Editor’s Note: This week’s post by Jeff @OWTK is one that will leave you rethinking your parenting plan. I am of the opinion that we’re not supposed to be our kid’s best friend. We are their parent. We guide them to do the right thing. However… I would want my girls to think of me fondly and not think of me as some sort of dictator. It’s a fine line. Read Jeff’s hockey analogy and let us know where you stand.

To borrow a popular public radio intro…This I believe: I believe it’s critical that my daughters stand united with each other. I believe that the strength of their friendship will be both the engine and the hull of a ship that will cut through the stormiest of seas. I believe that I’m willing to do anything to ensure that my girls are emotionally connected to each other for life…even if it means they hate me.

Most every proud American, sports fan or not, is familiar with the story of the 1980 U.S. Men’s Olympic Ice Hockey Team. What’s that, you’re not? C’mon they made ‘em into a Disney movie for goodness sakes! If you do need to be brought up to speed, here’s the quickie version: A ragtag collection of scruffy U.S. college kids enter the ’80 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY with little fanfare and even less expectation. They’d been plastered 10-3 by the dominant Russian team earlier in the final warm-up match before the Olympic Games and with hockey not holding a prominent place in American culture (hey, what else is new), not much thought was given to these boys. This was our national ice hockey club. Hurray. But what da’ya know, they won the Gold medal after knocking off that same Russian team (The Miracle on Ice game) before finishing off Finland.

That legendary hockey team was coached by a unique man who is probably less well known than the club itself and it’s remarkable accomplishments: Mr. Herb Brooks. One of the key techniques Brooks used to unify this motley crew was to find a single common denominator, a flag they could all carry along side their beloved stars & stripes. That singular thing? A powerful hatred of him. The result? Nothing short of a miracle.

I believe that a pair of miraculous young ladies who believe in themselves and each other, who will fight for the rights of the other, who will defend and protect, scratch and claw and, ultimately take a proverbial bullet for their sibling is, in a parenting sense, akin to hearing your national anthem played during a gold medal ceremony. And like Herb Brooks, I’m willing to be hated to help that scenario become a reality.

Radical? Probably. Stupid? Possibly. And yes, I understand that two children under 8-years old share exactly zero of the personality traits of bearded collegiate athletes, but still I contend there is a parenting lesson to be had here. Maybe I’m simply hoping for a miracle off-ice.
I don’t wish to be an evil father figure, of course. But I will, from time to time, play the villain intentionally and relatively harmlessly (I hope) to rally one girl to her sister’s side. They gang up on me verbally and, sometimes, physically. Bring it, girls. And never stop. Just put down the hockey sticks first.

To read more from Jeff… check out his blog: Out With the Kids.


  1. Cass says:

    Encouraging sisterly bonding in harmless ways by sometimes playing the “bad guy”? And extrapolating a fathering strategy from hockey? I like your style.