LISTEN

FEATURED VIDEO

Goals

Dads are kind of dumb sometimes, right? Just look at decades of television with bumbling Homer Simpsons and selfish Tim the Toolman Taylors. They usually figure out their faults at some point and "learn a lesson," (do they?) fixing everything before the half-hour is up. Though I am a huge Home Improvement fan, and also enjoy The Simpsons, I decided years ago that such portrayal in media was bad for dads as a whole. It kind of gives us an "out" on responsibility. "Yeah, we're all dumb, so we'll just make our paychecks and hide in the garage until...well, until it's all over I guess." Dads are much more than we are usually shown, but stereotypes are there for a reason, and sometimes even the best dad has a foolish, selfish moment.

I had one of those moments recently, so I thought I'd share the tale, because it's a pitfall I see a lot of dads fall into.

First iteration of our track.

We recently bought some blinds that came wrapped in these cardboard angles that are just perfect race car tracks. Sometimes when you're a parent, you get really tired of playing Paw Patrol or Barbies or whatever your kid likes, so when something like this comes along that you get to build or contribute to creatively, it's a welcome endeavor. The problem is, our adult male brains that have been trained to accomplish as much as we can with the eighty-something years we're given takes over, and so our little race car track becomes more like a scale model of the Indie 500.

At this point the child you're supposed to be playing with becomes somewhat of an obstacle to success, and maybe even an annoyance. Of course this is when children may stop having fun, which is mostly what the whole project was for in the first place, with an often oblivious dad still working. Sure enough, this is where I landed as I found myself trying to get the long tracks to push the cars across the whole house, rather than, you know...just playing cars with Waverly. Eventually, I realized she wasn't having fun anymore, and I had forgotten our initial purpose.

It got bigger.

Back on track (get it?), I rescinded control and let myself play. But this is when pitfall number two came in: camera phones (the irony is not lost on me that I'm using photos and videos from the day to make this point). The urge to record anything and everything cool that happens in our life is ever-present and all-consuming. It is so easy to share our lives with the world -- some of the world (grandparents, mostly) might even want to see it -- and so every moment that is amusing or amazing or awe-inspiring simply must be documented and shared, as soon as possible (everyone knows "#latergrams" are lame), and then followed up on to see how many people liked it.


Again, I found myself distancing myself from my child unknowingly, and so I had to show a little discipline and put the phone down. And you know what? Without the pressure of completing some task that wasn't important in the first place, and also without the need to document it, we had a pretty good time. We enjoyed some race car runs, adjusted the track and eventually, one of the cars actually hit our (my) original goal. Totally undocumented, it lives in my and Waverly's memory, safely locked away where only we and God can enjoy it...unless she forgot it already, in which case she'll need to discover this blog in a few years (after learning to read), which is when she will promptly think to herself, My dad probably thinks too much.