Posts Tagged ‘ father and son ’

Standing On The Shoulders Of “Baby Giants”

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

3 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack,

It is so interesting to see your artwork in this sort of transition stage, as your skills are maturing and your concepts of art are becoming more realized.

As I walked into your class last Tuesday to pick you up from school, you were working on a drawing.

I insisted you finish it before we left.

Naturally, I asked, “Wow, Jack, are those people?”

You replied in a sort of matter of fact manner, “No, they’re giants. And that one in the middle is a baby giant.”

Seriously, I love that creativity.

Eventually, the “giants” you will draw will have bodies to connect to their legs, instead of just having their legs connect to their chins.

And one day, your giants will have mouths too; not just two little eyes mysteriously peeping out.

As for now, though, these are your giants. I’m assuming that had these been people instead of giants, they would have much shorter legs; even shorter that the baby giant’s.

You really blew me away with another recent picture you drew at school, too:

I had to ask your teacher to make sure you didn’t have any help with this one of a fish.

Honestly, I’m not sure that I could have drawn one as detailed as this. And you didn’t have a picture to mimic, either. I’m guessing you just remember seeing it at the pet store a few weeks ago.

You’re starting to give me this idea where I write a children’s book and you illustrate it.

Before long, I think that idea could really get off the ground.

You keep doing what you’re doing and I’ll keep doing what I’m doing… and let’s just see where it takes us.

We might end up making an alright father-son writer-illustrator team…





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Father-Son Fight Club: The 1st Rule Is…

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

3 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

I promise it was your idea. I’m only going along with it… with a completely clear conscience.

Since last weekend, you’ve started this thing where you come up to me, punch me in the chest as hard as you can, laugh, then say, “Let’s fight, Daddy.”

And what do I do? I “fight” back.

Well, the difference with my response to you is that I obviously don’t punch you as hard as I can.

I actually am “punching” you back as lightly as I can.

Here we are, a week into it, still hittin’ strong and I’m only seeing positives:

I like to see the confidence you’re gaining in yourself.

I like the way you and I are bonding over it.

I like how you get to test your own physical strength against mine, knowing that less than a second later you’ve got a soft “punch” coming right back at your chest or stomach.

The way I see it, it’s no different than male wolves of the same pack practicing their fighting moves on each other. The way I see it, I am giving you introductory “man lessons.”

Most importantly, you’ve yet to punch any of your friends at school. That’s because I had a little talk with you last weekend before you went back to school on Monday. I explained how the only person you can punch is me.

And you listened!

Like I mentioned, I can’t help but notice the bonding that has occurred since we started our “father-son fight club.” Here recently, you actually have been asking me to sit next to you on the couch. Then, you lay your arm across mine.

That used to be an action you saved for Mommy and never granted me.

So whatever inspired you to start punching me, I’m glad it happened.

Granted, for all I know, I may not be the best example of a parent.

Maybe my stories about us wouldn’t be the kind you’d expect to ever see on a parenting website or something.

But between you and me, I think we have a good thing going on!

It’s our little secret. After all, the first rule about Father-Son Fight Club is that we don’t talk about Father-Son Fight Club.





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My Son Talks To Strangers, Part 2: The Talking Dog

Monday, March 24th, 2014

3 years, 4 months.

Continued from Part 1: The Dishwasher Man.

Dear Jack,

We were at the toy store this past Saturday, just looking, while Mommy was at the Lifeway Christian store. As we were browsing through the Disney’s Cars aisle, we saw a grandmother, mother, and young son; I could tell they were on a mission.

“Is there a certain one you’re looking for?” I asked them, out of nowhere.

I ended up sending them across the street to Target, where I explained they were more likely to find the “Sally” car for a lower price; based on my experience of Christmas present shopping for you.

Then Saturday afternoon as we were on a family walk in the neighborhood and a lady with a dog  was coming towards us, I announced to you that the nice lady had a talking dog.

I spoke with a deep, New York accent and pretended to be the dog, saying, “Hey Jack, do you like dogs?”

Yep, I carried on a 30 second conversation with you, as a dog; while both Mommy and the dog’s owner just smiled at each other at first.

Fun for us, slightly awkward for them. But it did lead to a real, actual conversation betwen Mommy and the dog’s owner.

Even just now as I’m writing this, Mommy proclaimed to me, “You definitely talk to random strangers more than anyone else I’ve ever met in my life.”

Thinking back, I would say the same thing about my Italian grandfather, “Paw Paw Metallo.”

