OK, I know you’ve been chomping at the bit for this last one. Now that we have encouraged our wives and kids in their homeschool work, now that we have evaluated the homeschooling process we can finally start to…
fix things. Great! So, how do we do it? The short answer is this: lead.
When we were first married, my wife would ask me all the time about her hair. (Remember when you didn’t have kids then, and your wife had time to fix her hair?) Every morning she would fix her hair, turn her back to me and ask, “Do I have any hairs out of place?”
I swear that if I had seen a picture of how her hair should look, I still would not have been able to determine if any of her hairs was out of place. So, for a while, I would honestly answer, “I don’t know, but it looks good to me.” The obvious result was that she would spend another twenty minutes working on her hair and ask again.
I found this very frustrating, so one day I decided to lie. When she asked if a hair was out of place, I gathered a lock in the middle and said, “You missed this one, right here.” She quickly “fixed” that one lock and thanked me with a kiss. At first I thought the key was lying to my wife, but I eventually figured out that wasn’t it at all. It wasn’t a lie that my wife wanted, it was leadership.
With all of the gender confusion of our day, it can be disorienting to hear the simple truth that our wives want us to lead them in what is right. Perhaps they don’t word it like that. I doubt that my wife has ever said, “Will you please lead me?” However, my wife has often asked me to make a decision. She has often asked for my opinion or my input or my advice. What is this if not asking for leadership? What is this if not asking to be shown the way?
Men, don’t let these moments slip past you! When your wife asks you to make a decision, don’t passively say, “Well, honey, I decide that whatever you want is fine with me.” Your wife is not asking for compliance but for leadership.
Avoiding the leadership role is not always done from a passive position. Sometimes it’s out of respect. My wife knows a lot more about photography than I do, and I don’t presume to lead her in that. If she asks for input, I am often very quickly “out depthed.” I have noticed, though, that her photography questions tend to revolve around one thing: framing. I don’t know anything about ISO or shutter speed or depth of field, but I have gone out of my way to learn a thing or two about framing a good picture. When my wife (the expert) asks for help, I (the amateur) am able to give it. This doesn’t mean I know more or am better equipped; it just means that I took the active lead—even if just for one step—when she needed it.
“What do you think?” Whenever your wife says these words, you should hear in the back of your head a voice shouting, “Danger, Will Robinson!” Sometimes this is a request for a fix, but sometimes this is a request for sympathy. Pay attention; the difference is subtle and deadly. Here’s a good rule of thumb: if you’ve not taken the time to encourage and evaluate, it is probably not the time to fix it. If you want to fix something, you’ve got to understand what’s wrong first; you’ve got to be able to sympathize.
I will return once again to my imaginary baseball game. We are not very good coaches if we do not encourage the players of the field. We are not very good coaches if we do not pay attention to the game. Likewise, we are not very good coaches if we do not understand and then fix the issues. Whether it’s switching up the batting order or laying off the fastball or maybe trying to steal a base every now and then, sometimes changes will have to be made. Plays will have to be called and errors demand immediate attention.
Knowing what to do can be difficult. It requires a lot of time, a lot of thought, a lot of attention and a lot of decision making. We must be bold and decisive while at the same time be perceptive and adaptable. It is a heavy burden to bear, but I believe that we are men enough for the task.
Maybe our job is tough after all.
Return to 3 Unique Contributions…Part One
Return to 3 Unique Contributions…Part Two
This Father’s Day, and always, help him feel appreciated and cared about…
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