In the picture my son is eight. If you read the cardboard sign he’s holding, it says “Dad Is Bad” and was born out of a grievance he filed against me. My wife and I prepared to sell our old house, and we decided to paint a short white fence that surrounded the flower garden in our front yard. The boy wanted to help, but I wouldn’t let him because we were in a hurry to get a number of things done, so I didn’t want to spend the time to supervise a slop-fest of latex all over the bushes.
He was not pleased, and while we finished the paint job, he prepared this sign. When I went around back to cleanup, I heard this chanting from the backyard. I looked over the fence and saw my son standing on the top of his plastic fort holding the sign up to the street running along the side of our house and repeated his protest mantra, “Dad Is Bad”. The audacity: he was conducting a protest against his own paternal unit.
This was one of those moments as a parent that I made the right choice. It made me laugh. I got him to come down, took a picture of him, and commended him for using his words like his mom and I had always taught him. The result is we let him know that we were proud of him. This picture is part of a collage on my desktop PC. I noticed this recently and remembered this slice of family time in our lives. It still makes me smile. My boy is turning eighteen later this April. As a parent, I have faith that he will apply the lessons learned while he treads down his new path in adulthood. Happy birthday, my civil disobedient son.