Sunday, January 13, 2008

dad on parenting.

Dad loved his family so much. He never hid how much he cared for us all. He would constantly teach us and make us feel good about ourselves.
Here's one excerpt from Dad's amazing missionary journal

"June 19, 1977- Today was Sunday and we had a great day. We are planning to baptize the Venetz family Thursday instead of Friday. I sure am glad that I'm a missionary here. I just can't impress on my mind hard enough how important the gospel is. I am going to be working on my attitudes on several subjects. I also want to be a good father: Little children don't go astray, unless someone older leads the way. Beings so young, how would they know which path to take, which way to go? They must be taught to choose there way? Good example is important every day. They learn love and kindness from you, or they learn wrong by the things you do. Whether you lead them in paths of right or lead them into the darkness. A child will follow and imitate the things you do, YOU mold his fate. We have to pray for guidance, then lead with love and care. Our examples will either make them good or ? We have yet another great responsibility on our heads. But isn't it fantastic that our father in heaven has given us this opportunity to learn and progress. And wouldn't it be a shame if we abused this opportunity. "

He later wrote...

"Aug 10, 1978- ...All 6 contacts should be baptized. For a quick 24 hour fireside this one went the greatest. We did as the spirit directed and received the blessing for it. I cried for happiness tonight. This church means so much to me. I want my children to grow up in the gospel and someday go on a mission also. This is the Lord's church, this I know, for the spirit has revealed it unto me."

I wonder if the old man realized that the very words he was typing in his journal each night would be a major reasons his children have turned out the way we have.

Yes indeed, Dad was an amazing father. He would always randomly say good things like "Life is too short to be dishonest. We are so proud of you. I sure love you kid. You've got it so good you know. You're so lucky to have your spouse. Education is so important. Don't you dare join the army unless you're an officer first. You're so smart kid. If I was half as smart as you. If you mess up, fess up. etc...."
Now, don't get me wrong he had his fair share of completely inappropriate fathering techniques. For example, a few of the family favorites:

1) A stiff dick has no conscience. Dad thought that this one was so clever that he couldn't even contain himself from only telling me and David. He proceeded to shock us by telling all our friends. Andy in particular seemed horrified when Dad explained it to him.

2) It's better to want something you don't have than to have something you don't want. This would sometimes be replaced by the similar Don't trade what you want forever for what you want in the moment. This clever little phrase was so often repeated to David and I that he actually made us commit it to memory and say it back to him when we left with our friends or on dates. On at least three occasions he made me repeat it to him in front of girls. The funniest thing is, that David and I had no clue what this meant for a really long time, we finally came to the conclusion that he must mean that it's better to want sex and not have it than to want sex, have it, have a baby and not want it.

3) More than two shakes and you're playing with it. OR the similar... You'll go blind! Dad started telling David and I this when we were like 5 in lieu of having the dreaded sex talk (which we never got). Again, we had no idea what in the world he meant. He would just say one of those two things out of the blue at random times and then go off giggling to himself.

4) You're home late, lick your fingers. I forgot about this gem. Jodi still doesn't get it.

5) Remember who you are. Which went nicely with and was always followed immediately followed by #6.

6) Return with honor. A true dad classic.

7) If I found out you're gay I'd kill you! My father was absolutely PARANOID that either David or I or both of us were gay. He fixated on it constantly. He was certain that we were gay. It didn't help that Miles would occasionally call and leave a message on the answering machine that went like this "Taylor, just tell your dad. He won't be mad. He'll understand! My parents understood when I told them. We love each other! Don't let you dad get in between us." And it didn't help that some people thought it was ok to refer to David and Kenny as the Thompsons, I guess we know who the guy is in that relationship.

8) You're grounded indefinitely! This was especially relevant to David who referred it. The poor child was grounded his entire life.

9) The poo poo train, the poo poo train, Everybody rides on the poo poo train. Dad loved this little jingle. He'd sing it all the time when we were getting potty trained. We would sing along too. The problem was that it sorta lost it's novelty when we got older and he'd still sing it in front of our friends expecting us to sing along. (important note: I thought I'd add a funny picture here of a poo poo train. However, upon doing a websearch of poo poo train I can fully discourage that any of you make that same mistake.)

10) Don't even think about coming home high cuz I've used them all and I'll know. True as the gospel. There was no foolin the man on that front. The old man made all the mistakes so we wouldn't have to.


Chelle and Aaron said...

How did you not get the sex talk? That memory is burned into my subconscious by mom...not mom, in front of Cindy and Katie Peterson (with Cindy humming loudly so she couldn't hear and Katie asking entirely way too many questions). Not a pleasant experience. But I do love dad's parenting style and I will probably use a lot of it (edited of course) when I have my own kids.

Ryan & Alicia said...

Well....looks like you pretty much covered it. That man had some strange way of being such a great parent, but a good friend too. I loved how he would always repeat these "words of wisdom" even in his last days, they were a part of him. I love the journal entry. Dad had no idea that he was creating such a legacy by his words and actions. I'm not sure if he ever really put it together, God used him to accomplish soooooooooo much.