I had a friend tell me recently about a book that he had read called "Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters," by Meg Meeker, M.D. He found it interesting, so I picked up a copy from the library and dug in.While I'm actually not a fan of a lot of things Dr. Meeker has to say, it occurred to me as I started getting into it, that this was the first book I've read in a long time that related to parenting...and that was a bad thing.
When our first kiddo was in the womb, we read a bunch of books about babies (including "Becoming Baby Wise," by Ezzo and Bucknam), which set us up to think about some things in advance of becoming new parents; how we wanted the birth to go, the circumcision decision, breastfeeding, formula...the first year. We also read "Parenting With Fire," by Schmuley Boteach, which gave us some food for thought beyond the first year, that we probably weren't ready for at the time, yet I remember as positive.
Since that point, I've only dug through a few more books, all related to the event where one of our children got diagnosed formally with ADHD. That was 5 years ago.
All of the books, articles, videos, conversations, etc. that I've consumed or engaged in over the years aren't things that I've taken and applied directly 1:1. Instead, the information has largely just become a part of my awareness, which helps shape my own thoughts and feelings, and allows me to react during "parenting moments."
But I'm not on top of it, and I should be! Without educating myself with information from the so-called experts, the only thing I have to pull from is my own experience. My parental examples are very few, narrow, and sort of a black box.
Have your parents ever sat down and explained why they did everything they did? Mine haven't. I'm not sure I even want to do that...it would take years. Even if they tried, we'd probably end up arguing, because my recollection of events during my childhood are often so different than my parents...I digress.
Point is, I'm going to encounter something new with our kids every day, so shouldn't I be studying for those pop quiz-moments? Shouldn't I be trying to form my opinions about what my kids will encounter and experience, and how I hope we both handle it all together?
It will take me a lifetime to earn my Master's in Dad, and I'll probably get a few F's, but given this is the most important thing I have signed up to do in life, shouldn't I be studying...all the time? YES. Get to work, dude!