Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Growing

Merry starts kindergarten the first week of September and I envision the worst. Merry is a girl who reaches out to others and exposes herself. She puts it on the line allowing complete strangers access and I know that this innocence and trust is ammo for the rotten little kids of this world.

I expect that her vocabulary will be enriched with slurs and hurtful names. New levels of teasing and taunting will be experienced. How does a dad allow his precious princess to be exposed to these things? How can he not?

I do not like the lack of control associated with my daughter heading out into the real world.

I understand that it has to happen and that Meredith will be terrific. I just don't like it. It may be because it will be the first test of me as a parent. How will my child behave when confronted with all of the options presented her. Have I taught her the difference between right and wrong? Am I as important to her as little Tammy? I hope that she chooses good more than bad, and when she chooses bad I hope that it is not to bad.

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2 Comments:

Blogger The Father of Five said...

You start by feeling pride. Pride for what your daughter has become so far and pride for the job you and your wife have done thus far.

Keep in mind that your job teaching her is not done yet. It has hardly begun. You have taught her what she needs to know in the confines of your home, and the small world she has grown up in – You need to continue teaching her. Teach her the ways (and the way not’s) of the world as her place in it slowly expands.

As frightening as it can be, you can choose to embrace the wondrous excitement, and adventure she is about to undertake. She (and you) are not alone. Every child in her class will be undertaking this same journey.

Although some of the lessons are different, the basic concept of this journey is the same as the journey your wife, your sister (if you have one), your mother, and your grandmother have all taken. It is the journey of life!

Do not focus on the negative aspects. While it may be true that her vocabulary could be enriched with “slurs and hurtful names”, her vocabulary will also be enriched with marvelous new words (and worlds) from literature, science, history and prose. There will be bad choices, along with the good ones. We learn and grow from our bad choices (as you, your sister, wife, mother and grandmothers have, and how your daughter’s children will someday).

Your daughter’s “new vocabulary” may one day save one of my children’s lives as an EMT, lead to a cure to cancer, play a significant roll in world peace, or (even more importantly) lead to raising your grandchildren to be happy, healthy, and well adjusted people. (Sorry, I don’t mean to grow her up so fast…)

It’s hard to be a dad. It’s our nature to be protective of our little ones. Being a successful father also means allowing our children the space to thrive while we protect them. Sometimes it’s a hard act to balance – but having had four of my five go through the Kindergarten ordeal (my first daughter entered Kindergarten last year, and I have one more to go); I can assure you that you (and your daughter) will do fine!

Look in her eyes each day as she tells you about all the new things she has learned. The amazement, and joy in her eyes will make the worry melt away.

Good luck – and keep us posted. I’ll be watching!

David, the Father of Five.

6:44 PM EDT  
Blogger Steve said...

The world will treat her good, I promise. I say this launching my own off as well. She may learn a ton of things, good and bad, but you've given her another moral grounding to be a responsible adult.

(Being a irresponsible adult, I laughed my butt off when you wrote that she exposes herself to other. Seriously, I'm a sick puppy.)

7:09 PM EDT  

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