Well the big news in my life right now is that wifey’s pregnant, I’m going to be a dad, and Sonic’s going to have a human-puppy sibling.
This being our first time, it’s freaking us out a little. I mean, I think I’m a pretty good Pops for Sonic, but this is something else entirely. I desperately want to be the best dad ever, because I don’t think I can live with being a lousy parent.
I thought maybe I should read some books about parenting… like Chicken Soup for the Father in that Harry Chapin song. But I don’t know… good parenting is so subjective, and I totally do not want to be a Tiger Dad.
That’s when I thought of a better idea: Learn from TV characters.
I’m going to go and rewatch those TV shows that depict parent-child relationships that I like and can aspire for, and then I’ll note down all the aspects of these relationships that I would want for my own.
I’m not saying that TV relationships are particularly realistic or anything, but I can definitely use them as references. There are tons of different types of parents on TV, ranging from bad ones like Al Bundy in Married with Children to good ones like Eric and Tami Taylor from Friday Night Lights.
But while thinking through them and compiling my list of research material, two characters immediately came to mind: Lorelai Gilmore from The Gilmore Girls and Keith Mars from Veronica Mars.
What I really like about the relationship between Lorelai and Rory is that they’re friends. They talk to each other a lot, and they understand each other (except for the hiccups in the later seasons). There is still that line that says one is the parent and one is the child, but that line is really blurry and neither party focuses on it much (except in the aforementioned later seasons).
I think I really want that with my future kid. I want to be able to talk to him/her, and hear all the uncensored gossip from school and how they are really feeling. I want Beanie (our current non-gender-specific placeholder name) to feel comfortable talking to me. We can have differing opinions, but that doesn’t stop us from sharing them with one another and being open to new ideas. Lorelai and Rory have different tastes in music, but that doesn’t stop them from talking about it all the time.
I figure that communication is a two-way process, so if I’m going to be a Lorelai, I’m really going to have to work on my listening skills, especially when Beanie becomes a teenager. I’ll have to listen and know when to shut my mouth and just let Beanie vent.
Keith Mars is like that too. He has a really close relationship with Veronica, and I think that’s because he places a lot of trust in her. I mean, he trusts her to go out and do private detective stuff on her own. Well, he’ll insist that she brings Backup the dog along, but still that’s quite a lot of trust there. Veronica repays this trust by being pretty open and truthful with her dad.
So I figure that if I want Beanie not to shut him/herself away, I have to start preparing myself to trust a kid not to go hurt him/herself. A lot easier said than done, I’m sure, but it’s something I’ll need to try to do.
Keith is also pretty supportive of whatever it is Veronica wants to do. If Beanie turns out to be a girl, I figure I’d have a pretty tough time trying to accept the fact that she wants to be a sleazy private detective instead of like, I dunno, a doctor or something. But once again, it’s one of those things that I’m going to have to try to do.
I realize that these two highlighted relationships have the inherent danger of becoming too chummy to the point where the kid doesn’t respect the parent as an adult/parent anymore, but I feel it’s something I really want. I definitely don’t want it going to a point where I’m constantly saying “Do as I say, not as I do.”
There are other things I’ll need to strive for too, such as always making time for Beanie and not being an absent parent (a la that Harry Chapin song – which freaks me out), being able to afford a good education for Beanie, and in the event that Beanie is a girl, not killing every boy she brings home.
Wifey thinks I’m over-thinking things and that I’m worrying too much… but ah well… Maybe I’ll go and try to find that Steven Martin movie Parenthood.
PS I just realized that both highlighted parents also happen to be single parents. How did that happen?