice instead of a belt and they jump, hoping it doesn't happens again. Of course, it needs to be sparing to have that effect or they become immune.

In some ways, I'm losing my ability to see things from their perspective the way I used to. I'm becoming entrenched in this role and it creates a harder line between what they see and I see in a situation. Tio insists he's in love with a girl (a different one every month, but still...) and I don't think he has a clue what love is. Maybe he doesn't. Maybe that doesn't matter. Can't say.

I'm sure I could create a list that runs all the way down to my not being good with fashion but these are the biggies that I'm facing. They weren't important with old Grampy because I was always patient, fun, and didn't expect much except good behavior during a visit. I need to haul that guy out of the closet more often, shake the dust off and take him out for a spin. It'll help to have him around when things get a bit too heavy and we all need a break.