I was thrilled when this next Dad agreed to share his tips. Not only because he’s an extra special Dad, but he is also the big brother to a sweet young man named, Shaun Michael Bickerton (July 27, 1970 – July 3, 1988).
I knew with Darryl’s participation I would be able to weave the story of Shaun Michael Bickerton into this book. Shaun was a large and loving force in my life, so large in fact I named my son after him, “Michael.”
I felt it fitting that my son be named after someone with a strong character, someone who was kind. In my world the choice was clear.
My son would be named after Darryl’s little brother, Shaun Michael, a boy who respected me in a world of disrespect. At the time, I didn’t feel worthy enough to use his first name, “Shaun.” I selected Michael so as not to offend.
In short, Shaun was a super cute, funny (really, really funny) and popular guy. He could play the drums, knew lots about cars and was loved by all. I, on the other hand, was a fuzzy-haired girl with glasses, asthma and did not feel loved by anyone.
In high school, I asked four guys to take me to the winter carnival. Four guys said yes. Four guys backed out.
In the final hour I mustered the courage of a lion and, in complete desperation and little hope, I asked my neighborhood friend Shaun. He agreed. He too had the courage of lion.
Shaun gave no concern to his popularity and social status. He obviously didn’t know what bringing a girl like me to winter carnival might do to his reputation. Shaun also, had no concern that he didn’t have any dress shoes to wear.
Long story short, Shaun agreed to be my date, he found shoes and even a corsage. Off we went.
Now, this section is really about Darryl and Fatherhood; although I’ve said a lot about Shaun. I’m confident Darryl didn’t mind sharing this space with his little brother, not a bit. See, Shaun was Darryl and Darryl was Shaun. What you now know about Shaun, the same can be said Darryl.
Shaun could be all he was because he had the love and support of his big brother. They were a beautiful pair.
Time to give Darryl a turn…
Darryl, “Being consistent with expectations and punishments. At times I let them tell me what the punishment should be.” Tip 7
Darryl is the Dad to three young adults, bursting into independence. There’s no question his connection to his children, and his parenting practices, have given them all a solid foundation to begin building their lives.
Darryl mentions consistency in his seventh tip. I also felt strongly about being consistent in all areas, expectations and punishments. Like Darryl, I at times allowed Michael to determine his own punishment. Surprisingly Michael’s consequences were often much harsher than what mine might have been.
Consistency was certainly present in my parenting and in our lives. There were two things Michael knew for sure: 1) Dinner was at 5:30 2) At bedtime reading would happen. Those were two daily deliverables. I believe if any parent did only those two things right, they could do a lot wrong.
Michael also had some other constants, maybe not present in all homes. He knew who was in his home. He knew he would have food. He knew what was expected of him. He knew he was safe. He knew his needs would be met. Michael could find a fork, a towel, a pillow, and could count on us for ‘milk money.’ He didn’t have to think about these things, they just were.
Michael also knew discipline was consistent, although not often required. Consequences may have been different but addressing issues was an absolute. We consistently addressed behaviors, concerns, goals, standards, dreams and all things family.
Having stability and love gave his little mind a lot of room to grow. He wasn’t confused, tired, hungry, or afraid. He didn’t have to worry about what was waiting for him at the end of the day. His parents were 100% consistently there for him.
Without consistency every day is different and parental moods are unpredictable. In those homes confusion is so overpowering how can a child learn and develop. It’s kind of like putting a seed in a dish and hoping for a plant.
Things like mealtimes, bedtime routines, story times, morning kisses, and evening check-ins will provide security. Consistency doesn’t require money or a lot of time. The little things make a big difference. I know this for sure!
In a predictable environment a child will learn trust and will have more room to grow. Their little brains will make so many connections, their faces will smile, and they will learn to love in a healthy way.
Thanks Darryl, for all you’ve given to my life by way of your little brother Shaun. Thanks for your involvement as a Dad and for your participation in this book.
Know that Shaun Michael’s story, and his memory, rests forever in our family and in my heart. I’m proud to say the name “Michael” now sits in my next generation with my grandson, “Seth Michael.” I’m confident he too will continue the legacies of you and Shaun – one of kindness and love.
Side note: Darryl organizes an annual fundraiser in Shaun’s memory. Details can be found on Facebook by searching Shaun Bickerton. Check it out and see how you can contribute to his cherished memory.