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Fathers Day Follies

June 17, 2012
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Fathers are different from mothers. Although my mom and dad both have a penchant to go missing. Well, not really missing. It’s just that they move around a lot and it’s hard to keep track of them.

On Mother’s Day my mom was out and about. Last year on Father’s Day, dad was either on a plane or actually in Los Angeles for work. Just yesterday, I got a text from him as he was boarding a plane for a week-long business trip to Switzerland. So I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t order any highly perishable caviar to be delivered to his home in Miami today.

I’m starting to sense a trend. Perhaps all those years that my sister and I neglected to send presents is finally taking a toll. Oh dear.

But my dad knows that I love him. And I know that he loves me. Still, we are men, and we do things a bit differently. So instead of telling him things directly, I’ll write them down here for the whole world to see. And when he gets a break from client meetings, I’m sure he’ll pull this up on Facebook. I’ll just consider myself lucky he’s not in China.

There is one story about my dad I tell over and over again. I told it to my youngest cousins when I was visiting them in San Carlos. I told it to a friend of Young Master Fussy as the three of us waited in a long line for food, and I’ve told it to you.

It’s the story of the grape soda.

My father at a young age was masterful at delaying his own gratification. All the modern studies suggest that this is the one personality trait that can predict success in later life. It bolsters the idea that if you put off enjoyment now, you’ll get more enjoyment later. Except in the case of the grape soda, it didn’t quite work out that way. In fact, that story ends in tragedy.

And it’s a great lesson for kids. The moral as I see it is not that you should seek satisfaction while you can. Rather it’s an early lesson that sometimes bad things happen to good people. Now that may not be something you think is appropriate to teach to young children. Maybe the experts would agree with you.

But I teach young kids inappropriate things all the time.

So in honor of Father’s Day, I’m going to take this opportunity to announce a new side project. This father of two is finally going to start his own parenting blog. It’s a project I don’t have the time to undertake, but I’m going to do it anyway. Mrs. Fussy will not be involved, so it will be rough and unedited. Posts will go up only once a week, and it will have nothing to do with Albany.
The new blog will be called:

How Daddy Does It

My friends in California have been asking me to do something like this for years. Their children are younger than mine, and they’ve always been interested in my unique take on parenting.

Part of me thought about doing the parenting blog anonymously. And if I did that, my dad might never read the piece I plan to write about how he helped to forge my Jewish identity. Plus, I’m awful about keeping secrets. With the help of my West Coast friends I’ve already got a long list of story ideas for the new venture. When the first posts finally get written, I’ll put up a link to it in the blogroll.

So to my dad, and all the other fathers out there who have kids large and small. Happy father’s day. I hope you all get just a little bit extra peace and quiet today. And consider yourself lucky if you don’t have to fly to Switzerland to get it.

I love you, dad. Have a great trip, and get home safely.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Kerosena permalink
    June 18, 2012 2:13 am

    Nice! Looking forward to your new project. It’s very timely for me :)

    I’m going to look for these modern studies about delayed gratification. As a child, I was all about “saving the best for last,” and I’m interested in these studies’ operational definition of success. Specifically, how high is the correlation, and did I make it? Like your dad, I can recall situations in which the desire to preserve the treasure didn’t work out for me.

  2. June 18, 2012 9:01 am

    Kerosena, check out “Emotional Intelligence” by Goleman. It describes the study in which kids were given the choice of one cookie to eat now, and two cookies to eat later on. The kids were tracked and those who delayed gratification were found to be more successful as adults though I don’t recall how detailed the numbers were.

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