The essence of my parenting can be glimpsed in that instant that Bruce Banner begins transforming into the Hulk, but isn’t quite indestructible yet.  Confusion, anger, helplessness, pain and resignation – all shoved into a Vitamix 5200 Blender. Flip the switch to detonate.  That’s me, the Dad, on a good day.

Of all the cajoling and bribing and threatening and begging and lecturing and asking I throw at my kids, I tell them that there is only this they should take into adulthood:

Work hard.  Be kind.

That’s it.

Work hard – to give yourself the best chance at succeeding, so that you earn your independence, so that no roadblock ever rattles you.  Be kind – i.e. don’t be a jerk, take care of others, and invite your parents for Thanksgiving.

Ignore or forget or tune out everything else I say, but remember those four words.

And if they have time for more bumper sticker parenting, these words sometimes tumble from my mouth with the intention of doing good in the world:

–Don’t try to be right, try to do the right thing.

–Use your foot to flush toilets in public restrooms.

–Say thank you.  A lot.

–Seek information, not affirmation.

–Stick with the piano.

–How you react to what happens can be more important than what happens.

–You don’t have to like it; you just have to eat it.

–Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it.

–Lefty-loosey, righty-tighty.

–Be aware of your 360 24/7.

–Come on, guys. Seriously?

–Watch your partner’s and friends’ and children’s 360 24/7.

–I’m normally not a religious man, but if you’re up there – save me Superman.

(Okay, credit that last one to Homer Simpson.)

Work hard. Be kind.


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