June 2019 480.632.7373 jensenlawaz.com
Carrying the Weight What My Dad Taught Me About Parenting
In June, people’s thoughts are often turned to their fathers. I have an outstanding father who set a very high bar for all fathers. For example, my dad was always up to go camping with me. He had a special talent of always being positive, even when it meant he would be sleeping on the ground. As a dad myself, I now realize that the ground is substantially harder for a middle-aged man than it is for a 10-year- old boy. When camping, my dad would find special ways to connect with me. He would always make sure to spend time looking at the stars high above us and talking about why they shine so bright. He had learned the constellations “Looking back, I realize how much my dad’s simple actions meant to me.”
and would point them out to me as well as distinguish the stars from the planets that were in view. That he knew when the planets were in view was an impressive feat, especially considering that Google hadn’t been invented and no one had smartphones. He also taught me important skills necessary for a successful camping trip. I learned how to set up a tent with rain tarps and all, how to build a fire the right way (using the log cabin method), and how to leave no trace. Looking back, I realize how much my dad’s simple actions meant to me. He taught me the value of spending time with your children and proving their worth. Living with two sisters and two brothers, it would have been easy for me to get lost in the shuffle, but to this day, I have a great relationship with my dad. In fact, we have always had that great bond. I have distinct memories of my first backpack trip with my dad. When I was 10 years old my dad was the scoutmaster for our local Boy Scout troop. He set aside a week to take the Boy Scouts backpacking in the Targhee National Forest of Eastern Idaho. Even though I wasn’t old enough to be a Boy Scout, my dad brought me along. Near the end of the approximately 7-mile hike to the lake where we would set up camp, I remember feeling exhaustion setting in. My dad grabbed my backpack in his arms and carried it for about a quarter of a mile, even though he was carrying the tent and the bulk of the gear.
Now that I am a dad, I see that there are times I need to carry the extra weight. On that hike, my dad must have been exhausted too, but even with all the weight on his back, he found a way to carry my pack when I needed it. As a kid, I had no idea that my dad might have been tired. He always had my back. As I think about my dad, I am reminded that dads step up for their families, even when they are carrying the brunt of the weight. As a dad of four children, I try to follow my dad’s example. I will always be grateful to such a strong man willing to carry the extra weight for me and hope I can do the same for my kids.
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