This piece was co-written with the author’s husband, Nathan Glenn.
I remember my husband taking our daughter golfing for the first time and wondering if she’d enjoy it like he did. He’d dress our kids up in Pittsburgh gear, hoping they’d love the Steelers and Pirates and Penguins as much as he does. When we imagined our someday kids, he hoped he’d have someone that would want to play catch with him and go sit on the banks for hours fishing.
Now here we are over a decade into this parenting three thing, and our oldest has her own clubs to go out and golf with him, our middle child and now our son are his fellow cheerleaders during Pittsburgh games, and our son just started t-ball with him. All three love spending a beautiful day out fishing with their dad.
They enjoy these things he used to wonder if they’d enjoy. Though they share genetics, their love for these things isn’t because of them.
Recently, he and I were sitting at dinner, reflecting on our own childhoods. He mentioned how he became interested in playing baseball because he looked up to some of the baseball greats. I get that might be a common place where young boys and girls first get their love for something.
However, when I thought about myself as a young girl, it wasn’t the greats that influenced my love of the game. My dad was the reason I loved the game of softball so much. The first time my husband wanted to take our daughter golfing I told him, “She’ll love it because she gets to do it with you.” The reason I said that is because, as a young girl, I loved the game because I played with my dad.
Looking back, it was all the time that my dad spent with me—hours upon hours—in the driveway playing catch that fueled my love of the game. I loved that game, but it was also so well-loved because it was something I shared countless hours doing with him. Though those days are behind us, it was something that will always be ours.
My husband said how he hopes when our kids look back, despite everything else he had going on, they’ll remember the things they did with him. I assured him that, without a doubt, they will. A kid comes to love the things they love because a parent spends countless hours with them sharing, nurturing, growing that love.
Our own kids love to cook because they’ve grown up doing it with their dad. They love their sports because he spent countless hours coaching them. They’ll look forward to a game of golf because it’ll remind them of something they did with their dad.
They will love the Steelers because they loved dressing all up in their Steelers gear with him and waving those Terrible Towels at the TV screen. Well . . . that, and because you couldn’t stay in our house if you didn’t eat, breathe, and live Steelers football.
As parents, we wonder what kind of interests and passions we’ll share with our kids. After two generations of experiencing the father and child relationship, I don’t think those shared passions have much to do with genetics.
It’s about the time our kids get to spend with us doing the things we love doing, sharing in our passion for something that is special to us, that in turn, becomes special to them.
When it comes down to it, our kids love sharing experiences with us, they look up to us, and they will love doing the same things we love to do.
It’s not because it’s in their blood, but because these are the cherished times they got to spend gaining a little piece of their dad in learning how to swing a golf club, throw a fastball, cast a fishing pole, or simply root on the “good guys” while watching the game their dad so wholeheartedly loves.