Fatherhood odyssey: The power of nonjudgmental encouragement

Now that I’m back in Germany, I’m spending a lot of time with my two sons, and there was a beautiful experience of trust and courage we’ve shared together that I want to capture here.

Yesterday, I went to the playground with my sons and my oldest son. Told me that recently his mom and him stumbled over an old video where, when he was younger, he was maybe three years old.
[00:00:12]He would jump off of hype constructions and I would catch him. Yeah, he had such amazing trust in himself or me or both. That he would jump with such enthusiasm and no hesitation. She would throw his arm into the air as if he could fly. And he would not even look at me or the ground. He would just look at other people, the sky who would not have a care in the world.
[00:00:36]And there are some of these videos where you watch it. It’s just amazing. The amazingness about it. The thing that’s. So. Compelling about these videos is that you see how free he is. This zero hesitation, zero fear. The beautiful, beautiful was a beautiful display of his trust in me, And life. and now he’s eight, It tells me wow. Remember that when, when I was jumping and I had no fear, you would catch me every week. Wow. Wasn’t that cool? And I go, yes, son. That was amazing. I love that. It’s like, could you still catch me today? Cause I’m a lot larger. I said, I think I could, you know, not quite like you showed me one thing, we were on a playground and he shows me like a super high point.
[00:01:16] I’m like, I would be careful with that, but you know, all the other points from these points, I think I could do a good job. It’s like, all right, let’s try it. And the moment, the first moment we attempted the first try, it was a totally different game. Like. Avoid was a much smaller height. He now is much older and he had all kinds of hesitations at the beginning about it.
[00:01:44] And then you could see that he. At first was a bit hesitant and afraid. And then he was shamed that he was afraid. He was like, wait a second. I’m eight years old. I was two. And I didn’t care. Now I’m afraid. What is up with me? Something is wrong with me and so forth because yeah, it does all of the accumulation of like, be careful, don’t do this.
[00:02:07] Don’t do that. This is dangerous, but it’s also whatever, the amount of hours of stories he’s in TV shows and real life experience like, you know, between two and 80 head, about 10,000 little injuries, things that didn’t go well. and it took a good amount of time before he was. Actually attempting to jump in a way where he’s not jumping vertically, but he’s jumping horizontally.
[00:02:31] Like he used to, as a kid was jumping like his Superman. Right. Uh, and he’s not jumping as if he’s, if I don’t catch him, you still can land on his feet versus on his face. It took him a long time. And in parts, it was also this funny cycle where he would jump a few times and kind of like it and be excited about it.
[00:02:49] And then he said, all right, but I’m not ready to jump this other weight. And I would say, that’s always fine. It doesn’t jump anywhere you want. And then we’ll jump the other ways and then he would go, you know what? I think I’m ready now. Let’s try it. Okay. And then we’ll try it in mid. He would abandoned the move and I wouldn’t catch him.
[00:03:09] And then it’d be like, ah, I wasn’t ready. I was like, again, displayed no judgment. I would say that’s totally fine, dude. In the middle of the air, you get a little scared. That’s fine. You landed fine. I caught you. It’s all good. And you would see in the back of his mind, it was working as be like, ha fuck.
[00:03:23] Maybe I should do it. I don’t know. And then we’ll do a few more attempts and then he would say, I think, I think I don’t want to do this anymore. I’d be like, that’s totally fine. Let’s do something else. And two minutes later, he’s like, all right, I think I’m ready now. Let’s do it really. But this time for real was.
[00:03:40] This beautiful process from, I don’t think I can do it anymore too. I can do it, but only halfway through it to I’m doing it, but I’m abandoning it too. He did it the exact same way. And then he was so excited. It was like such a thrill when that happens. Right. It’s so beautiful with kids and the entire arc was his choice, his choices.
[00:04:03] All that I was displaying of that case was I’m ready and I’m willing we can do anything you want, but you don’t have to do any of these things either. And I’m not judging you. It doesn’t matter if it should be fun. We don’t have to beat what you were doing when you were to write and whatever, and that non-judgemental encouragement.
[00:04:23]When it’s true, right? When there’s really no judgment, no criticism, no speeches given, which is tough. Sometimes, especially as a dad to not be like, son, let me tell you about courage. No. Or sometimes fathers take this personally as like a criticism through their competence Sutton. I can totally hold you.
[00:04:40] Are you crazy? You don’t have a strong hand. I can only do this. Just trust me. Just do what I’m telling you. Just jump, jump right now. It’s like, it’s not helping, it’s not helping. Um, but when you. When you reach that point where you’re truly judgmental, you’re like, I’m just here to have a good time with you.
[00:04:57] If you’re ready and willing, we’ll do it. And if not, we’ll do something else. And then to see kind of the kid, the child go through this back and forth of testing of trying of pulling back of pushing forward until he had reached that point. And then it’s his victory. Does his growth. He accomplished that it was not that’s coaching.
[00:05:21] It was also not that threats. It was not that’s courage that pushed me. It was my own courage. It was just dad’s love that helped me and caught me while I was, well, it was on free fall to the ground, but it was not his courage that may be jumped. Right or his pressure or his demand or judgment. And it’s such a big difference like him jumping because I pressure him or did judge him, why push him versus him jumping?
