Life Lessons in a Glass of Beer
It was blisteringly hot last Saturday. As I took that first sip of a cold quality beer I knew it was sure to ease my thirst. However, I never expected that in that same frosted mug were also lessons on how to be a better Dad.
Often as fathers we find parental inspiration in the most unlikely of places. For me, further insight into my parenting skills came to me just last week while attending a seminar on beer & BBQ'ing. Perhaps it was the samples of fine micro-brews, or spending time in the company of other Dad's, but as our speaker discussed the secrets of brewing a premium beer, my mind began to draw comparisons to parenting.
I learned that when it comes to making beer, everyone starts out with roughly the same raw ingredients-barley, hops, yeast, and water. Why then is there such a difference between a bottle of "buck a beer" and a quality brew? The answer lies comes down to many factors, including time & quality, and process.
Great beer takes time. Commercial brew masters will tell you that while you can turn out a beer in just a few weeks, if you want to greatly increase the quality, you need more time--quality time.
The same is true when building relationships with our kids. While we can "get by" only fitting in an hour here and there with them during our week, the more time we are willing to spend with our kids--playing, reading, talking, listening, learning things together--will result in a much richer quality relationship. Great Dads know that each moment spent actively engaged with their children is an investment in future relationships.
There is no substitute for quality. In 1493 Duke George the Rich of Bayers-Landshut enacted an order which was extended to the whole of Bavaria in 1516. This is known as the Bavarian Purity Law. Like the brewer's oath, it states that nothing may be added to beer other than barley, hops and water. To this day, the rules of the Purity Law are followed by many breweries around the world, resulting in beer of exceptional quality. However, many commercial breweries detour from these standards, trading off quality for cost savings. One example involves substituting large quantities of expensive malted barley with inexpensive corn syrup. While the resulting product is still palatable to many, beer experts can tell you there is a noticeable difference in quality to a premium full-barley version.
As Dads it's easy to substitute quality time for just "time". The key is in giving your undivided attention. Whether it is exploring a frog pond, making pizza, or reading stories together before bed, your kids should know you are theirs and theirs alone. By being "present in the moment" during play or discussions, you show them how important they are to you. Avoid being an "unconscious parent"-doing one thing but thinking of another. Be there in body as well as in mind and spirit.
Process is important. You can give five different brewers the same ingredients, and the results could be staggeringly different. One might produce a quality ale, the other a light lager, still another something completely undrinkable.
In addition to what you might already be doing as a Dad, consider the following ...
Create family rituals. Family movie/games night? Weekend or holiday traditions? Consider starting a family scrapbook and/or photo album. Together you can decide which items (photos, souvenirs, etc.) should go in it, and the captions or comments to be written. Not only does this create a family keepsake, recording a portion of your family life and history, but it allows you to recall moments in your lives - laughing, joking and reliving the good times all over again - together. After all, the best souvenirs are the memories that we make.
Work to make ordinary things fun. Who says washing dishes, cleaning up, or walking to the store for milk has to be boring. By turning things into games, or using your imagination, the unexciting everyday jobs that make up a large part of our lives can be made interesting, or at least more bearable. Life is what we make of it-and much of that is dependent on the attitude from which we approach it.
Let your kids get to know the real you. Sure, they know "Dad", but what about the other parts of your personality? As is appropriate for their ages, begin sharing your thoughts and dreams with them. Let them know that you too get scared sometimes, or wonder what the future will hold. Tell them about when you were a boy, and some of the good and not-so-good times and experience you had growing up. Do they know your passions? If, for instance, you love the outdoors and art, then share these by going on hikes, canoeing, and exploring art galleries with your kids. Add new dimensions to familiar activities as you re-experience them through your children's eyes.
If all you ever drink is the same economy brand of beer, you may never know what you are missing when it comes to some of the finer beers out there. Without comparison, you are likely quite happy on a steady diet of a lesser quality product. Will it hurt you or affect your potential? Not likely. But as parents if we choose to consistently deliver a lower quality product will that affect our children's potential? Absolutely!
This weekend, why not treat yourself and your kids to something special. Make plans upgrade both your beer and your parenting. Try something new. One warning though ... once you've experienced the good stuff, you'll never be satisfied with low quality product again ... and the same goes for your beer. Cheers!
Award-winning educator, author & parent coach, Rob Stringer is currently working on his first book, Parenting with Intention, and has launched a free monthly newsletter by the same name. Visit http://www.ParentingWithIntention.ca to subscribe, access resources, or learn more about PWI's parent coaching services.
Power Foods for a Powerful School Lunch
There isn't a school day that goes by that I worry about my son's lunch. Of course, I ask myself the usual questions: Is he eating what he has in the bag? Will he trade his apple for a cookie? Will the school lunch he's ordering once a week be nutritious? He's a kid! He's not a fussy eater, but there are plenty of days that he has come home with a bag full of food.
