How does one become WBD?

A philosophy of parenting, or perhaps a manifesto, so to speak. One that surrounds two general concepts in which all matters of parenting then proceed.

1. survival

As defined in the broadest possible terms. Children are merely visitors to your life. You had a life before children and you will have a life after they stop returning your phone calls. It is thus important to maintain friendships, interests and sanity so that these will be intact when the time comes. Perhaps even a living partnership with another adult who also loves your children is important. The last one is the most difficult of all and plays into the second general concept, namely:

2. endure

This comes as a result of the fact the child rearing is (at times) relentless, excruciating and just plan boring.* This must be endured, with a modicum of goodwill. Knowledge of this will enhance patience and produce appropriate survival skills. To endure is to love your children. And to endure one must also survive. But don’t forget the goodwill. My belief (take it as you will) is that to endure is to enjoy and that enjoyment must be shared with the children and those other people that you need for survival.

What’s left then?

*Sometimes it’s not and it’s those times that we remember, at least I think so. Ask the grandparents. They have a tendency to only remember the good times and the hard times seem not have existed at all. This is curious because many adults seldom reflect upon the good times of their childhood and focus all of their energy on the bad times. This thought is also important to this philosophy. Parents have, at the end of the day, very little influence upon whether the children end up being good, or not so good people. There is very little we as parents can do about this. On the other hand, if we treat kids like second class citizens, but then we almost certainly create second class adults.

Tempo is like, real important… According to Goob, World’s #2 Dad (and my brother)

Tempo. It’s what I am looking for when I am with my kids. It’s not about hurrying, or stressing. That just makes things worse. It’s about moving things along smoothly. Anyone who has worked as a waiter can understand this. If things move too slowly, the plates stack up in the kitchen or tables get irritated waiting. If things move too quickly, no one has a chance to digest or the food fails to be plated properly. No good.

The same goes for solo parenting. Tempo is important when you are co-parenting as well, but not as important. If things slow down, one of you can pick up the slack. If things go too fast, then your partner can shift gears if need be, slowing things down. That’s harder when you are on your own.

Tempo is unfortunately about preparation. You need a plan. I think this used to be called routines. “Children like routines” I’ve heard it said. Really? Who likes routine? Well I do, but that’s because I am anal. But I would prefer not to pass that along to my children.

No, not routine, tempo. First one thing, then the next, then the next, moving smoothly along. It’s not about time, its about feeling. Routines are about time. At this time we do this, at this time we do that. That can be problematic with children under 10. Never know when they might start playing nicely. Don’t want to break that up because of routine. (Maybe I can find 20 minutes to read my book and drink a cup of coffee…)

Tempo is about overlapping occurrences that lead to group harmony. Food preparation that can be done when pictures are drawn. Then the table is to be set, so everyone should wash their hands. Maybe a short TV session while the dishes are being done, then it’s outside and the park. Maybe do the shopping while the kids play with the neighbors. You get the point. Tempo.

Q-tips are great for tempo, just don’t let them be put back in the box

The biggest downside to tempo is that it is exhausting. Who wants to be so planned-out all of the time? I don’t have the stamina to do it every day that the kids are home. Nor would I really want to for that matter.

Going to try to contribute to WBD as often as I can, just to make sure that kungfoolery gets some competition for the title of World’s Best Daddy…