I am honored to have a great man, dad, coach and writer sharing with us on the blog today.
It has been an awesome experience getting to know Eli from Coach Daddy. He is one of the very few Dad bloggers I have found, and quite frankly one of the most genuine and down to earth bloggers around.
His words are always on point and very touching. Eli will have you thinking differently and deeply while at the same time smiling or chuckling with his quirky sense of humor.
Lessons I Learned From My Kids
I’ve been a winner, a loser, a son, a brother. I’ve been a husband, a coach, a writer, a helper. I’ve been the new guy, the old guy, the smart guy and the dumb guy.
One job incorporates elements of all those roles into one: Dad.
I am a good dad. I am a good coach. Not great, but not bad. They work in much the same way. A good coach must be a good learner. A good dad must be a good learner. If you believe in either role what you teach is all you do, you have a lot of learning to do.
But, because you’re not a good learner, well, how are you going to get the lesson?
A new blogging friend, Jaime of The Fruitful Mama blog, recently wrote about the lessons we learn from our kids. I love this idea. It inspired me to write this post. Our kids teach us so much. I know I’m much wiser because of them. Or they just consider me more of a wise ass. Either/or.
Here’s three lessons my kids have taught me in the 16 years I’ve been called dad.
1. What’s old is new again
Elise, as a toddler, sat on a stool to watch me cook one day. I placed her carefully onto a chair with no back 2 feet above a tile floor. (Dad of the year!) I placed the carton of eggs with equal care on the counter, just within Elise’s reach. It took .093 seconds for her to lunge for the carton.
She didn’t fall; but she managed to snatch up an egg.
I lunged to get the egg from her, because a carton of eggs at the time cost 90 cents, which made each egg worth about 13 cents each. When you factor in the cost of soap and labor to clean up an egg from a tile floor if a toddler drops it there, you’re talking … well, probably well over a quarter.
All while balancing on a stool 2 feet above the ground with a head still a little too big for her body, Elise made a nifty behind-the-back move to keep the egg from daddy. I stood up straight to reassess. She pulled the egg back around and inspected it closely.
“It’s cold, daddy,” she said. “and bumpy.”
I watched her toddling fingers run over the shell. It was the first time she’d held an egg. How many times do we crack and scramble and dye eggs and never even look at them? It was old to me, and new to her. So I knelt down by the stool and got reacquainted with the egg. And my daughter.
Know what? She didn’t even drop it.
Lesson: Never lose the wonder every day can bring.
2. Just wait – there’s more
With one child, there’s always a hand to hold. When you add more, it becomes a numbers game.
Anyone who has had a second or third child knows how much cooler life is when they do stuff to each other. Sometimes, you capture them in photos. The best ones, you don’t. Tamara of Tamara Camera blog recently told of her daughter helping with her little brother’s sandals.
It was a moment no one but the kids saw. It’s subtle, but huge. Well, part of something huge.
My girls compete and fight and conspire against each other. They also always have each other’s back. They do each other’s hair and nails and stick up for each other. They give advice. Sometimes, they use it at the wrong time.
Before a playoff game, Marie, the middle girl and 13, gave advice to her little sister, Grace, who is 9, about penalty kicks. “Hit it hard and right over her head,” Marie said. Grace listened.
With 10 seconds left in regulation, Grace’s teammate was fouled about 25 yards from the goal. Grace glanced at me for the OK, and took the shot: Hard, and right over the keeper’s head for a 1-1 tie.
On we went to penalty kicks.
Grace had the first shot. When a penalty is taken this close, you want to aim for the corner of the goal. Grace knows this. But her sister’s voice still rang in her ears. She hit it hard and over the keeper’s head – only from this close, the keeper stopped the shot cold. We went on to lose.
Grace sat at midfield with her face in her hands. I felt horrible for her. But also proud. When the game was on the line, her sister’s voice was the one she heard.
Lesson: Trust in each other – especially at crunch time.
3. Book learning? It ain’t got nothin’ on this
If my college courses were anywhere near as interesting and interactive as the lessons I learn from my kids, maybe I’d have spent less time on academic probation.
I’m a good dad, and a good coach. Not great, but not bad. I was a bad student. I wish I could say that I spent lots of time calculating how to exert the least effort for the best result. But I was too apathetic to manage even that. Those skeletons in the science building? They had more gumption than me.
I fell short of my degree by one semester. I tried and failed at Couch to 5K more times than I could count. I’ve disappointed ones I love, lost jobs, and took ill care of my health.
Fatherhood, though, is a second chance. It’s an ongoing test that you can use your notes on. It’s the way you can apply what you did pay attention to in school to help your kids with homework. It’s the way you can finally succeed at a 5K – when your daughter relies on you as a running buddy.
It’s a way to dump soda and grill instead of fry and eat more salad. OK, start eating salad.
Lesson: In fatherhood, there is no GPA, no academic probation. In fatherhood, there is only this moment and the next, and more chances than that to show your kids how love and dedication can overcome just about any weakness in a man.
All you have to be is a good learner.
When he isn’t answering questions of his hat trick of daughters every Friday or learning lessons at the local food bank, Eli Pacheco writes the blog Coach Daddy. Follow him on Google Plus, Pinterest and Twitter.
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