July 25, my grandfather was buried—ironically on his 97th birthday. What does this have to do with Modern Gladiator? I’ve been going through the past articles that deal with what is a modern gladiator and wanted to take this topic to ask: What is a modern gladiator dad?
My grandfather was not a lovey dovey type of guy; the phrase “old school” is not even old enough to describe Marty. As a dad these days, our world is way different from our dads and their dads. After commuting, my grandfather would walk home from the train station and expect dinner to be ready on the table, or it was the end of the world—and it would be. Marty had his wonderful moments, but it is very different then how I am—or you are—as a dad.
The phrase ‘old school’ is not even old enough to describe Marty.
Marty’s parents were married until they passed, but my parents divorced after five years. Marty worked for the government until he retired (how rare is that these days)? Marty was more of a handshake guy, but I have no issues hugging. In other words? My grandfather and I were total opposites.
I was recently presenting a talk to a fatherhood convention and I started out with making a confession of not ever wanting to get married or have kids. How did that work out for me? It worked out great for us—us being my son and me. Connor and I had a wonderful relationship, even if every day was on-the-job training. I don’t even think the term “stay at home dad” was invented when Marty was first born. Today’s dads are more involved with their kids, and yes, we do change diapers as well. To me, being a modern gladiator dad is taking care of the kids as well as doing other chores like cooking or even not being afraid to admit that he cannot fix something.
Connor and I had a wonderful relationship, even if every day was on-the-job training.
We are past the days of the cliché of men not stopping for directions—heck, the newest GPS technology has Darth Vader telling us how to get to where we need to go. I have no issue admitting to you that my wife has replaced our disposal, fixed the dishwasher, and fixed the toilet. I know my place in those situations is usually handing her the tools. Marty would not allow that in his household! He would have most likely hired someone to do those things. When my son Connor was born, I was right there, not in some waiting room passing out cigars. (I did, though, pass out cigars at my next hockey game. Love a fine stogie like a wood tip Swisher Sweet.)
A modern gladiator dad is a mentor to his kids. I have made more mistakes in life, and I want to share those with my son and even my bonus daughters. When Connor asked me if I had ever done drugs, I told him the truth. Marty, on the other hand, was more of a quiet type. None of Marty’s kids ended up in prison, and I would say that’s a good thing. Marty’s actions spoke louder at times than his voice, and I would say the same for myself, but with today’s kids deep into texting, Facebook, or watching TV while surfing on their phone, we need to create a very open line of communication to compete with today’s technology. Mentoring kids today means turning off the electronics and just listening to them.
I have made more mistakes in life, and I want to share those with my son and even my bonus daughters.
There are days when I would gladly been a dad back in Marty’s time. Well—maybe. Mentoring kids really does mean to listen more than talk.
The biggest lesson I feel we need to teach our kids is to be financially responsible. Working with money is difficult when you don’t know how to save money, but don’t be afraid to ask for the help (yes, guys, this means you). None of my male role models ever sat down with me to talk about how to use or save money and, like I stated, we dads need to mentor our kids.
Marty left a lasting memory for me. When I was first born, he gave me a stuffed toy tiger. No matter where I have moved, that tiger has always been with me. When Connor was born, Marty did it again. Marty had his rough exterior, but he had his soft moments. Yes, I miss him because I loved talking baseball with him (even though that was as far as the conversations would usually go). I know he would think that hugs and changing diapers was really not a man’s job, but that’s what makes me the modern gladiator dad that I am today.
I know he would think that hugs and changing diapers was really not a man’s job, but that’s what makes me the modern gladiator dad that I am today.