y buddy Carter Gaddis (see? I spelled it right this time) at Dadscribe.com recently made a splash with his post “9 Things That Han Solo Taught Me About Being A Dad”. Not to be outdone, fellow dadblogger John Kinnear at AskYourDadBlog.com responded with “6 Parenting Lessons I Learned From Dr. Who.” But listen, gents… there’s another action franchise out there that has lots to teach us about parenting. Let’s not forget:
6 Parenting Lessons I Learned From Indiana Jones
#1 “Asps. Very dangerous. You go first.”
Is there anything we wouldn’t do for our kids? If we could we would suffer every scraped knee, every broken heart for them. There is nothing more pathetic than seeing your child sick, or more terrifying than seeing your child hurt and knowing that there is absolutely nothing you can do for them. If we ever had to cross a seething pit of poisonous snakes, we would venture down first to make sure it was safe before we ever let our precious ones even step foot inside. But of course we also know that the challenges of life are what make you grow. Without the skinned knees and the broken hearts our children wouldn’t have the tools they will need to navigate adulthood, and so “you go first” moves from the third-person to the first-person. Eventually there comes a time where you have to stop yourself and let your child take the first shaky steps into the dangerous unknown.
#2 “Who knows? In a thousand years even YOU may be worth something.”
What parent doesn’t feel like they’re taken for granted. We are taken for granted. We SHOULD be taken for granted. We pour our heart and souls into our children and of course it goes largely unnoticed by the very young people we are nurturing. At times it can feel soul-sucking. There are 1000 challenges during the day and most of the time we never know which ones we win and which ones we lose. But every once in a while you get that spark of pride when you see your 6yo look an adult in the eyes, offer a firm handshake and say with confidence “Hello. My name is…” We don’t do it for the praise. At best all we can hope for is that someday when they’re adults they’ll look back and say “My mom and dad did a damn good job.”
#3 “No time for love, Dr. Jones. We’ve got company.”
Sometimes I wonder how we even managed to make children #’s 2 and 3. Having children is absolutely draining. As if you weren’t tired enough after a long day of work, you get home and the next two hours are a battle to get them to eat dinner, a battle to get them a bath, a battle to get them in their pajamas and a battle to get them to go to sleep. By the time they’re all tucked in you’re so tired all you want to do is flip on something from TiVo and fall asleep before you get the chance to fast forward through the first commercial. If, by some miracle, you do have the energy for sexy-time, just when things shift into 2nd gear the baby in the other room calls out “Mommy! Daddy! Put my blanket back on!” And let’s not even think about what might happen if you forget to make sure the door’s locked…
#4 “Here, take this.” [[hands a torch to Marion]] “Wave it at anything that slithers.”
My buddy just announced that he and his wife are having a girl. This weekend via text message I fondly relayed a conversation I had as a newly minted father of a daughter with a colleague who had only one son. She told me “Here’s the thing. I have only one penis to worry about. You have…” she pointed a finger across the horizon in a long, slow arch, “all those penises to worry about.”
#5 “I don’t know. I’m making this up as I go.”
There are no instruction books for being a parent. Well there are, but none of them are worth a damn. Nature has a way of telling you when to be a parent, but nobody tells you how. Things come up every day that you didn’t expect, things you couldn’t possibly plan for. You question yourself, constantly. You agonize over whether you should have raised your voice earlier. You toss and turn over whether to let the baby cry it out or go in there for the hundredth time. What that miracle positive discipline strategy that all the parents are raving about at school is completely powerless on your own children. We remember what our parents did that seemed to work and avoid the mistakes we thought they made. But that covers about 3% of the total parenting experience. For the rest of it, you’re on your own.
#6 “It’s not the years, Honey. It’s the mileage.”
I look at pictures of myself as a new daddy and think “who the hell is that guy? That was 20 lbs ago. I barely had any gray hair around the temples, and while we’re talking about hair… DAMN! Look at all that hair I had!” Gone are the days of an impromptu romantic weekend getaway. Gone are the days of a mid-day trip to the gym followed by a lavishly cooked dinner. These are the days of wrestling matches on the front lawn, hauling the baby on your shoulders all day around Disneyland and stepping on wayward lego pieces with your bare feet in the middle of the night. I freely admit that I don’t know half the people in “People” who are allegedly famous these days, and all of a sudden I’m censoring my own music playlist, the exact same songs I had no problem playing when I was living under my parents’ roof. There is an entire ocean between 40 with kids and 40 without kids… and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.