I Don’t Know How to Be a Good Father
- Posted by James Altucher
She was a little over two feet tall. She was a US citizen. But she didn’t speak English. She would shit in her pants. She couldn’t feed herself. She cried often for no reason. She hit me.
She’d get out of the bath and there was no need for clothes. Just a black mess of wet curls at the top of her head. I’d make an imaginary line in the floor. We’d stand there. She couldn’t stop jumping from one foot to the next, dripping wet. And then I’d throw the ball. I’d yell, “Go!” She’d start running after it. I’d chase after her, “get that baby! Get that baby!”
Her laughter would turn into squeals. Her tiny feet on the floor was a drum roll. The ball would be bouncing all over the place. It was a super bouncing ball. I was right on her heels. I could feel the fear as she’d try to go faster. I was so much bigger, more powerful, faster, smarter, and in love with her laughter. I could scoop her up any second I wanted but that would stop the laughter.
We’d run all over the apartment. Her laughter filling every corner. The ball long since forgotten. Now it was just pure chase. And once I would grab her and held her I would be in total control, the master of her universe. So she would run as fast as she could, trying to outsmart me, trying for the first time ever to be her own person, but there was just no hope for her and we both knew it.
Now she knows English. Now she’s taller. Now she’s older. Now I don’t chase her. She’s faster than me and I’m lazy. Now it’s harder for me to make her laugh. It’s harder for me to draw an imaginary line we both can stand at, even for a second.
I don’t really know how to be a good father. I didn’t want kids in the first place. I don’t know how to set boundaries. I don’t know how to solve the problems of being a tween, or a teen, or a kid, or a mini-adult. I don’t know what clothes they like. Or what games to play. I’m not even sure I know how to solve my own problems.
I don’t know what’s good for them or bad for them . I’m not as confident as “China mom” and I’m not that great as a laissez faire father. When they are here for the weekend we just sit around on computers. I hate going outside in the sun. When they cry I don’t know how to respond. I hug them a lot. But I don’t know if I’m really that good at protecting them. I tell them I love them. But I spoil them too much.
I don’t know how to tell them to pursue a passion. I wish when I was 12 I had pursued a passion. But you can’t ignite that fire in another person. I don’t know how to help them make friends. I say out loud things like, “school’s a prison” because, no BS, it is. But I can’t home school them. No energy to do that. If I’m too tired at night to cook them something, they have to fend for themselves. I don’t know how to solve the bickering they have with each other.
And in a few years none of these problems won’t matter. They’ll be gone. It will be too late. I won’t matter at all. Maybe I can be a good grandfather.
A decade ago, I’m chasing her until I hear her breathing hard. The ball nowhere to be found. My little one year old is tired. I scoop her up and hold her over my head. She’s laughing. Squirming in my hands. Protected and held by me. I got her! I’M A FATHER!
I do give some advice to them. But they aren’t necessarily good for day for day. They are more advice for kids on how to be better adults:
And, of course, my children should Follow Me on Twitter.
blog comments powered by Disqus
- How to Self-Publish a Bestseller: Publishing 3.0
- 7 Things Happen to You When You Are Completely Honest
- How to Deal With Crappy People
- 10 More Reasons You Need to Quit Your Job Right Now!
- The 100 Rules for Being an Entrepreneur
- 33 Unusual Tips to Being a Better Writer
- How to be THE LUCKIEST GUY ON THE PLANET in 4 Easy Steps
- 10 Unusual Things I Didn’t Know About Steve Jobs
- 8 Alternatives to College
- I’m Completely Humiliated by Yoga
- How I Screwed Yasser Arafat out of $ 2mm (and lost $ 100mm in the process)
- 10 Things I Learn From Richard Branson
- What I Learned from my First Podcast Guest in 1980 and What I Learned from My Last Podcast Guest (Yesterday)
- The Ultimate Guide to Making a Personal Manifesto
- What I Learned About Life After Interviewing 80 Highly Successful People
- FAQ ON HOW TO BECOME AN IDEA MACHINE
- Who Is In Your Scene?
- Ep. 65: Dan Ariely: Dishonesty, Irrationality, and Money
- Ep 64 – Tucker Max: Surprise Announcement! Part 1
- 10 Things I Learned While Interviewing Tony Robbins About His New Book “Money”
- Ep. 62 – Tony Robbins: Money Is Just A Game
- Ep. 61 – Trip Adler: Overnight Success 7 Years in the Making
- Nothing Is Wrong With You
- Ep. 59 – Brian Koppelman Ruined My Life
- 21 or 22 Yet Even More Amazing Tips to Be a Better Writer
- Ep. 54 – Gabriel Weinberg: The Man Who is Fighting Google
- The Idea Matrix – What Changed Everyone’s Life After “Choose Yourself”