Doin' "Manly Stuff" with my son (and setting a good example)

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Manly stuff.

That's what my 8yo son said he wanted to do yesterday. We were getting ready for a bday party and he told me he wanted to help out with the manly stuff. You'd have thought I was heading out to rebuild an engine, do some huntin'... take in a round of sportsball.

So what was on the agenda for my morning? Really exciting stuff, like bringing up the card table and chairs from the basement. Re-assembling the patio furniture I took apart for storage last year. Setting up a sprinkler for the kids, getting out the water guns, running out for food. Not exciting, but necessary.

It wasn't about doing anything in particular - it was about spending time with Dad. That's an amazing thing. I don't feel mature enough to deserve having someone look up to me like that, and yet here I am anyway. I've got a little guy who's growing up fast, and he's looking up to me to define what's "manly". And if I don't step up to show him how a man behaves - doing what needs to be done even when I don't want to do it, making sacrifices - then the world will.

Our weekends are always busy, especially this time of year, so sometimes it's tough to take extra time to just hang out. But we did quite a bit this weekend, playing some board games like Dominion while my wife took the girls out (if he played one more possession I was gonna lose it), then doing a couple science experiments together in the basement. Our basement's unfinished, but I'll guarantee it's cleaner and better lit than most people's basements. I've got a corner setup with a large folding table, a model of the solar system hanging from the ceiling, and a shelf full of stuff to do. It's stocked with Snap Circuits (which my kids have a lot of fun with, btw), science kits, microscopes and slides, some books. We cracked one open and tried a couple things.

No matter who else tells him he matters, or that he's on the right track, or just gives him an 'atta boy, it's not quite the same as hearing it from his own dad. There's a bond between a father and son that's special. From time to time, I have to slow down and remember that.

This is post #12 in my personal challenge to complete 30 Days of Blogging. My goal is to become more comfortable with blogging in a more frequent and informal manner.


Grant Winney

I write when I've got something to share - a personal project, a solution to a difficult problem, or just an idea. We learn by doing and sharing. We've all got something to contribute.

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