25 Things Fathers Should Teach Their Sons
A friend of mine just posted a link to this interesting article in the Huffington Post. It made me think and so I jotted down a few words. In this post, I will list each of the 25 items from the article with my thoughts about each item. It’s good to think about and makes me wonder how I am doing with my boys!
1. Winning is fun, but it teaches you nothing. Failure is the best teacher in the world. Winning is a trophy, failing is an education.
DPO – True winning isn’t everything and failure is a great teacher, but winning isn’t useless. There are lessons learned when you win and some lessons can only be learned by winning…like doing it gracefully and discovering that winning usually comes from hard work, luck or a combination of both. It generally doesn’t happen just because you are you.
2. The key to surviving failure is to not take it personally. This is why video games make great educational tools. Mario doesn’t rage at the world when he fails to jump over a pit. He just starts back at the beginning and tries again until he figures out how to rescue that princess.
DPO – I agree that the key is to not take failure personally. But I don’t think video games are the best place to learn that. In truth, there is very little that can be learned from a video game that can’t be learned better, deeper, faster and more effectively outside in the woods with your friends.
3. Ketchup is for French fries and hamburgers. Never hot dogs. That’s why the universe invented mustard.
DPO – Ok…I’ve failed on this one. My kids put ketchup on chicken…yuck!
4. Lying to protect someone’s feelings isn’t lying. It’s called empathy.
DPO – Lying to protect someone’s feelings is still lying. The best empathy is shown without deception. Lying to protect someone generally sets them up for a greater fall when they find out the truth from someone who doesn’t love them as much as you do.
5. All the best stuff happens in the dark. Fireworks, movies, trick-or-treating, roasting marshmallows, Space Mountain. Try to remember that when you hear a noise in your closet at night.
DPO – Some really good things happen in the dark, this is true. But so do a lot of bad things. But those things never come from the closet. And light is better than dark but there is no way to know that without spending some time in the dark, so you might as well do fun things in the dark.
6. Grown-ups don’t know everything. Most of us are just trying our hardest and faking it as best we can.
DPO – Grown-ups don’t know everything. We are just trying our hardest and faking it as best as we can. But experience is the best teacher and I have way more of that than you, so it’s always a good idea to listen to your Dad.
7. If a grown-up, corporation, religion, teacher, boss, and/or significant other tells you that they, in fact, do know everything, that they speak the absolute truth, that’s called fundamentalism, which is a fancy way of saying that they’re lying.
DPO – Not everyone who speaks about absolute truth is wrong. There happens to be absolute truths in the world and one of them is that everyone gets to think whatever they want. Fundamentalism in itself is not a bad thing. It becomes a bad thing when it’s used to try to make people do things they don’t want to do. Most fundamentalists aren’t lying. They actually believe what they say…and they are just as free to believe that as you are not to. (BTW the left will tell you that it’s the right that is fundamentalist, but everyone is a fundamentalist about something…ever hear about global warming?)
8. Even though, yes, I just admitted that I don’t know everything, pointing that out when we’re arguing is never going to work in your favor.
DPO – I agree!
9. When you’re doing laundry, read the labels on your clothes. When in doubt, wash everything in cold.
DPO – I would only add that it is important to do your laundry regularly, and as soon as you are about 10 or older, you are responsible for your own clothes, not me…and definitely not your mother! If she does do your laundry, it’s because she loves you, not because it’s her job.
10. One day, in the future, during a job interview, someone will ask you “What’s your greatest weakness?” This isn’t an invitation to be honest. This is a test to see how well you can answer a stupid question.
DPO – I agree, interviewers ask a lot of stupid questions. But there is never an invitation to be dishonest.
11. Almost everything in life is better in moderation, particularly TV, water parks, the Internet, and Twizzlers.
DPO – I would take off the almost….EVERYTHING is better in moderation. Think of an exception and I may be willing to come off my FUNDAMENTALIST point of view, but as of now, I can’t think of any.
12. Want to prove to me you’re a big kid? Make it through a two-hour movie in the theater without squirming or complaining. Want to take it to the next level? Make it to the eighth inning of a baseball game.
DPO – Wouldn’t that be nice!
13. Yes, everyone is going to die one day. And, yes, that really sucks.
DPO – Yes, everyone is going to die one day. And yes, it seems like that really sucks. But there are worse things than dying. And even though you won’t understand until you’re older, the fact that everyone dies, is a good thing.
14. No, I don’t know what happens after we die. But that’s a fascinating question. Keep asking fascinating questions.
DPO – Yes, keep asking questions, and listen to other points of view. But don’t be afraid to believe in something. There is a truth out there about what happens when we die, the problem is you have to die to find out if what you thought was true actually is, but life is better when you aren’t afraid of death.
15. I’ll tell you this — I promise you will never be alone and, even after you die, we will always be together. And there is no one in heaven or on Earth who can prove that that isn’t true.
DPO – There are lots of things that happen that can’t be proven or explained. That’s what faith is for.
16. Farting is always funny. Even at the dinner table. Actually, especially at the dinner table.
DPO – Farting is not always funny….it can be…in moderation!
17. Good rule to live by: If they look like they’re fine, it’s OK to laugh. If they’re really hurt, shut up and help.
DPO – Everyone needs help and we depend on each other. So go help!
18. Ignoring race and class doesn’t mean that you’re enlightened. It just means that you’re good at ignoring things.
DPO – Race and class are realities of life but not of heaven. Race and class are what we make of them. People are different and it’s a good thing because if they weren’t, life would be really boring. Diversity is not a value, it’s a fact.
19. Debt is evil and oppressive. If you’re going to go into debt for something, make sure it’s worth it.
DPO – This may be the best one on here. Debt is evil!
20. On a related topic, a college education is worthless if you don’t know how to properly use an apostrophe with the letter “s.”
DPO – Education is priceless. A college degree is expensive. They are not necessarily the same and one does not necessarily lead to the other!
21. Science both answers questions and keeps discovering new questions to ask. This is why science is awesome.
DPO – Science can’t answer any important questions. Science explores and records observations. It expands our knowledge and understanding and no one should ever stop exploring! The universe is an awesome place and the more we learn, the more we realize we don’t know. Science can answer the how, where and when but it can never answer why. But we should keep asking any way!
22. As far as anyone knows, Santa Claus and vampires might actually exist. The world is a much more interesting place if you accept the fact that, yes, there really could be a Monster at the End of This Book.
DPO – Santa Claus, vampires and monsters do exist. They just aren’t what you think they are. Believing in them will prepare you to deal with their reality when you get older.
23. You can be mad at someone and still love them at the same time. This can be very confusing.
DPO – Ah…in fact one measure of real love is if you can still love someone when you are mad at them. If you can’t, then it’s infatuation not love. But the real measure of true love is when you care more for someone else’s happiness and well being than your own.
24. Talking about abstract things is important. Having big, wild conversations about concepts like art, music, time travel, and dreams makes it much easier when you’ll eventually need to talk about things like anger, sadness, pain, and love.
DPO – Yes! The more the better.
25. Every dad needs to teach his kids the lyrics to “The Diarrhea Song.” During a long family car trip… But only when they’re ready.
DPO – I don’t know the lyrics to “The Diarrhea Song.” But every dad needs to make sure that he takes long car trips with his family! You’ll probably invent a song or two of your own.
Finally, I would add at least 2 more.
26. There is such a thing as right and wrong. They are not relative. Anyone who tells you that they are doesn’t understand the meaning of the words or what things truly are right or wrong.
27. The most important people in this world are your mother and your sisters. Protect them with your life.