Making the most of a new life




In my last post I was talking about doing some crafting with Jake at a school workshop. I agree that the scenario sounded quite idyllic, and I did really enjoy it. What has been bugging me ever since is that I feel that it might have also been rather misleading. This is because I actually do not really like crafting, not for myself and not really with the boys either. Indeed there have been more occasions than I care to think of that Jake and/ or Sam have come up to me with a potential project involving painting, cutting out, drawing or sculpting in some way or another, and I have done my upmost to try to dissuade them; or convince them that they can do it on their own.

As I write this it makes me feel very bad. Am I, in essence, stifling their creative development? Why am I so opposed to doing this sort of thing with them? Should I snap myself out it and just get on with it? Well that little voice inside me is saying yes to that last question, but I still do not like hearing it.

I think that one of the reasons why I just do not like it is that I am really not very good at it myself, and while I do have my creative side (which I hope shows through in my writing) I just do not seem to have the vision to create something beautiful (I would be happy with recognisable) through the manipulation of paper, glue, crayons and various other ephemera.

While writing this my mind had gone back to an incident when I was probably twelve. I had been taking woodwork classes at school (to be honest I preferred domestic science) and had been let loose on a lathe, the idea being for me to produce a potato masher. I whittled away at the wood until I produced what can only be described as a standard lamp for a dolls house. I remember presenting to my Mum who was very taken with the object, but also found it hilarious when she found out what it was supposed to be. I remember that she carried it about in her handbag for quite a while as an example of my handiwork. She was proud but also realistic about my skills.

What I now wonder is whether experiences such as this, and the (lack of) expectation that was placed on me, have given me the ambivalence to crafting that I have today. Yes, as I said last time, they have the effect of allowing me to shape my own destiny much more; but there is a part of me that thinks that a little more encouragement in this area may have improved my confidence in my own ability to make and fix things.

What I have learned from my new work as a coach is that it is important to understand where our attitudes come from; and writing this post has helped me to surface some of the reasons why I am not all that keen on crafting. It is, for me, a relatively small thing but it will add to my overall view of who I am, and what sort of a Father I can be.

What it will not do is abandon my policy of keeping the DIY to a minimum. I may be more aware but I still think I can knock hundreds of the value of a house with one blow of the hammer. Overcoming that will take much more work.


Father’s Day #2: My Boys

Last week was an exciting week. There were many whispered conversations between Karen, my wife, and Jake, my four year old son. These conversations were not necessarily secret because Jake hasn’t really perfected the art of whispering yet. Nevertheless things were at fever pitch. Just why did he need to take in four milk carton tops into nursery? And why was I getting knowing looks from his carers? Clearly something was afoot, otherwise Jake wouldn’t have been desperate to go into nursery on Thursday afternoon despite having to go and see the doctor that morning with his usual breathing troubles (more on this at a later date).

The answer when it came was so very touching. Jake had made me a car for Father’s Day. I think it’s a great car. It was made by Jake and he put so much work into it. Yes he’s brought pictures home for me before, but this felt different somehow. It was more deliberate and another step in his development, and our relationship.

I’m noticing the same with Sam (my other son, who has just turned two), who is at that amazing stage where he is noticeably achieving new things everyday: new words, new shelves reached, more sophisticated play, and more of a mind of his own. Our relationship is developing all the time too, but in a different way than happened with Jake: which in itself is amazing. They are VERY different.

Father’s Day felt different this year then. Not just because it was the first without my Father, but because it reflected the new things that I am experiencing with the boys. However, when the festivities were over we went off to the park and it became a ‘normal’ day again. But normal in the sense that everyday is different, and change is constant. Routines come and go, certainties disappear and new certainties arise. That is the essence of what I’m trying to do with this blog, reflect on change, think about how I manage it, and to celebrate old endings and new beginnings.

So one thing is for sure. Father’s Day will never be the same again and I find that very exciting!