So yeah, I learned it from him and I’m teaching that skill to you.

Granted, I only want you talking to strangers when I’m there too, for now. But I think that talking to strangers is a really good and important thing.

You never know when you can really make someone’s day. My suggestion is to stay away from generic conversation topics like the weather and “how are you?” as they tend to be pretty impersonal.

I think you did a great job this past weekend when you talked to the dishwasher man. I also liked how you also recently told your new gymnastics teacher, in the middle of the class, that you have a blue Cheetah named Cheety.

Yes, personality is part of it, but the main thing is, you find a way to get the conversation going. My experience is that people like that.

Even though you may be a complete stranger to them, I’ve learned most people appreciate the engagement, in what might otherwise be an ordinary day.

It’s important for fathers to teach and pass on skills to their sons. Since installing a new dishwasher or doing auto repairs will never be things I am knowledgeable enough to teach you about, I can teach you to talk to strangers.

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.





P.S. Read the entire Talking To Strangers series:

 Part 1: The Dishwasher Man

Part 2: The Talking Dog

Part 3: The Kohl’s Incident

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What Scientifically Makes Kids Happy, Part 3: Love From Dad

Friday, March 21st, 2014

3 years, 4 months.

Continued from Part 1: Optimism and Part 2: Less TV Time.

Dear Jack,

In the past two letters, I shared with you what makes kids happy, from a scientific viewpoint. I’ve really enjoyed learning about this stuff.

Today’s letter is obviously particularly relevant to you and me.

I will admit, if this information weren’t scientifically backed up, what I am about to say might sound totally biased, but I read all about it an article in LiveScience, as well as seeing it referenced in “The Science Of Raising Happy Kids” infographic at the bottom of this page:

“Feeling loved by dad was even more important for kids’ wellbeing, happiness, and life satisfaction than feeling loved by Mom.

The most effective dads listen to their kids, have a close relationship with them, set appropriate rules, and give freedom when it makes sense.”

Maybe I’m alone here on this, but there are certain days when I feel like I don’t really matter so much; that I’m a chauffer and a dishwasher… like I’m a stage hand.

Your emotional attachment to Mommy is so obvious. As for your emotional attachment to me, the dad… not quite as obvious.

For most of my life I had functioned in a way that I needed confirmation that I was doing things right in order to feel confident.

However, I’m past that point in my life. That started changing about the time I got a real job… but even more so once I became your daddy.

But obviously, it’s still encouraging to learn that you feeling loved by me is an important of your wellbeing, happiness and life satisfaction.

It helps me to be more positive of a person, which is something I’m working on, to know that the things I already do (listen to you, have a close relationship with you, set appropriate rules, and give you freedom when it makes sense) are actually paying off.

Hey, I won’t argue with science.





Infographic featured courtesy of Happify:

Read the entire What Makes Kids Scientifically Happy series:

 Part 1: Optimism

 Part 2: Less TV Time

Part 3: Love From Dad

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It’s A Good Thing For Little Boys To Get Their Clothes Dirty

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

3 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack,

Yesterday morning as we were hanging out at the park, waiting for the Monster Jam truck show to begin, you got your clothes pretty dirty.

As Mommy put it, “Jack, you smell like a boy.”

That’s what she says after you’ve had a lot of fun outside, doing what little boys should be doing:

Running around, crashing your toy monster trucks into each other, rolling in the leaves, lying on the ground, touching random people’s pet ferrets…

Yeah, you managed to do all those things in a 45 minute time span.

In essence, all the clothes you wear are “play clothes.”

Because honestly, when are you not playing and getting dirty?

I know these days there are so many rules and expectations about boys “behaving” in a classroom setting.

That’s why when you’re not in school, I encourage you to let loose.

You’re a boy.

I want you to feel like one. I want you to feel like you can be one.

It’s important to me that you can be yourself and express your energy in a harmless way… by getting your clothes dirty.

Granted, our family is very into hygiene.

But there’s definitely a difference between germs and dirt.

I don’t like germs.

However, dirt I don’t have a problem with. Hey, it’s natural. It’s the Earth itself, right?

So sure, you washed your hands after petting the ferret… only to get them dirty again by lying down on the sidewalk.

Like riding on the front of a grocery shopping cart or running around aimlessly in open-ended public spaces, it’s just one more thing that little boys are supposed to do: Get dirty.

I want you to be disciplined and respectful and kind.

But I also want you to enjoy the fresh air, the green grass, and the brown dirt.

It’s only natural. Literally.




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