(Here’s a chance to, if you haven’t. Go ahead, please. I’ll wait.)
As you just watched, the boy in the green shirt puts his arm around the boy in the striped shirt while he was holding the ball, dusts him off when they fall down, compliments him on his throw, lifts him up to the bar he can’t reach, pretends like he’s about to push him into the water, patiently looks over his shoulder as he plays his video game, recognizes the boy’s crush and encourages him to talk to her and insists she likes him too, takes the “fatal hit” while using sticks to play sword fight, serves him juice, stays awake after he falls asleep watching T.V, takes his shoes off for him, carries him upstairs and lays a blanket over him.
They’re clearly friends, right?
The ad closes with the boy in the striped shirt saying, “Good night, Dad.” Then the dad tells his son good night too.
In those 60 seconds, through play, encouragement, and affection, the dad serves the son.
“It probably comes down to this anyway: The most important things I do in life, and that I am best at doing, are the things for which I’m not regularly thanked. Serving is loving and leading. I get that now… no thank you’s required.”
In a history of commercials making the dad out to be an idiot, finally, somebody really (!) gets it right.
“So, in review, a stubborn, penny pinching, Dave Ramsey following, Generation Y dad like me will magically buy a product for his son if he believes that… the product will reinforce the traditional ideas and principles that remind him of his own 1987 version of childhood and/or… the company makes it clear that dads are helpful and important, not idiots.”
A+, Robinsons “Pals.” You are the official dad ad to beat.
Here’s a secret, Son. A dad can never hear enough, from anyone, that he is a good dad.
To outsiders it may appear to be a sensitive male ego thing, but as a dad, I can confirm that routine, positive affirmation is one of the most effective ways to reach and connect with a dad.
So now, I need to go wipe my nose. I could blame it on the Maple trees blooming here in Nashville, triggering my allergies.
Instead, I’ll just admit it. After watching this ad a few times, I’m pretty tore up, in a good way.
Well, you and I were recently having one of those kind of mornings…
You were physically struggling so hard with me as I tried to put on your pants, it reminded me of a WWE wrestling match. You were so upset with me you were crying and throwing a classic tantrum.
I’ve learned by now not to let myself get emotionally caught up in something like this: I realized you and I were not having a rational discussion or disagreement. Instead, it was very irrational.
You had to get dressed, so I continued to calmly communicate that to you as I pulled you shirt over your head.
Then, in your angst, you accidentally hit my shin pretty hard.
I didn’t react at all, because again, I wasn’t emotionally invested in our struggle- I just knew it almost time for us to leave the house and you still were not fully dressed.
The look on my face surely portrayed one confused dad as you tromped on over to the corner of the living room, putting yourself in time-out. You continued crying loud enough to wake our neighbors, stomping your feet and waving your arms in protest.
Yet… you were the one to place yourself in the time-out corner. I never said a word or even gave you my “mad dad” look.
I was too confused to laugh at that moment, so I used that opportunity to pack my lunch.
Then, as I turned my back to make my way to the refrigerator, I saw you strangely moving sideways like Boom Boom from Super Mario Bros. 3, still crying and flailing around, trying to escape from your self-imposed time-out session.
So I let you.
It was a peaceful and sophisticated car ride that morning. We talked about monster trucks and Cheerios, like nothing ever happened.
Men are wired to solve problems. We like fixing things.
I truly feel empowered and alive anytime I correctly identify a problem, apply the solution, and see the successful result. With that being said, one of the things I love best and look forward to the most as your dad is teaching you life lessons.
It’s a huge part of being a dad.
This concept is exemplified in a Facebook page (and hopefully eventually a book) known as 100 Things to Teach My Son. It is the creative project of a dad named RJ Licata who lives in Syracuse, New York.
Since starting less than two months ago on January 13th, the project has already received over 650 Facebook “likes,” despite not being based on anything or anyone famous. He explains on his page:
“On a whim, I made a Facebook post expressing the first (#100) of the top 100 things I wanted to teach my son. I really had no intention of continuing past that one post. But then I got some ‘Likes’ and some comments that I hadn’t been expecting. So I posted #99, and I got some more positive feedback.
I continued posting my ‘lessons’ with a photo that I thought best explained the lesson in picture, and by the time my countdown got to #85 or so, I’d gotten so much positive feedback from my friends, as well as some Facebook friends that I rarely interact with, that I had no choice but to continue on.
Because so many of the lessons have been so well received, I thought there must be others out there that I’m not friends with who would also enjoy seeing/reading them.
And that is why I started this page… You’ll also find similar posts and content that I think will inspire you to be the best parent/person you can be. It’s not just for fathers. It’s not just for sons. It’s for anyone who wants to be moved to laughter or to tears, to be inspired or comforted. Mostly it’s a way for me to document my journey as a father.”
For me, it caught my attention because of its simplicity and honesty. I like that it is built around the idea that active and involved dads spend a lot of time thinking about what they will teach their kids, based on their own life experience.
I definitely relate to that. Here’s a prime example:
“❤ Top 100 Things I Can’t Wait to Teach My Son™ : #56 – Playing catch with dad is much more than throwing and catching, a ball and a glove.”
And a couple more of my favorites…
“❤ Top 100 Things I Can’t Wait to Teach My Son™ : #51 – If you must compare, compare yourself to the you of yesterday, not to anybody else.
❤ Top 100 Things I Can’t Wait to Teach My Son™ : #93 – We all have some sort of super powers, but we don’t all use them.”
Jack, something you will always know about me is that I thrive on teaching you about life and how the world works.
I’ll teach you everything I know, though I obviously know there are just some lessons you learn best on your own.
As the picture clearly demonstrates, you felt quite comfortable with Dave. Mommy held Avery and Dave held you.
(Just to be clear to anyone else reading this letter, I’m the guy in the green vest and Dave is the guy with the red shirt.)
Before we left their house, Dave gave you one of his business cards; he’s a Realtor in the Nashville area. You played with his business card all the way home.
Then once you got home, you placed his card in your little boy wallet with Mommy’s zeroed out gift cards. As I put you to bed that night, I asked you what your favorite part of the day was. Your response:
“When Leaf hold you.”
I should translate. Your refer to Dave as Leaf, and “you” means “me.” Your favorite part of the day was when Dave held you.
Even now, as I write this, you are upstairs asleep, with Dave’s business card underneath your pillow.
That’s right: You sleep with his card under your pillow. You really like Dave.
I think it’s cool to see how you gravitate towards other dads. It’s clear that to me that you find so much value in masculine role models.
As for the most part, you’re stuck with me. I’m familiar, predictable, safe, and normal. I’m vanilla.