I have two significant memories of my dad when I was really young, probably 4 or 5. One was a hot summer day in Saskatoon and the boys were all out in the back yard working on my mom’s extensive garden. My older dad peeled off his shirt, my older brother peeled off his shirt and my toddler brother was just in his diaper anyways. I was left the only shirted person there and I started to do the same when my older brother said, “NO! You can’t take off your shirt, you’re a girl!”
I didn’t even understand how those two things were at all related. It was hot out. I looked at my dad, “Dad? Can I take off my shirt?” and he replied “Go ask your mother.”
I learned how to deflect tricky parenting situations from him. Actually, my mom was pretty good at it, too.
There were a few things my dad taught me about consistency. He came home from work every day at 5:30 and we ate supper more or less right away. He would walk in the door and whistle (twice high, then lower) to let us know he was home. This whistle eventually evolved to him just calling out “foo foo” because this was easier than whistling I guess. (Few things in our family stayed one way ever, we had this always evolving language based on English what French my parents remembered from High School/Dutch/our childish misunderstandings of what the words actually were.). Every morning when I was young enough to wake up at 6AM, I would find my dad stretched out on the couch with a Bible in his lap. He would get up at 5:30 every morning to read the Bible and pray. As a very little girl when I watched him do that with probably more consistency than I saw him do anything else, I learned two very important things:
1) When my daddy says he’ll pray for me I know he will, and I know he will even when he doesn’t tell me he will.
2) Our children watch us and pick up on our habits whether we intend for them to or not.