Dad Is Bad

My son’s protest sign,
“Dad Is Bad”

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.


Don’t Grow Up too Soon – James Taylor Knows the Secret


Child On Shoulders - James Taylor Knows the Secret

Walking through the mall the other day, I saw a father lift his child to his shoulders.  It brought back memories of my own children.  I can remember carrying them around on my shoulders and grasping their ankles to hold them tight, so they didn’t fall.  As they got older, they could balance better, and hold onto my forehead or around my neck.  Those were beautiful years.

Those days zip by so quickly. Someone told me to revel in every moment your child asks you to pick them up because one day they’ll stop asking.  I followed that counsel until my kids became too big and my arms too weak to lift over my head and set them on my shoulders.  I understand now, but it was also that I had NOTAS disease.  “NOT AS” Young as I used to be.

My son is a year from being an adult and my pre-teen daughter is growing up fast.  Sometimes too fast.  In this wonderful age of technology and information it’s hard to slow them down.  My advice to her was to enjoy being eleven and do as many girly things that she could.  Don’t worry about someone thinking that your acting immature.  If you want to play with dolls, then do it. 

I looked to the future and realized that before I knew it, they’ll be in college, starting their own lives, and moving on.  I couldn’t blink too long, or I’ll miss something.  Then it hit me. I should follow my own advice.  Not doing girly things, mind you, but try to live in the moment.  Enjoy my kids as they “are” and not how they “were” or how they’re “going to be”.

About this same time, one of my favorite James Taylor songs floated up in my mind.  The song is called, “Secret O’ Life”.  Certain lines of this song are so poignant and full of wisdom that I’ve played it whenever I’ve found myself worrying about the time I’ve lost or may lose.  Read some of these lines below, and take them out into the world with you:

“The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.”
“The secret of love is opening up your heart.”
“And since we’re only here for a while. Might as well show some style.”
“The time about time is that time isn’t really real. It’s just your point of view.”
“Try not to try too hard.  It’s just a lovely ride.”

The full lyrics can be found <here>

 So for now, I’m settling for giving piggy-back rides; I can still do that.