Monday, August 13, 2007

Bad Dad Moment

I had a "Bad Dad" moment last Saturday. My wife and daughter were gone for a few hours, so I decided to take some time to try to install some software on my new computer. Okay, it was a game -- SimCity 4. My oldest son was sitting next to me, enthralled by the whole procedure, and my youngest son was just playing around us on the floor.

Well, I proceeded to install the software, and went to execute it, but it didn't work. I knew the software was somewhat old (built for Windows 98/NT), so I tried adjusting the compatibility parameters of the software to see if it would work with the current operating system (Windows XP, which I adore, by the way).

There's an icon on the desktop. My son kept pointing at it. I tried something different. He said, "Just click the icon, Dad!" I clicked it to show him it didn't work. "Click it, Dad!" I did again (nothing happens). I tried something different. "Click it!" Click (nothing happens). I go to check online at the website for help. "Click on it, Dad!" I read a couple of forum posts on why the program won't start. "Come on, Dad. Just click it!" Click (nothing happens). I find out there's a patch available, so I start to download it. "Click the icon!" The patch is downloading. "Click, Dad. It's right there!" Click (nothing happens).

You can see where this is going. He went on and on like that every few seconds. Soon, I snapped at him, raising my voice, and told him that I had clicked it over and over again and nothing had changed since the last time I clicked it, so why would it work?! "But just click it, Dad!" "I did!" I yell.

At this point, my younger son comes over, wedges himself between me and my older son, looks him in the face, and starts screaming at him in the same tone of voice I had just used with him. Instant guilt.

It was a "Bad Dad" moment.

Why can't little kids learn from and model the patient, quiet moments in life? Why do they so easily pick up on the moments of weakness?
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P.S. -- I did eventually get the game to load, and started playing it, but it eventually winked off about twenty minutes into a game. I'm still scratching my head about that one. At that point, I decided to call it quits; I shut down the computer and he and I went downstairs. My toddler followed us, happily humming along.

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