I don't think I mention enough the great importance of the man I love in our lives, in my life. When I dream of what sort of people my children will be when they grow up, their father is the role model of a loving, unselfish, disciplined, impassioned, life-long learner I hope they will become.
I can teach them about so many things; make sure they can read and count and know a bit about the world now and in the past. Yes, I believe fiercely in education, travel and hard work...but an educated, well-traveled, hard-working yet cold-hearted, greedy, power-monger is a more dangerous entity than an uneducated, lazy one. The latter will know better how to work the system and do more damage.
Kindness and a strong sense of accountability are to be developed as they move through childhood and out into the world. There are ways to cultivate it, as I try to cultivate wonder and curiosity too, but the best method is to have a good example of it right in your own home and heart. The ways their father proves this love and responsibility every single day, are, for starters, in the long hours he works. They are in the care he takes of us and the extras that go beyond it all. He is the one who will stay late to help with a church or show choir event, and still be up on Sunday morning making pancakes for everyone. He will take the sheets to the washing machine in the middle of the night while I help a sick munchkin get into clean jammies. He'll make sure the snow is shoveled for me, even if I have to leave at 4:30am for work. That's love.
I HATE the presence of phones, i-pods and computers at our table at any time...but I have to admire the ease with which we can share new information with each other. Thierry is an advocate for technology, and he is amazing at finding and sharing relevant, fascinating stories with us about events and people past and present.
He uses the library; reading books he has heard of, books on topics he is pursuing (favorites: computer technology, relationships, money management, science and biographies of old heavy metal stars), and books he finds out on shelves that peak his interest. Duncan has picked up on his style; reading an eclectic mix and sharing endlessly with us bits and pieces of what he reads, both in books and on his dreaded i-pod. Cate emulates this in a different way; checking out each week a monstrous number of books on topics ranging from naval architecture to learning Italian.
As for self-control; Daddy wins every contest. There can be cake, donuts, fresh bagels, candy and soda in every corner of an office space, and he will calmly ignore it all, warm up his lunch from home in the microwave and eat it, rejoicing in his thrift and calorie-consciousness. He gained 4 pounds while in Germany a couple of weeks ago; he's lost them again already. This does not mean he does not have all the "savoir-vivre" of the French. A seven-course meal with wine is one of his greatest pleasures in life, especially if there is a drop of good armagnac to follow.
And he's funny. He is way more fun than Mama. The kids used to have a "Mama's Gone Dance" they would do if I were going out, leaving Daddy in charge. Of course, he made this up to keep them from getting sad, but they would jubilate all over the living room if he started up the song. I think they still do.
His enthusiasm for adventure makes life a joy. He loves his travel time for his job, and, once we get everything packed into the car or plane, even likes to explore new worlds with the whole family. Although homeschooling was not an option Father would have Thought Best when we first started, at all. his support and belief in me have made it the marvelous experience it has been thus far. Thank you, honey!