If you’re anything like me you grew up sitting in front of a television eating cereal on Saturday mornings. I must admit that I wasn’t a cartoon fanatic like many kids were growing up. My entertainment of choice on Saturdays was wrestling. I would wake up and watch a minimum of three hours of wrestling every saturday morning. It didn’t matter what channel it came on, who was involved in the matches, or how many times I knew that the good guys were going to win. Actually, even if some of the shows were repeats I would still watch them like they were brand new. I had every wrestler and their signature move committed to memory as a child and on Saturday mornings I would plop down on the couch with my breakfast and watch my favorites like Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, The Junkyard Dog, Sting and more go to war with their opponents. And when lunch time came around I would be in the same spot watching more matches. The wrestling programs would be over at around 2pm and afterwards I would get up and go about my day. Usually, after the matches were done for the day I would go in my room and pick up my wrestling action figures and pretend to fight them inside of a toy ring. Often times I would reenact action from some of the matches that I had just watched.
Now that I am older and wiser(depending on who you ask) I look back on those Saturday mornings and realize something. I spent the majority of my Saturday mornings alone. Just me and the TV. My mother usually worked from home on Saturday, so while I was watching World Championship Wrestling or the World Wrestling Federation she was in the den working. She would come in to check on me, and I would go into the den periodically, but for the most part it was just me and the TV.
Even though those memories of watching my favorite wrestlers battle every weekend are etched into my brain, the one thing that sticks out to me is that I didn’t have a father to sit down with me and watch those matches. These thoughts didn’t dawn on me until recently when I was sitting in front of the TV with my own daughter. She isn’t a wrestling fan like I was, in fact she is the furthest thing from it. The Disney Channel is her Saturday morning vice. She knows every character on every show. And even though I swear I have seen certain episodes of ‘Shake It Up’ and ‘Wizards of Waverly Place‘ at least five dozen times, she will watch them and laugh like each episode is brand spanking new. As I am sitting there eating my Frosted Flakes (you’re never be too old for Tony The Tiger) and watching a seemingly endless amount of ‘Good Luck Charlie’ and ‘A.N.T. Farm’ episodes it dawns on me…THIS is what Fatherhood is all about. It’s not about custody battles or seeing who can spend the most money on material items. It’s not about what lawyer has the best court room strategy. It’s about spending quality time with your child and enjoying the spirit of God’s greatest creation.
As a father who doesn’t have full custody of my child, it s imperative that I build the strongest bond possible with my daughter whenever I can. So whether it be watching TV and eating cereal on a Saturday morning, teaching her to roller blade, or having one of our infamous burping contests I know that the time that we spend together is going to stay with her as she gets older. Hopefully, one day when she looks back and reflects on how she spent her Saturday mornings growing up and will remember the time that we spent together and appreciate our bond. I’m not saying that watching TV with your child one day a week makes you a good father. What I am saying is that sometimes we can get so caught up in the material things that we think our kids need that we forget that what the main thing that they need is consistent quality time with us more . So I encourage any father to evaluate the time that they are spending with their kids. Are you giving enough of yourself? Are you engaging in activities that your children are fond of? Are you exposing them to new and exciting challenges and opportunities? Take it from me, those few hours throughout the week that may seem minute to you are actually colosal in the mind of your children. Maybe one day my daughter and I will be able to compare the Jessie that she grew up with to the Jesse that I grew up with.