This is a post by Jeremy Skrdla, homeschooling father of 7 in Nebraska. You can learn more about him at our Blog Contributors Page.
Growing up, after Mass each Sunday, my Great-Grandma Dorothy and I watched the likes of Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan battle it out. Years later, I realize just how much being a good homeschooling dad and pro wrestling have in common. Here are five lessons from pro wrestling that will help win the World’s Best Dad Belt.
Much like a tag-team wrestler who escapes from a brutal submission hold, most evenings Mom is ready to tag in her partner. As Dad walks through the door and she makes that last ditch, diving reach to tag him in. The children gather, ready to pounce. Now, tired from a day at the grindstone, Dad must enter the ring, change the momentum, and muster what has to be one of the most epic comebacks in sports entertainment…err…family history.
Dad and Mom need to be a team. If you aren’t a team, your kids’ formation will suffer. When you get home, take a brief moment to change clothes and gather yourself, then jump into the ring. If Mom needs time to lesson plan, take a shower, or even enjoy a book in the solitude of her room, give her that time. If someone told you that there was a way to ensure your child’s success, you would answer the bell. Studies show that kids with engaged dads get better grades, are well adjusted, and are less likely to fall into a life of depravity. So answer the call! If Mom still has something left in the tank, be the tag team that looked defeated one minute and then goes on the offensive the next!
Children (particularly young boys) have so much pent up energy inside that they are likely to explode at any moment. When you get a chance, wrestle with them! Few kids can resist the chance to jump on Dad’s back and be flipped (safely) over his shoulder. Oddly enough kids really enjoy a (gentle) body slam. If you aren’t the kind of guy who likes to talk about feelings, playing physically with your kids tells them that you love them without words. Even better, as a homeschooler, you can count it as PE class!
It doesn’t have to be wrestling, especially if your kids are tweens or older (and could possibly take you). Kick a soccer ball around, play catch, shoot hoops, or just go for a run/walk. It is about spending time with them, time that Mom can be a part of or use to recover…err…get stuff done.
Play Mind Games
In wrestling, sometimes you trick your opponent into a mistake. You lay there looking beatdown while they climb to the ropes and dive off, only for a last second counter. Sometimes you have to trick kids into learning (exercising their mind muscles).
Our family loves hobby board games. Thankfully, games have changed since you were a kid. Instead of Monopoly and Candyland, you can fight deadly diseases (Pandemic), escape a desert storm (Forbidden Desert), or build a beautiful stained-glass window (Sagrada). These games are fun, but require you to think. For the cost of taking two kids to a movie, you can get a game that you will play repeatedly and teach your kids critical thinking skills.
It doesn’t have to be a board game. Play cards, find a name starting with each letter of the alphabet, or if you are extremely daring, challenge them to a quiz about their CSH memory work. It’s a lot of fun to trick kids into thinking.
Teach Them a Thing or Two
Every day, you will encounter many teachable moments. On a walk, point out the plants, trees, and animals you see. If you don’t know what they are, get a guidebook and learn together. While playing basketball, talk about angles when shooting. While loading the dishwasher, explain how it works. When you drive by a landmark, tell them about it. Maybe you can even take something from their memory work for the week (because you are listening to the CD, right?) and relate something to it. That street over there is Columbus Street – Who is that named after? This shows the kids you care about what they are learning. If it is important enough for you to know, then they will see it is important for them to know.
Know the Storyline
In pro wrestling, there are always multiple storylines going on. Everyone loves a good story, but children love to be read to. Even teenagers, though they will deny it, enjoy listening to a good story. Sit down, do your best voices, and try to narrate the story to help them see it in their imagination. Ten to fifteen minutes is plenty. If you are close to dozing, stand up and pace while you read. Reading aloud helps improve children’s vocabulary, gives them fodder for imagination, and keeps them busy during those ornery evening hours.
Each of these ideas are ways for dads to get into the ring, get engaged, and show their kids that they matter. By being involved, you build their confidence and make them feel valued. So dads, reach out your arm for that tag and don’t just crawl over the ropes, come off the top turnbuckle and be the legend you were born to be! With any luck, soon you can raise that championship belt above your head and bask in the chants of the crowd:
“D-A-D! D-A-D! D-A-D!”
This is a post by Jeremy Skrdla, homeschooling father of 7 in Nebraska.