Noah, my five-year-old, is not happy. It was past his bedtime and he was grouchy.
We got home late from watching our school's district volleyball game, and we all jumped in the shower. Well he wanted to go to bed. So I forced him in the shower.
And he starts with, "I don't like parents."
I said, "Really, how would you get along without parents?"
He said, "I don't need parents."
"Well, Noah," I inquired. "How will you eat?"
He says, "In my bank I have $14."
"Noah, what are you going to do when those $14 run out?"
Then he says, "I can make money." Now he is saying all this with this scowl on his face.
"I can do my chores. I can fold my laundry. I get money for sleeping (I give him a $1 if he sleeps past 7 am and $2 if he sleeps past 8 am. You would to if your 5-year-old kept waking you up at 6 am on a Sunday morning). And I can help around the house."
"Noah, who is going to pay you for doing your chores?"
Then a big smile comes across his face. The smile that says, "Oh, you got me."
I tell him how much I love him and need him in my life.
Okay a funny story that will lead very nicely into today's topic.
Let me do a little background information. Andre became a professional tennis player at the age of 16 (he is 39 years old).
He has won 8 Grand Slam events. He won in prize money over $30 million and was said to make about $25 million A YEAR in endorsements.
Okay, so I am reading a People magazine in the lunch room in our office, and I read he has written an autobiography.
In the book he talks about how he hated his father.
In the book he talks about how he hated tennis.
And in the book he talks about using crystal meth.
Now let's break this down.
He doesn't like his daddy. I have talked about this in the past. How far do we push our kids?
Well, it was apparent from the article that Andre's dad pushed him.
I am so sick of hearing about people's daddies. I am so sick of hearing about people blaming their parents.
(Let me rephrase that. I can get when people talk about not having a father. This is something I want to hear about. When someone's father is abusive and addicted to drugs. Yes this is something worth talking about. )
I think that book Tweak really jaded me. This drug addicted kid, that just liked being high better than he like being sober, was trying going to try to blame his dad in this book. When is he going to be old enough to be responsible for his own actions?
There is no golden rule about parenting. It is so hard. And us parents are just trying to do the best we can. Now, if my kids grow up screwed up (and I pray every night they don't) it won't be because I didn't love them or I didn't try.
Am I perfect? No
Am I going to screw things up? Yes
But who doesn't.
I just got this email this morning. I have received it before. The email says that Bill Gates was in a high school class giving a speech and these are some of the excerpts.
Rule 1 : Life is not fair - get used to it!
Rule 2 : The world doesn't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.
Rule 3 : You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.
Rule 4 : If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss
Rule 5 : Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.
Rule 6 : If you mess up, it's not your parent's fault , so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.
So Andre's dad was tough on him. I can see that. I can see a dad thinking that his boy has talent and that if he just pushed himself he might be able to be great. He might be able make some money playing tennis.
I guess there are ways of doing this. Tiger and his dad (and his dad pushed him pretty hard) were best friends. Sean O'Hair (professional golfer) and his overbearing step-father haven't spoken in over 5 years. (This story was on 60 minutes. His step-dad spent over $2 million on Sean's golf swing. His step-dad made Sean sign a contract that half of his winning would go to the step dad. Oh he made him sign the contract when he was FIFTEEN YEARS OLD)
But these are three dads of elite athletes. They may have done it wrong but IT WORKED.
Now as a father would I rather have the money or my kid. I would say my kid 100 out of 100 times.
But I also know what it is like to have to go to work every day (okay, four out of seven days) and worry about the money in some capacity. I know what is like to work in a dog-eat-dog world.
And if there was a way that my kids could avoid this by playing a sport or acting in a movie...that is where the lens gets cloudy for some parents.
Just one more tournament, he is almost there. Just one more commercial, and I think she will get her big break.
Now the I HATE TENNIS thing really irks me. This 39 year old that has made over $300 million playing tennis. He won't have to work another day in his life. He will not have to set his alarm at 5:45 am to go to work. He will not have to use the sweat of his brow to make ends meet. He will not have to go in on a Saturday to help a neighbor kid. The only thing he might have to worry about is if he should get one or two professional chef's to go with him to visit his French chalet in the mountains.
Don't get me wrong I am not delusional about how money is not the only thing. I get that.
But I am surely not going to look this gifted horse in the mouth. I know I have it good. I know I have a great practice. I know I have a great staff. I know it is awesome to work with my dad.
I thank God every day for making me a dentist and putting me where I am at. I thank God for giving me the talent that I can use.
I love teeth. I love being a dentist. I love helping the neighbor's kids.
And for me to tell in my "tell all" book that I hate dentistry is a kick in the ass to everyone that has helped me get to where I am at today, even if my dad pushed me too hard.
(Now I realize that some people hate their job. I think this is different than hating dentistry. If you do hate your job...change it).
Lastly the crystal meth thing. What the hell is up with people these days?
What ever happened to the rebellious stage being all about marijuana?
But METH, this is some bad stuff. He said he was sitting around watching TV with a buddy or a rep or someone and the guy says, "Hey do you want to do some gack?"
This is Andre freaking Agassi and you are going to ask him if he wants to shoot meth with you.
Who the hell is he hanging around with?
Man, people are stupid.
Now maybe because he never had a childhood and all that crap, but hell, you can buy your childhood now.
Okay, I have to stop. I don't want to offend anyone anymore.
I must be in a nasty mood today.
I don't think any of you would be too offended by what I had to say.
I am would like to hear if you agree or disagree with me.
Have a great weekend.
But remember don't push them too hard...they could make $300 million and you don't want them resenting you for it. I said I would stop, so I am stopping.
Running 22 miles tomorrow. Marathon 24 days away.
The weather here has been PERFECT. About 60 as a low and about 80 as a high. Real nice.