Hope every father out there had a wonderful fathers day!
Hi friends, being a father has been the one of the greatest roles of my life. When I was awarded custody of my daughter 6 months ago everything changed in the best way possible. For many years I had struggled getting time with my daughter even on the short weekends that were legally scheduled. I missed quite a few fathers days but now everything has changed and I am quite enjoying being a father full time.
In theory you can be a (by-standard parent) that engages when with their child when necessary, but I really wanted to be more than that. Of course she is starting to pull away a little here and there due to standard adolescence, but I try to hang in there and really make an effort to have truly unique and meaningful experiences with her. I truly think I have forged a relationship where I can be both a father + friend while sneaking in a little wisdom and skill set in at the same time. My label has already changed from "Daddy" to "Dad" so it might be short lived.
Most kids now are WIFI fiends spending massive amounts of time on tablets and other devices. My objective was limiting the mindless content to a minimum, but attempting to keep her engaged and excited about creating, building and discovering. The medium is almost never the enemy, it's how you decide to use it. When a child accomplishes something and can truly experience the raw rush of creation, completion and satisfaction, in my experience a powerful seed for their future is forged almost instantly.
I recently read a book called "Mindset" by Carol Dweck that distinguishes between 2 types perspectives, people with a closed mindset and people with an open mindset. In as little as a nutshell an Open-Mindset model is one of continuous forward thinking and learning while framing your mistakes and ignorance as an obstacle and positive journey to be made. A Closed Mindset on the other hand being the judgement avoiding learning model that sticks to what it's already good at while trying to maintain a novel academic beacon for display and status. The proven overwhelmingly obvious benefits of attaining an Open Mindset are made apparent in this book and in the process really got me thinking a great deal about how I am parenting.
Saturday and I have been doing allot together now that she is living with me. One day after finishing a pretty challenging hike with her, she said "Hey Dad, we should start our own YouTube channel" and I said, "Sure, why not" thinking to myself she would forget about it as soon as we got home and jump back into the Minecraft void for the rest of the day. We did not get home till late and I was a little tired from the day hike, but Saturday insisted on going down to my office so we could start our first vlog episode.
Originally I was always the type of Dad that would entertain temporary projects everything from Sofa Forts to creating custom Cat Ear Headbands but they were always short lived. I had a good chunk of my camera and lighting equipment already set out from a local video project I did the week before so I went ahead and set it up. We sat down, transferred all the video we had collected together that day to my desktop and put an outline down on paper. I went over some of my camera equipment with her, showed her first hand how to set shutter speed, aperture and FOV settings, it was quite surprising how interested she was. She set up the lighting while I explained standard fill light, key light, hair light to her.
After we were done shooting the A-Roll it was kind of late, but she was all excited about getting it uploaded so I pulled up a chair and we edited our first episode together. She was quite the director while we experimented with different pieces of footage and audio. When we uploaded the final edit she looked up at me and said "Thanks Dad, We should do an episode every week."
Today we are putting episode 7 together and it has become quite a habitual creative time for us not only to bond as father and daughter but also to discover and progress with our new hobby. No, we don't have thousands of followers, just a hand full of family members, but in her eyes, we are internet gods and watching her confidence grow and interest develop is a marvel. In a few short weeks Saturday has learned how to plan, set up, shoot and edit her own YouTube vlog videos. Now she is starting to understand that good things take time, effort and teamwork in order to create, but the sense of accomplishment is very much worth it.
I feel I have aided in putting together an original working model of an open mindset. Looking back, it was so important that it was put into motion. I truly believe it will serve her for years to come. We should all encourage open mindsets with our children. When they are young and open to new expressions of creativity is such a significant time, where their minds are solidifying maps on how to be, how to perceive, and how to behave.
Many people in this world are still living with a closed mindset perspective. Some people might switch direction later in life and others will stay that way for the rest of their lives, but if we can start the seed earlier the investment is limitless. Making this concept stick is not always easy, but always worth the pursuit for yourself and your child.
We have a chance as parents to show our children through the process of things that everything no matter what natural skills one has requires persistence, time and objective. Making mistakes is all part of the learning process, the fruit of an open mindset is a reward that keeps on giving.