Sometime during my fifth or sixth year of high school, I took a course called "CHE II." To this day, I have no idea what "CHE" means. Maybe I was in my revolutionary phase and mistakingly thought it was a course on Che Guevara, or maybe I thought the school secretary misspelled PE II, but for whatever reason, I took it. Obviously I'd passed CHE I and felt I needed a little more CHE-ing.
The two assignments I remember from the semester both reflect poorly on my parenting skills. The first was "Baby Egg." Modern high school students pack around realistic looking infants which can be programmed to be anything from colicky to constipated. In the late 80s, baby technology was still in its infancy and, for our parenting unit, we were supposed to care for a raw egg as if it were our own baby. I put mine in my jacket pocket and immediately broke it.
The second assignment was a letter to our first child, and mom kept this until the birth of Dylan. The outside of the coffee-stained envelope reads: "To my first child -- Bo Rowdy Hanna." It was written at the time when Bo Jackson was kicking-ass as a Raider, so I thought the name to be perfect. Obviously, I was expecting a boy.
I have the letter in front of me now and I'll share some pearls of wisdom from a seventeen year old. First, under no circumstances would I be strict. I decided that letting "you make your decisions on your own" would be wise and that I'd be around, somewhere, for support if little Bo needed it. Secondly, I wrote that I wouldn't set any expectations for Bo Rowdy. Even as a high school senior with a mushy brain, I saw the flaw in this thinking, so I changed it to, "I'm not going to set many expectations," because, I didn't want to "interfere a lot."
I think I'd envisioned fatherhood much like raising a kitten. Set out a little food, a dish of water, and a litter box, and next thing you know, little Bo is graduating from high school and we're all so proud. I ended the masterpiece with, "I better jam. See ya in a few years."
Fortunately, a few years turned into eighteen. Barely enough time to correct some of my flaws in fathering logic, but my ideas about a hands-off approach seem pretty stupid now. Although, I do still like the name "Bo-Rowdy."
Well, I'd better jam.