So, as the readers of this blog know pretty well, Michelle and I have 2 kids. The Mathmajor is 20, and goes to Western Washington University, it’s the start of his Junior year. The Manchild is 15 and lives with his mom about 35 miles away. He is a Sophomore in high school this year. We spend as much time as possible with both boys, (though Mathmajor is pretty damn independent now).
I am sure I am like most parents when I sit and think I could’ve done better when raising them. Did I do all I could, was I selfish when I wanted time to myself… Sometimes, the negatives even make me thing (much to the angst of Michelle AND my mom) that I wasn’t the best dad.
But then there are days like today that make me think, “HEY I did alright!”
What was different about today? Well, when I woke up, I found a text on the phone sent from the Mathmajor sent about midnight last night. He is currently spending a few last days of summer vacation with some friends on the Oregon Coast.
It was a short text, and nope, even though it’s from a college kid, it was not “Hi dad, please send money!” Nope the text read “Did you know you could cook a chicken in a compost pile?”
OK, my first gut reaction was YUCK! But later, at work, something clicked. Here he is hanging with friends, and he discovers, and is willing to try, what amounts to a scientific experiment while on vacation. Not to mention, eating a piece of chicken cooked this way (though maybe not the smartest thing in the world) requires a spirit of adventure. Both his science curiosity AND his spirit of adventure, I have supported since he was grasshopper high.
Most importantly though, here is a college kid, on vacation with his friends, when he discovers something cool that he knows his dad would find interesting. Did he think “Hmmm I will need to remember to tell him that?” Nope, he took a coupla seconds to text. It may be silly, but it shows, at least to me, that we are still closer than I EVER was with my dad.
Let us not forget the Manchild. He also has a spirit of adventure and a scientific curiosity. He is my long boarding skeptic. He questions everything. Recently though, he told me a story that impressed the heck out of me, even though I should NOT condone it.
A bit of a background here. I HATE door to door people. When I am home, I don’t care if you are a sales person, a poll taker, or someone trying to ram your religion down my throat. If you knock at the door, I am NOT answering. I don’t care if I am sitting next to the window and you see me. If I want to buy something, take a poll or get religion, I will go somewhere to make it happen. At home, I don’t want to be bothered.
Manchild feels bad for people (I have tried to instill my cold and callousness, but to no avail!) if they see him, so at his mom’s house he opened the door. Turned out this time it was a Jehovah’s Witness. No offense here, but in my experience these folks do not leave unless you donate money (which means they keep coming back like a stray cat you’ve fed) or they’ve spent an hour trying to brainwash you (again sorry if I have offended,)
Back in college I finally got fed up enough to let two ladies in the apartment JUST as my buddy Dave walked out of the bathroom, bare-assed naked after a shower, to head for his room. Those two couldn’t leave fast enough AND they never came back.
Well the Manchild didn’t have any money, nor someone with a bare butt to scare them away. But instead of being brainwashed for an hour, he was able to convince the guy he HAD been introduced to JHism, AND invited to a session in a neighboring town. That ladies and gents in thinking on your feet! He got rid of the person interrupting his day (without being rude) and the person went away happy. A win win! So far, they haven’t been back either.
Now some may think I am wrong to allow him to lie like this. But I have tried to be direct, even closing the door in their faces, yet they persist and keep coming back! They weren’t invited, so Manchild’s tactic is a risk they have to accept.
This kid has his dads ability to have his mouth get him into and out of trouble at the drop of the hat. I have helped him hone his skills for good, instead of evil (well mostly). I will guarantee he will go far!
So yes, any parent can find something they could’ve done better, but, at least today, I think I did pretty damn good!
- Yep, They’re Mine… (mountainstroh.com)