I woke up this morning remembering the day my first child was born. I am not sure why, as her birthday is in May. Nonetheless, I recalled holding her for the first time and looking into her blue, blue eyes and promising to be a good dad.
Nine and a half years later, I guess I am doing alright. She is smart, witty, usually nice (but not always to her little sister), ambitious, focused (she is a karate blue belt), and most of all she seems to love me.
From what I understand, I have about four years until she turns on me and becomes a teenager. Uncharted waters around the Singer house. I come from four generations of boys. My three brothers have eight sons between them. I have no idea what the future holds in raising two girls.
Yet everyday is an adventure.
Today I bribed her to play with her sister at a church luncheon event made up mostly of adults. And not just a bribe...a premeditated bribe. I secretly brought two candy suckers with me to church. When the kids began to ask "how much longer?", I produced the candy from my pocket and asked them if these could keep them happy for thirty more minutes. Sure enough, it worked.
But then I wonder if that is bad parenting? What message am I sending to them by rewarding them to go off and play for a half hour? Is candy really a good answer?
Is this different than what happens at work? Are we not given bonuses for going beyond the call of duty or for completing a task (and I do feel for the kids having to be at a luncheon on a beautiful Sunday afternoon). While I want to teach my children just to behave for the sake of behaving, I am not so far removed from being a kid.
But was that living up to my promise of being a good dad? Or did it short-change her for some important life lesson that I could have taught? Either way, they went off and played and both of them seemed to love the candy. Smiles all around.