Friday, June 22, 2012

A Dad Streaking Outlier

Lukas will turn five years old next week. 5 years!

In many respects that is amazing to me.  How can it be that I have been a father for nearly 5 years?  It really does seem at times like yesterday Mrs. LIAYF and I were holding a tiny newborn in our arms at the hospital, myself a little dumbstruck thinking about how I was going live up to the awesome responsibility of protecting and nurturing the fragile life that was gazing back at me through bleary eyes.

So far so good.

Today, I can report that after countless hours of sleep deprivation, worrying, tough decisions, and endless laughter filled days, I think I have grown nearly as much in these past 5 years as Lukas has. Which is significant.

But my growth, of course, has been as a parent. In the world of Malcolm Gladwell, I am actually now a Parenting Outlier.  That theory posits that to be truly successful at an endeavor one has to spend at least 10,000 hours practicing or participating in it.

Well, guess what? Lukas is now 4 years, 11 months, and 26 days old.  In hours that translates to 43,728 hours, and counting.  That would actually make me a dad Outlier 4 times over!

Yes, that's all well and good but I'm not foolish enough to think I have it all figured out.  I know that I don't.  But I have to say, the father that I am today is a far cry from the one who was initially afraid I was going to hurt Lukas every time I held him in those first couple of days.  Today, I am confident that I will make good decisions on my sons behalf.  That I am doing right by him.  That is a pretty amazing feeling, one that I am sure many of you share.  But it's certainly not one I will allow myself to take for granted.

I know that I have to continue to learn both with him and from him.  That I need to continue to look out for his well being, and let Lukas know that, along with Mrs. LIAYF, I am here for him whenever he he needs me (even when he thinks he doesn't) and most of all that I love him for exactly who he is.

That reminds me.  A while back I wrote a post over at Dad Revolution called #DadStreaking.

I'm happy to report that I am still streaking.  Those 4 years, 11 months, and 26 days that I mentioned earlier, well they also translate to 1822 days.  That is my current streak.  I have told Lukas that I love him 1822 straight days.

And counting.

How about you readers?  Are you a Streaker too?


neal call said...

That's interesting the way you describe outliers, and how you've now almost quadrupled Gladwell's benchmark of 10,000 hours. In some global or holistic senses, I think that works really well. But it also explains how new phases can be so tough for us to handle. Because each different phase could maybe be differentiated from the others, and we don't often get 10,000 hours of experience with that kids' phase before the next one starts, whether its the beginning of tantrums near age two, or that period when they're legitimately communicating but not really talking yet, or that phase where you can rely on them to have a nap starting somewhere between 10:30 and 11:00, and another a couple hours later.

Juli said...

Yup. I'm a streaker for two boys, 10 and 11. And for the bulk of it, was a single parent.

So needless to say, I'm too tired to do the math....

James (SeattleDad) said...

@Neal - Good point, and relevant for all those new phases you describe. But for being truly comfortable and confident as a parent in general, I think that 10,000 hour mark or perhaps about a year and a half, is a point where things start to smooth out.

Thanks for the recent comments. It's always great to get to know other dads.

James (SeattleDad) said...

@Juli - Wow, I bet. I am tired enough, with help and with only the one child. 11 years is an amazing streak! Thanks for stopping by.

BloggerFather said...

Happy almost-birthday. A couple of days ago, I was so angry that when he asked me for a hug I said, "No!"

But then he reminded me that I told him that no matter what, anytime he asks for a hug and a kiss, he would get it. So I gave him a hug and a kiss. Glad he reminded me.

carrie said...

I'm three kids in and my oldest just turned 4! I am tired so I'm very grateful you did all that math for me lol!

I am a streaker, probably the one thing I do really well is to say I love you. I need to tone down my frustrated responses and this is my goal for the next year.

Maybe I'll try and start my own streak of letting the little things go!

great post!

Diplo_Daddy said...

Parenting is the toughest job in the world. And every day I learn something new, about my son, about myself and life in general. I’m pretty certain Lukas is enormously proud to have you as his father. Keep up the good work!