I am now seven months into this grandpa gig. For those who missed the announcement, we will be having a second grand baby in April.
Different daughters, don’t freak out.
As I mentioned in round one, I have officially crossed that imaginary line where I now get to tell everyone how smart I am. Since I figured out that by the time you’re a good parent, you’re probably a grand parent, I have been waiting for this season in my life.
My kids will undoubtedly be available for stories of my ridiculous life decisions, if anyone needs them. But I am finally at the point where I get to watch my kids make their own decisions and see how well they handle them.
I am essentially getting a front row seat to see what influence I have had and whether they got the good stuff from me or the knucklehead part.
It’s about 50/50 so far.
Just like I think my folks have the grandparent thing nailed down better than the actual parenting, I am probably going down that road myself. Older and wiser is a real thing. We have been around long enough to do a lot of really, really, really stupid crap. Some of us even learned from it.
So, we come to the advice from grandpa part. Technically I am now called”Pop,” as my daughter has tagged me. This is the part where I generously grace you with brilliance. Don’t get too excited. That’s the first lesson.
Anyone who has read this far has done it for, most likely, one of two reasons. Either my early onset senility has engaged you to the point that you simply must continue, or you expect me to go a certain direction. If either disappoints you, that’s when you click away.
Living life with unrealistic expectations is a recipe for disaster. Not hopes and dreams, expectations. When your mind gets worked up about what you think should happen. It leads to disappointment, and maybe depression. Learn to enjoy the ride as much as possible. You can’t steer a parked car, so sometimes you just need to be in motion so you can change direction when needed.
Nobody plans to be a waitress or janitor. It’s a job we take to survive. (yes, we have done both.) We have to pay bills. Don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t where you hoped to be at this point in life. Either decide that waiting tables or cleaning up is something you want to do, or keep watching for opportunities to take your next step.
Live your life. If it sucks, change something.
In regard to the expectation thing, there’s another way we get worked up. Anticipation. You have to know the difference. If I came home from work and my kid is upset because I don’t have ice cream, the kid is suffering from some self-induced expectation trauma. Not my problem.
However, if I told my kid I was bringing ice cream, that kid should already have a bowl out when I get home. If I don’t have that frozen cow juice, then the kid is justified when he runs around the house in full tantrum mode. He got robbed. I screwed up.
Know the difference. Plan accordingly. Don’t screw up.
Taking stupid advice.
You guys don’t know me. You only know me from all this crap I write and the stories I tell. Assuming I am a moderately honest person, you might even take some of this random advice and plan a better future. If it’s all true, you can gauge the advice by the results in my own life.
One thing I have tried to do is teach my kids to think for themselves. I am not raising sheep or drones. My kids can ask, challenge, argue and even defy me. They aren’t free from hearing the truth, or suffering the consequences of whatever foolishness they got into, but we expect them to be able to make logical decisions and question things that don’t seem right.
Personally, I don’t take fitness advice from anyone fatter than me. I don’t take financial advice from anyone less successful than me. I don’t take advice from anyone with less experiential wisdom on any subject than I have. My kids understand this concept.
Hence my ongoing issue with bloggers with four years of marriage or parenting experience giving out advice. Just wait. You ain’t seen nothing yet.
When a teenagers have problems, they tend to ask advice from other teenagers. This, as I explained repeatedly, is about the stupidest thing imaginable. Why would you ask someone with no more life experience than you tell you how to handle something they don’t know anything about?
Iron sharpens iron only when one of them has been shaped and tempered. Two identical pieces of metal rubbing together just turn into a mess. They will try to weld themselves together from the friction. Think about that.
These kids at critical ages, like from 5 seconds old to 50 years old, desperately need that tempered and shaped wisdom to help them make good decisions.
If we listen to the little, insignificant stuff, then they will be willing to bring us the big stuff. If you can’t give your kid your undivided attention for one minute of pointless stories when they are two, they probably won’t care for your opinion about joining a cult or getting a full body tattoo at seventeen.
That’s enough for round two. Raise smarter kids. Teach them to think. Show them that they matter to you.
If you need more advice, get the book. Becoming a Better Man.
M. Erik Matlock is a self-professed recovering knucklehead with more than 500 articles and four books in print. He shares his hard-earned wisdom at ErikMatlock.com, ProSoundWeb.com and through his books, which are available at Amazon.