Good Parenting comes down to ?two Ts,? not perfection

By Bruce Behymer

Last weekend I spent some quality guy time at Table Rock Lake with five outstanding men. We drank cheap lake beer, ate a lot of unhealthy fattening food, putted around in a boat and goofed off. An all-guys weekend is hard to beat.

Bruce Behymer - Photo by Fred Solis

One topic of conversation that kept coming up during this excursion was our children. All of these men are incredibly busy, and yet they are all committed to spending time with their kids. One of the guys was even so brave as to have a gaggle of his daughter’s cheerleader buddies out to his cabin one weekend. The thought of a bunch of screaming and giggly girls scares me, and I even have a daughter. Jeff, the dad and host, said that he and his wife kept everyone busy with hayrack rides, tons of food and loud music. Those two had about as much fun as the girls did. That’s good parenting.

One thing that we all agree on and feel very strongly about is that kids, even at a very young age, need to be able to communicate with adults. Even though we are in an age where texting and social media dominate, kids today still need to sit down with grown ups and carry on a conversation.

That’s why I insist on anyone who is brave enough to try dating my wonderful, strong-willed and intelligent daughter have a conversation with the family on the ol’ Behymer porch.

I don’t want anyone there out of protest. I don’t want someone acting too cool for school. I want to see a young man with a firm handshake who’s able to look me in the eye and have a conversation. Because if he doesn’t know how to communicate, I doubt he’d make a very good match.

I don’t care if he’s awkward. I’d be awkward too if I had some weird old man interrogating me about bigfoot in his back yard. But I digress.s

One of my favorite dads is my best friend since kindergarten. He has two beautiful twin boys. Every night, he and his wife pile everyone?kids and dogs?into their bed for family time, which consists of reading and talking. No phones, tablets or television allowed. They are doing it right.

Parenting is hard, and no one is perfect. I’m certainly not; just ask my daughter (I guess I yell a lot). I figure if I can get the two Ts right, talking and time with my children, my odds of having really good kiddos who will grow up to be successful adults will increase dramatically.

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