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August 1, 2014
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I Hope They’re Better than Me

One might think by the tone of my past columns I prefer to make light of the things my children do rather than praise them for their achievements in my writings. That would be the correct assumption. Where’s the humor in writing about the A my kid received in Algebra or the honor roll worthy report card both of my daughters brought home after the last grading period. Neither of which happened, but if it ever did I can guarantee there would be joyful laughter emanating from the Berry household on that day. To my wife’s chagrin, my daughters are no better than me when it comes to school work. I was an average student and they have followed directly in my footsteps.

Now that I have grown older I realize the importance of education and want my kids to achieve more than I ever did. I didn’t set the bar very high so it shouldn’t take too much effort. Aside from each of the girls taking turns at being grumpy, hating their parents because we grounded them and, my favorite, constantly fighting with each other, I have two really good kids. For 15-minutes a day when they aren’t in one of the above categories, they are fun to be around.

As a parent, I get frustrated when they don’t reach their potential. I also get frustrated when they don’t listen, argue, lie, and smell bad.

But I also celebrate with them when they find something they are good at and excel.

My youngest daughter is part of a very good cheer squad and I had the opportunity (my wife made me go) to see her perform a few times this year. Even though cheer is not my thing, I was a proud daddy watching her do her thing. I was even more proud when she didn’t drop the girl she had to lift – even though her legs were a little wobbly a couple of times. For their efforts they won a few competitions, including nationals. I would say I taught her everything she knows, but I could never demonstrate how to jump up and do a toe touch. I can barely reach my toes when I bend over. I should make a deal with her – I’ll pay for cheer if she clips my toe nails. Now that’s a real toe touch.

 My oldest daughter is a freshman in high school and has done really well in track and field. I should clarify – my daughter has barely seen the track, let alone run on one. She has done really well in shot put and is starting to do a little better in discus. I figured it would take her a year or two to be able to place in some of these events, but she has shown she can throw with some of those that have more experience. To help her reach her full potential, we bought her a shot put and discus. We also bought a $100 pair of throwing shows. I didn’t know such a thing even existed. The bottom of the shoes are slick, which helps her spin. I suggested she use an old pair of tennis shoes that had been wore out. It would have saved us a hundred bucks.

I’m not the greatest parent in the world and I’m sure I would never be asked to teach a parenting class, but my wife and I agree on our goal for our kids. They get tired of hearing it, but we want them to be better than us.

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