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Selfish Slacker Nancy Boys Don’t Read Their Kids Bedtime Stories. Real Men Do.

Posted by on December 23, 2011

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If you’re looking for a post on finding the perfect suit

If you want to find out how to choose the perfect wine

If you want to debate the advantages of different martial art styles

If you want yet another person glorifying the over-rated Teddy Roosevelt (it’s amazing how far a cool mustache can take a guy)…

… then this isn’t the blog or post for you. This post is for real men. Old School Men who come home after a hard day of work. Who feel beaten and tired, knowing things went about as far from ideal as possible. Men who will put on a pot of coffee after the kids are asleep so they can work more and alone. Men who know that, for a season, sleep becomes a luxury. Men who put the clamps on their aggravations and impatience so they can wrestle with their kids after supper, tuck them in their beds and read them a bedtime story. These men get no ego satisfaction or self-glorification in this.  They don’t get to look cool, slick or worry they have the right amount of shirt cuff showing from their suits.

They just read their kids a bedtime story as entertainingly as they can, then get up, go downstairs and burn midnight, one a.m., and two a.m. oil.

These are the real Old School Men.
Are you up for the challenge to be one of them?

And it is a challenge. Right now you’re about 2 google clicks from stories pages about “getting six pack abs” and “the perfect business suit”. You know, stuff that will make you as cool as the guy in the Dos Equis commercials. But guess what? He’s not real. Mastering your gut and mastering fashion can be challenging, but ultimately they amount to little more than vain, temporal pursuits Do you know what is universally challenging to every man? Fatigue.

“Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”
Vincent Lombardi

Mastering fatigue on the football field is tough, but at least the pros have thousands cheering them and multi-million dollar salaries. A dad who wants nothing more than to hit the sack after a long day has none of that. Yet an Old School Man will pick himself up and start story time more times than not.

I’ll let the child psychologists clue you in on the learning and comprehension benefits of reading to your kids. I want to look at some of the less academic, but equally valuable and Old School benefits of a nightly story time for the kids.

It gives consistent daily ritual & tradition

Kids need consistency because consistency equals stability. Everything, from houses, bridges and a child’s character needs a stable foundation to survive and thrive. House and bridges need footers and I-beams. Kids need the foundation of regular routine filled with character nourishing habits. Reading to children not only tells them that reading is important. It tells them reading is important to you and it tells them they are important to you in ways only time can show.

It puts good stories in their heads

Every meet one of those people who don’t have a TV in their house? If you have, you would know. Why? Because people who don’t have a TV like everyone to know don’t have a TV. It’s some weird badge of honor that’s a second cousin to an Al Gore carbon credit. Me? I’ve got a TV. A few of them. And sometimes when I turn it on I think the people without TVs maybe on to something.

I know most of the stuff I let my kids watch on TV is just that: stuff. Caillou. Bob the Builder. Not harmful. Just stuff, like the stuffing in a pillow. Books, on the other hand — now there’s a more dependable source of goodness, particularly when Dad does the choosing. Good children’s TV can be like an apple. It’s nutritious, brief and hardly a complete meal. A great book can be like a bowl of chili. It’s filling and has just about everything you need. (Regular readers are not surprised I worked in a chili reference.)

It gives you time with your kids without competing distractions

No distractions. No running around. No nothing. Kids in bed and Daddy holding court. Open to questions, “Wasn’t he afraid in that cave?” and discussion, “Would you be afraid in a cave like that?”

Share wisdom

All good stories have conflict, often between good and evil. A dad can guide his kids along the good path, using the characters in the story as role models of what to do and not to do.

It leads to wonderful talks

Sitting around in the dark with only enough light to read is about as close to a campfire setting as you can get indoors. It leads to conversation and bonding.

You can actually read books you’d enjoy.

Once kids get old enough, don’t feel you have to pick short, “finish in one sitting” fluff.
J.R.R. Tolkien rocks.
C. S. Lewis rocks.
Jules Verne rocks.
Louis L’Amour rocks
These four guys alone will give you a few years of bedtime story telling.

So I’ll say it again, Dad…

These are the real Old School Men.
Are you up for the challenge to be one of them?

Keep it Old School, my friend

The Old Man, Chris Dixon

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