The Metamorphosis of The Brain: Raising Your child to be a Brainiac
The human brain never actually stops developing. Beginning formation in early prenatal life (just 3 weeks after conception), the brain's development is a lifelong endevour, endlessly under construction, constantly reshaping and redefining itself based on everyday life and the types of stimulation that we provide for it.
Mommy, I Can't Sleep! Sleep Disturbance in Children
"Just turn the lights off and go to sleep"Do you find yourself saying this to your child? Well, you're not alone!! Sleep problems are some of the most common problems parents face with their children. Some parents struggle with getting their child to sleep through the night.
Aquini Potty Training Dolls - A Great Tool For Potty Training!
Corolle Paul or Emma Drink-and-Wet SET potty dollsThis is the very best potty doll we available. This potty doll is a much better value than slightly cheaper potty dolls because it functions perfectly, and will remain a great toy when you are finished potty training.
The Personality of a Virgo Child
Your Virgo Baby..
Children - Blessing or Curse
You're trying to catch up on some sleep on a quiet Saturday morning when you hear the shrill scream of a child, who seems upset with the fact that another child is pointing at him or her, and has done so for the past three minutes. You turn over and hope that they will resolve it without your intervention?but that's unlikely, given their past.
Parenting Your Teenager: The Teenager and the Gorilla
Q: A parent writes in to ask, "You write a lot about the difference between controlling and managing teenagers. What's the difference.
Teaching Your Children About the Value of Money
We take it for granted that children know how money gets into our wallets. The tips below will guide you through teaching your children the value of money.
No, No, No -- What Else is a Parent to Say?
The word no is probably the most overused word in the English language. I speak from experience since I myself use it frequently.
Educational Toys - How Do Parents Choose The Best Toys For Their Child
The choices are mind numbing. Walk into any toy store or the toy section of any department store and there are shelves and tiers of toys labeled 'educational toys'.
Road Trip! Make It Fun For Your Toddler
If you had to spend 4 or 5 hours in a snug car seat with even snugger straps and nothing to do, you might not be a huge road trip fan either. Road trips are getting more fun for the younger set as portable and built-in DVD players become more and more common, but sometimes even watching videos gets old.
If at First They Dont Succeed - What a Great Opportunity!
When kids try new things, sometimes it's a 'fit' and sometimes a struggle.So what's a parent to do when they find that a child is floundering in a new activity? What if your son is in over his head? Or your daughter is not doing as well as either of you had hoped? What if they even fail outright?Often, they're tempted to give up.
Teacher Tips: Your Room Set-Up and ADHD Students
Thank you to all of our professional educators who dedicate themselves to our children! We know how difficult it can be working with ADHD children, so here are your teacher tips for the week, brought to you by the ADHD Information Library and ADDinSchool.com.
Free Stuff for Twins: Incentives for Parents of Multiple Births
A sure way to double the joys of parenthood is to give birth to twins! You'll have twice the smiles, goos & coos, giggles, and firsts (first words, first steps, first burps..
Discipline is a necessary part of parenting yet it makes most parents feel uncomfortable. Some of those old disciplinary phrases such as 'spare the rod and spoil the child', 'teach them a lesson' or 'set children straight' are enough to send shivers up the spine of any reasonable-minded parent.
Can Mineral Deficiencies Lead to Behavioral Problems in Children?
A while ago I received this story from David in England, who wrote: I am following your work with great interest as I am trying to get more information about the subject of ADD / ADHD for a friend of mine who was put in charge of such a child at school. She was given no training for this work nor was she given any backup.
Authoritarian Parenting, Permissive Parenting, or Loving Parenting
Angie was brought up by rigid, authoritarian parents who kept her on a tight leash. They rarely considered her feelings about anything, showing a complete lack of empathy and compassion for her feelings and desires.
Invented Spelling --- Another Alice-in-Wonderland Public-School Theory
As part of the whole-language (or "balanced") reading-instruction philosophy, many public schools now teach what they call "invented" or "creative" spelling. Under this theory of spelling, teachers believe that forcing a child to spell a word correctly thwarts the child's "creativity.
A Child Can Make a Difference
Sometimes dreams really can come true! May 8th - 11th, 2000, my daughter and I traveled to Disney World in Orlando, Florida, because of a dream my daughter, Amanda, has to make a difference in this world. Amanda (then a 6th grader) entered McDonald's Millennium Dreamer contest and told them about her contributions to the humane society and her dream of making the world a better place for animals.
Using Pocket-money To Promote Independence In Kids
In seminars I am often asked about pocket-money and whether it should be earned or only given when children behave well.My belief is that children should receive pocket-money as their small share of the family-wealth just as they should share the workload at home.
|home | site map|