Teach Me How to Daddy

{It’s Guest Post Wednesday! Justin Carper is the author of this week’s guest post. I met Justin through an incredible community of dreamers and doers called The Start Experiment. He is a writer, blogger, husband, father, youth leader and self-professed ninja. Justin writes regularly on his own website and he is also on Twitter. Be sure to check him out!}

Planting Hands

This past week my wife and I let our two and a half year old little boy go visit the grandparents. My wife’s parents live about 4 hours across the state, and this would be the longest he had ever been away from us at one time (7 whole days!).

Long story short, he had a blast. He didn’t miss us at all, and he really wanted to stay longer with “Nana” and “Papa”.

My wife and I, on the other hand, missed him like crazy. There is just something about walking into the house after getting home from work and hearing those little feet running through the house coming to give you a hug.

While he was gone, my wife and I decided it would be the perfect opportunity to paint the entire interior of our house.

I’m sure you know how this goes. You plan on having it done way ahead of time, and then you have to scramble to get it done at the last minute. Yeah, that was us.

 I had finished the first coat and had started on the second when my wife arrived home after picking our little boy up.

 I had this grand idea of what it was going to be like after not seeing him for a week. You know, the music starts to play as everything goes to slow motion. So I got on one knee and held out my arms as he came around the corner. He ran towards me and then past me, straight to his train set yelling “Choo choos!” the whole time.

 I can’t blame him. It’s a pretty cool train table.

 After prying him away from his trains and giving him more hugs than he probably wanted, I continued to paint.

 As I painted he stopped playing and started watching me.

 He even went a grabbed a smaller roller and said his first full sentence to me as he asked to help.

Up to this time, his only complete sentence was, “I love sweet tea.” and he said that to his mother.

As he watched me paint, he said, “Teach me how.”

 I can’t exactly explain the feeling, but I had to stop painting for a minute. I am not one to cry and I didn’t (there was something in my eye). My little boy is growing up. He is actually talking to me.

I sat my paint roller down, and taught my son how to paint (with a dry roller of course).

 Why did he want to paint? Because his daddy was painting.

 As he went back to playing with his trains, I couldn’t help but think about how many kids are begging to be taught.

 Whether they realize it or not, they are begging to be taught about life. They want to know what is right and wrong. They want to be shown what is important in life.

 It is so easy as parents to be focused on ourselves and our careers that we lose focus of what is truly important.

 The way we live our lives is teaching our kids how to live theirs. The way we respond when we are under pressure is teaching them how to deal with pressure. The way we deal with authority is teaching them how to deal with authority. Who we are when we are out of the spotlight is teaching them who to be when no one else is looking.

 We are teaching them who to be.

 I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with the responsibility that is parenting. We are responsible for who and what they become.

 The scary thing is they become, in many ways, who we are.

 This can be an amazing opportunity, and it can be a curse.

 Be who you want them to become. Model the attitudes and behaviors that you want them to repeat.

Live a life that is worth repeating.