Hell Hath No Fury…
The picture above was a gift to me from my wife and boys, somewhat as a joke, but I believe mostly as a great reminder. I have, and always have had, a short fuse when it comes to certain things. It is not something I am proud of and it’s something I work on daily. Some may look at that and be pissed about someone reminding them of their short comings.
Some may look at that and be pissed about someone reminding them of their shortcomings. However, I look at it as someone who cares enough to help me try to be better.
I vividly remember when I was a boy and my dad wanted help with a project. He would tell me to go grab, “your hammer,” “your saw,” or “your shovel.” Yet, when for whatever reason a tool was missing, it was no longer my hammer, saw or shovel, it was …. “Where did you put/leave my hammer now?”
Honestly, I can’t blame him either.
Tools can be expensive, and leaving them out in the elements can severely damage them or at times render them useless. It was a good lesson for me on taking care of and respecting things that are not mine.I firmly believe in teaching these lessons of respect, organization, and fostering the curiosity and drive for my boys to be able to work with their hands and figure out solutions to problems as they grow into men.
However, when I come outside and find a set of pliers, a hammer, or a saw that are now rusted, rotted or wrecked, tempering the fury of hell can be so difficult when in that moment.
The trick is to find that place in the middle – the one where you are able to maintain composure, yet teach the lesson and get the point across that this action or lack of action is not ok, and will not be tolerated.
That is the ever so elusive sweet spot of fatherhood.
Unleash the fury and you may discourage them from ever wanting to pick up a tool – or worse yet – scare them away from wanting to be around you and learn from you. Do it right and you teach a lesson while fostering a desire to continue the exploration and learning process that comes with working with your hands. How many times have you been asked by your child if they could “help,” yet we push through a task because we know it will get done much faster if we just power through it?
Next time this happens, I challenge you to take a moment, involve them and without them knowing, really look at the wonder and excitement in their eyes as they learn something new from their hero. It is true, you are a superhero who has taken time out of his busy day saving the world, to teach them one of his super powers.
Remember as men and fathers we literally have two options…stand up or step aside!