I take pride in being a good parent or at least trying to be a good parent. That's my goal anyway. So when I was watching the comedian Louis C.K. last week, I couldn't help but laugh at his jokes about being a single dad. Those jokes, like laser-guided missiles, were dead-on target, funny, and very true (the best comedians can do that, you know?). After laughing so hard that tears were pouring out of my eyes like a busted water faucet, Louis said something very poignant, "I found out I'm a pretty bad father. I make a lot of mistakes. I don't know what I'm doing. But my kids love me." And that was it. I was crying like a little girl. Well, maybe not a little girl. OK, I wasn't crying at all. I'm a tough guy, you know?
Louis did get me thinking though. As a parent, I always use what I know as a point of reference and for most of us good parents, we think about what our parents did for us as children when we try to make parenting decisions for our own kids. The funny thing is, as my kids get older and more and more decisions have to be made for them, I realize that what my parents did was in stark contrast to what I do now. For instance, I recently had a conversation with my kids about them walking to school. My immediate reaction was, "There is no way in hell that you girls are going to walk to school. There is an extremely busy street where we live. You could get run over. And kidnappers! What about the KIDNAPPERS?! And don't get me started about the CHILD MOLESTERS!" After I dropped my kids off at school, I thought really hard about what my parents let me do when I was my own daughters' ages. I dusted off those childhood memories and remembered that when I was in kindergarten, my dad let me ride my bike to school, which was a few miles from my house. I had to ride through an alley and a field of grass to get to a road that took me through the other side of the neighborhood to my elementary school. I was only five years old. I didn't get run over. I didn't get kidnapped. And I did not get molested. Weird, huh?