Bonding Moments

Father showing his son
how to find the right one.

Thanks for taking the time to read my 2-line poem. This image reminds me of how it can be and should be between a father and his child. Does it have to be a physical task? Does it have to be a traditionally masculine activity? Is this form of mentoring exclusive to sons? No, not necessarily, but I believe fathers should make it their highest priority to invest their time into their children.

I remember the first time that I took my son fishing. He was about 6 and excited to catch fish as many 6-year old boys would be. We drove for about an hour to a lake that I was told was consistently stocked with fish. We were both eager, but I was totally unprepared on a hot Summer afternoon. When I mean totally unprepared I mean totally unprepared! I acted on a spontaneous urge to try fishing. I think I had been buried in work and school for weeks and knew that my son and I had to do something.

Why I chose to fish instead of another activity is a head-scratcher because we could have skated at the local skate park because that was something we were already doing together. We could have gone to the movies because I knew how to watch movies. I must have thought that being on a lake would have been refreshing. Plus, I wanted to teach my son something. Whatever my dad and uncles taught me about fishing when I was a kid was somewhere lost in my memory banks. Fishing skills were zero.

A friend was kind enough to let us borrow a couple of fishing poles. We went to the tackle shop next to the lake but bought the wrong bait on this muggy day. I you can imagine after baking on a lake for 3 hours, the only thing we caught were sunburns. We were fried, hungry, tired, and majorly disappointed.

Are you old enough to remember the Looney Tunes character, Sylvester the Cat? Sylvester was me, and Sylvester’s son was my son saying in major disappointment, “Ohhh Father….” Yet, I n that massive failure of a fishing day, bonding occurred between my son that day. I didn’t have a smartphone then to distract me. My attention was on my son and the potential catch. There were times of silently staring into the water together. In between the silent and mostly frustrating moments, we sat and talked about stuff. We sat and talked about stuff. A lot of layers get peeled off revealing the soul when you have time to just talk. It’s worthwhile for the parents. It’s rewarding for the children.

Your children may witness you failing at a lot of things, but they will win when you invest your time with them.

Do you have a major fail moment? Feel free to share. Your comments are appreciated.

Thanks Dad

Thank you for teaching me how to fish.
Thank you for teaching me how to tie a necktie.
Thank you for yelling from the stands to keep swinging the bat even though I struck out 2 times during the game.
Thank you for correcting me when I was out of line with mom.
Thank you for walking with me to the playground the day after I got pushed down by the bully at school.
Thank you for letting me take a sip of your beer even when you knew I would spit it out.
Thank you for sword fighting with me even after you said that you were tired from work.
Thank you for teaching me how to shoot a BB gun.
Thank you for showing me how to use a sling shot.
Thank you for singing the song to every tv show theme even if you didn’t know the words.
Thank you for holding on to me on my first roller coaster ride.
Thank you for celebrating with me the first time I ever beat you in basketball.
Thank you for teaching me how to swing a hammer and change a tire. (Not at the same time.)
Thank you for helping me make my first secret clubhouse with chairs and a bedsheet.
Thank you for picking me up at the theater after I missed the last bus.
Thank you for helping me with my science project.
Thank you for picking me up from the principal’s office after I got in a fight and the first question you asked me was, “Did you win?”
Thank you for not being afraid to cry when I graduated.
Thank you for never giving up on me.
Thanks for being there for me like you said you would.

Happy Father’s Day to the men who chose to be dads. What can you add to this list of thanksgiving? This was the “from a son’s” version. If you are a daughter, what could you add to this list?

When the Kids Hijack my Phone 

When friends and co-workers hijack my phone the results (without consent) are typically a marital status change on my FaceBook or a tweet about me loving Hello Kitty (although I do have much love for Batzmaru.) I don’t think my daughters are well versed in practical jokes yet, so I will gladly accept any hijacking they do as long as it doesn’t involve them buying something. Here are the latest.

I am thankful for my kids. I don’t bat 1.000 as a dad, but I will keep swinging.

I thought I was done with this post, but have a few more thoughts that need to be expressed. I spend a majority of my waking hours working as childrens pastor, and I see tons of children who do not have a father present in their lives. Many of them have never met or know their father. Much respect to the men who take the responsibility of being a father to their children. I had the privilege of having a father in my life. His constant presence in my life created a stability that I have taken 30 years into my own adult life. As imperfect as I am I have always had some kind of level-headedness because my dad was and still is. If you are a male and have children then be a man and be a dad to your children. So many of them do not.