[00:05:49] Because it was something that he wanted to overcome. And there was enough support around that. He was able to go through that journey himself and end up. A little mini hero of his own prior limitation, just 20 minutes ago, he didn’t have the courage to jump. And now he worked his way to that courage. Uh, it was a beautiful little, you know, 20 minutes, um, experience before and after.
[00:06:20] We’d never done that before. Since we’ve never done it since he’s been two and he used to do it all the time. Um, and so it was super fun to do that yesterday with him and his younger brother had never dumped that weight. And so yesterday he attempted to some versions of this, but he was not quite ready to get to this Superman, you know, I can actually fly stance and that was fine too.
[00:06:41] We, we still had a really good time with both of them jumping around and me catching them. And always pretending it’s not a problem at all. Once or twice, it was a little bit of a problem. This is also death thing to do. Like you guys are super late and I have no issue catching you in mid air.
[00:06:59] Uh, you know, yesterday, uh, I had also a little, I had a little moment where I felt. Back into the, into the pattern of creating internal resistance. When Georges is quitting something or talking, it was way out of something that he doesn’t like, because he can’t instantly do it. Well, like he, his brother was, um, Well skateboarding, but attempting to learn skateboard.
[00:07:37] And this is the thing that’s beautiful about Leo. Leo is much better at trying difficult things and keep at them until he masters them, even when it’s difficult for him in the beginning. And so Leo kept trying is where on the skateboard. And, you know, sometimes I would tell him some correction and he would be like, no, this doesn’t feel right to me.
[00:07:59] So, you know, I’m not going to do that. Um, and sometimes he would listen to me, but sometimes he would fall, but he would just, it kept going and Georgia stood on that skateboard for like two seconds instantly like lose balance. And then it was like, I’m not skateboarding. Like skateboards, skateboards are dumb.
[00:08:21] I don’t need this dah, dah, dah. And I could feel me getting triggered again about this. And we had like a week, maybe a seven second conversation until I caught it. Like until I mentally catched myself and said, wait a second, what am I doing here? I just had to let it go. The other thing that I, that I caught yesterday was they don’t mention this to you, that I want to tell them a lot more about me being bad at things, or having been bad at things because all they see me as being competent.
[00:08:55] And knowledgeable. And yesterday I saw a little moment like that, where George got a little toy. It’s co it’s a string with two attached. Um, I don’t even know it’s hot stones, but almost like pieces of porcelain or some hay. It’s hard to say like two like little cubes and a string in the middle and it’s done in a way it’s a Greek.
[00:09:23]Thing where you can play all kinds of like hand games with it. You can make these strings on the stuff, like make tricks with your hats and play with it, right? If you, but you have to practice the movements to play around with it. So you got this as a gift from his grandma. Um, and he shows it to me and he goes, look at what grandma gave me.
[00:09:45] Did you have this as a kid? Do you know how to play with it? And instead of going. Yes, show me what you can do. I just instinctively was like, Oh yeah, I do remember this. And he gives it to me and I start playing with it. And I instantly, there was a time where I played with it a lot. So instantly was able to do a bunch of tricks with it.
[00:10:05] And he was amazed by this. Obviously he looks at it and goes, wow, you’re really, wow. You’re so good at this. And then. He goes, he takes it back to show me some tricks that he did. And you could tell her instantly as he started it, he compared his tricks with mine and all the wind was out of his sails. And then I noticed the turn.
[00:10:30] I was like, Oh, no deal. But it’s the late. I didn’t notice it before. Uh, eh, Even before the, you know, before then, like Leo was doing the skateboard thing and then he’s like that, you know, the skateboard I’m like, I just practice it for a few weeks before I moved to the U S I was never really good. And I jumped on a skateboard and I drove a little bit, like I didn’t do anything crazy, but to them, I look very competent on the skateboard.
[00:10:55] So they’re like, well, you know, it’s this world that like any fucking thing he does, he’s amazing at it. And I’m like, ah, I have to work on showing them how bad I am in how many things so that they’re okay with it. Because like, especially Georgia’s who is much more ambitious. He has these, the patients that he has to be amazing at everything because his dad seems to be amazing at everything he touches, you know?
[00:11:25] And then I told, I told them that, you know, when I was younger, I had a skateboard, but I never skateboarded because I wasn’t, I didn’t feel like I was good at it. And I. Sort of expect them to go. Oh, okay. Yeah, sure. But then they’re always amazed at it. Like yesterday, this is not an amazing statement in my world, but George’s went really, really I’m like, yeah, dude, I, I was not good.
[00:11:47] So I stopped when I was like, 12 or 13. I wish I hadn’t stopped, but I did not skateboard. It’s like so amazed. I did not know that you ever quit anything. All right. Mental note, I may have to make a list of all the things I sucked at and talk a lot more about it, you know, make it a lot more acceptable to be better at things.

Leave a Comment