Hey, Tiger,congrats on the new baby! You can't imagine how thrilled I was to hear you tella reporter that being a dad is "more important than any game of golf."I wish LeBron James had shown the same commitment a few weeks ago when heannounced that he wouldn't miss an NBA playoff game to be present at the birthof his second child. (Fortunately, his girlfriend was accommodating enough tohave the baby, a boy, Bryce Maximus, between games.) But we've come a long waysince 1993, when the Houston Oilers fined tackle David Williams more than$100,000 for missing a game when his son was born.
Just abouteveryone knows the stories about how your father's focused nurturing helpedmake you into the Tiger we all know and love. What they don't know is thatwhile Earl was teaching you about golf, he was also teaching you what it meansto be a dad. Now of course the pressure's on--on little Sam Alexis to be agreat athlete and on you to be like your dad and help her become one. Oneimportant difference, though: Earl was raising a boy, and you have a girl.
As a guy withdaughters, I have a few thoughts for you. The worst mistake you can make is totreat Sam differently than you would a boy--female is not a synonym forfragile. At the same time, take your cues from her and don't try to turn herinto a boy. Sure, give her a toy golf club to play with, but don't be surprisedif she wraps it in a blanket and rocks it to sleep. Wrestle with her every day,but learn how to braid her hair and be prepared to log some hours assemblingtea parties and dollhouses. Take her to the driving range, and then to ballet.Teach her how to putt, but let her paint your fingernails pink. Bottom line:Help her discover who she wants to be and support her every way you can.
Finally, take abig, deep breath and jump in--don't ever pass up a chance to change a diaper orread Sam a story. It has to be a little intimidating to be married to a formernanny, and it would be easy to let Elin deal with all the hands-on baby care.But remember this: The way she got to be good at the whole taking-care-of-kidsthing is by making a ton of mistakes. And the only way you're going to feelconfident as a dad is by making a bunch of your own.
July 1, 2007
You're one of themost visible dads in the universe, and your daughter is lucky to have you. It'sgreat that you're making fatherhood such a priority. Millions of men around theworld will see you in action and have a positive new role model.
Armin Brott is theauthor of The New Father: A Dad's Guide to the First Year and Fathering YourSchool-Age Child. His website is mrdad.com.
By Rick Lipsey
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TEENAGER + SEASONED PRO * CHECKERED PAST - HELPFULPERSONALITY = FORCED VACATION