Dad's First Lecture
Can we all agree that raising a child doesn't come with an instruction manual? Ok, I know that there are instruction guides out there written by professional child psychologists, or whatever, but really folks! Do those instruction guides really help with your specific child? Of course not! If we're really being honest here, most of the time we kind of "wing it."
One of the things I remember that amazed me about my dad is his ability to give a long, drawn out lecture. My dad could go on talking for hours. That statement is not an exaggeration! My brothers and sisters and I timed him on more than one occasion. If I remember correctly, my dad's personal best was a staggering two hour discourse. Can anyone reading this blog even fathom just how log two hours is, especially to a ten year old?
Fast forward about sixteen years and I found myself a father of a two-year-old little girl who didn't want to go to bed and stay there. I could see by the look on my wife's face that she was at the end of her reservoir of patience for a toddler. So I decided right then and there to rescue my wife from all of her toddler-rearing woes. I would be her hero! I had been preparing for this moment my entire life! I would go and retrieve my two year old and give her...my first lecture.
I squared my shoulders, took a deep breath, marched into my toddler's room, scooped her up into my strong arms, brought her into the kitchen, stood her before me, and began my first lecture. The topic of that night's discourse? The importance of a two year old obediently going to bed at the appropriate time previously chosen by her parents. In response, Lyndsie stood in front of me as I squatted down to make ensure I was at her level so as to look at her directly in the eye. I began my lecture by sternly stating my daughter's first name.
"Now Lyndsie, it's time for you to go to bed. I'm going to take you back into your room and put you into your bed. I want you to stay in your bed. It's really important that..."
Before I knew what was happening Lyndsie smiled at me, reached out her little hand, curled her fingers, tweaked my nose and made her first sound affect. "BEEP" she sang out proudly.
May I remind the reader that I had prepared my entire life for this moment? Instead of my profound words making a lasting impression on my toddler, I found my first lecture going down in flames. Instead of continuing my discourse, I gently picked up my little girl and carried her into my bedroom where my wife was laying down. As I entered the room with my happy toddler my wife laughed through her question, "So, how did your lecture go?"
I had nothing more to say. I carried my toddler, and what was left of my dignity, into her princess-themed bedroom. Instead of another prepared lecture, I made the executive decision to climb into my two-year-old's bed, have her climb up next to me, and read her favorite Barenstain Bears book to her. In no time at all, my little angel was asleep.
Another important decision was made that night. I decided that my attempt at lecturing my own child had about the same effect on my daughter as my dad's lectures had on me; although well-intentioned, a colossal waste of time.