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Development Dads - Small Miracles? - Toddler
Older Yet Wiser? Hopefully
Of all the nine fathers in the company, I was by far the oldest. I was forty-five when Taylor was born; so, I'll date myself from the baby boom generation.
The majority of us baby boomers, therefore, were raised and nurtured by our mothers. When the boys reached nine to twelve years old, the post WWII fathers then took over and post haste tried to re-work us into what they called 'real men', discarding all of what our mothers taught us by calling us 'sissy' whenever exhibiting what they deemed a 'female trait'. We were supposed to be boot camp tough and ready to put up our dukes at the drop of a hat. Believe me, dealing with bullying then was like a rite of passage. Almost every boy I knew owned a pair of boxing gloves, and almost every father and older brother I knew were giving garage boxing lessons. If you came home from school with a black eye, your dad treated you like you had just won a purple heart. Tough love? Debatable at least. This was the type of man who was embarrassed if his wife worked outside of the home while the kids were of school age. I knew a lot of mothers who joined the workforce after their last kid turned eighteen. Many of these women were the same who helped build the war machine after they turned eighteen. The men, I supposed were too busy fighting to realize the women in this country were completely industrious.
These fathers were definitely not into nurturing. My father, an extreme case, never once changed my diapers, fed me with a baby bottle, cooed over me and talked in tender tones, hugged me, or even disciplined me correctly. There were no timeouts, there was very little reasoning; instead, there was swift corporal punishment at home at school. There were too many male boomers in that era who were in the same male boat. Some realized there has got to be a better way, but there were just as many who just followed suit and perpetuated. There were the exceptions, but, for the most part machismo held court.
Add to this that there was also very little home schooling before kindergarten. It was then a robust manufacturing blue collar world and most parents had only completed high school. They were of the mind set that education was to be left to the teachers. Most of us didn't even start to learn to read until first grade. In contrast, my daughter was at least two years ahead of my first grade experience by the time she entered kindergarten.
It was not difficult at all to surpass my father when it came to raising and nurturing a child. All I really had to do, sad as it may seem, was the exact opposite of what he did.
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