Parenting Through a Father’s Eyes
By: Ashraf Ashley El Gindy
To run a successful company, it’s important to constantly evaluate how you are doing in the market place and how efficiently you’re running the business. You have to step back a little to pinpoint what you are doing right and wrong, because this will help you make future plans and improve your business.
Being a parent is no different. It is also a job that requires constant reevaluation, and as the New Year provides us with the opportunity for a new beginning, now is a good time to share my New Year’s resolutions, the things I would like to change, concerning my daughter, Sasha.
So here goes. I will:
- Read to Sasha at least four times a week.
- Spend quality time with Sasha after her kindergarten class.
- Play games with Sasha.
- Talk to Sasha about everything from what happened at school to her opinions on various things.
- Expose her to different kinds of music and food.
In my opinion, this list is very attainable and short enough not to be scary. I believe that we often make wish lists that are much too long and ambitious, and then get disappointed when we can’t fulfill them. Short is good.
Now, you may be looking at my list and thinking, “What does this guy actually do for his little girl?” And to be frank, you’d be right to think that. In this fast-paced life, when it often takes two parents to be wage earners, we can so easily sell off our kids to school and television and end up not parenting at all but rather earning money to pay others to parent for us. I’m definitely guilty as charged. But it’s never too late to change. Let’s go through my list.
1. It is well documented that reading to my child will increase her interest in and understanding of the world and will probably result in her continuing to read for the rest of her life. And that’s not reading to Sasha parrot-fashion but acting out the story so that she feels involved. Take, for example, “Jack and the Beanstalk,” one of the stories we read together. Sasha loves looking at the pictures and adding her own sound effects.
When Jack hides from the giant, “Quick, quick, quick, quick,” cries Sasha
When Jack hurries down the beanstalk so fast he falls: “Boom!”
Why haven’t I read more frequently to my daughter over the past year? It’s beyond me.
2. Why, after kindergarten, do I usually pick Sasha up ad just drop her off at home? I know why – it’s easier. There are so many things to do at three o’clock in the afternoon, so I vow to take my daughter out more often to discover the world we live in. In Sharm El Sheikh, where we live, there are many beautiful pools and playgrounds that Sasha would enjoy.
3. When we were at home, I also vow to play games with my daughter. One of her favorites is pretending that we’re running a relay. She places one hand up against the wall and gets very dramatic as she yells, “Ready…Steady…Go!” and then dashes across the house to tag me. Then it’s my turn to run to the wall, touch it and return. Occasionally she runs back with me, which defeats the purpose of a relay, but who cares? Games teach children about all facets of life, and it is obvious that children learn more when they’re having fun. So games are in.
4. Limiting Sasha’s television watching needs no explanation. Television is full of rubbish and only serves to pass time. I am definitely guilty of using it to make my life easier, and that just isn’t fair to Sasha. So that’s another thing that I want to change, and I’m sure it will be easy. I’ve never known my little girl to say no to playing a game or reading a book or heading out on an adventure. Never.
5. As far as talking together, we’re only just begun to do this, mainly because Sasha has just started to talk. But I know if I talk to my daughter more often, her vocabulary will increase and her ability to converse will improve quickly.
Sasha’s cutest habit at the moment is that whether people ask her “Inti feyn?” or “Izayik?,” she replies in the same way: “Ana hina.” When I’m away and we talk on the phone, I ask her where Papa is, just to see if she grasps the fact that I’m in a different city. “Papa hina,” she always tells me. I guess she has a point, I am right there with her on the phone.
6. I’ve read so many times that expose at a young age to different kinds of music and food will increase a child’s acceptance of the fact that it takes all sorts to make a world. All I have to do is play different kinds of music in the house and car. I have a huge music library, so there are no excuses. Unfortunately, all Sasha hears now is Elvis Presley, Bruce Springsteen and country music. Not really much of a variety is it?
As for different foods, I love to cook, so why not take out some of those dust-covered cookbooks that I’ve bought over the years and try out some recipes on Sasha and her mom? I’m actually pretty good in the kitchen, and I could at least give her a good start on appreciating Chinese and Italian food.
And there you have it. My New Year’s resolutions. To be honest with you, after thinking about the things that I would like to change concerning my daughter, I wonder how I could have let time pass without doing these things before.
The answer is sad but simple. It is so easy to lose sight of what’s important in the life and concentrate too much on earning a living and getting ahead. And then time passes, and you miss the most wonderful gift that life has to offer: watching you child grow up and get ready to face the world, knowing that you have equipped her with all she needs to survive.
When Sasha was born I wrote a short poem. I hope I can fulfill this promise to her:
You laugh then you cry
I don’t know why
But I know
I’m going to love you anyhow.
You eat then you sleep
You wake and smile at me
And I know
I’ m going to love you anyhow.
I’m going to teach you how to love this world
And laugh from day ’til night
And somewhere along the way I hope
You’ll learn the difference between wrong and right.
This article is from our archives.
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