family scrapbook
 

< prev
image 99 of 109
next >
thank you for your input

thank you for your input
the above picture shows anthony sitting on the front of a slow moving house boat. the lapping waves occassionally slapping the tops of his feet. he's been sitting there almost twenty minutes and seems rather transfixed by it all. it is worth nothing that alex is the one driving the boat so both of our boys are making the most of this new experience. at some point during anthony's reverie a woman on a faster moving boat is waving her arms in our direction. our host and boat captain moves on the front deck to see what she wants.

WOMAN (shouting from another boat)
hey. (something indecipherable).

MICHAEL (our host shouting back to shouting woman)
what? i can't hear you.

WOMAN (shouting from another boat)
hey. your boy ... (more indecipherable).

MICHAEL (our host shouting back to shouting woman)
i'm sorry. but i still can't hear you.

WOMAN (shouting from another boat)
your boy on the front of the boat. i'd move him. he might fall in and get sucked under the boat.

MICHAEL (our host shouting back to shouting woman)
oh! him? he's not my boy. but thanks.

that goes down as one of the greatest real-time responses to something i've ever witnessed first hand, like ever. and michael was even new at getting that sort of unsolicitied parenting advice. marty on the other hand has been dealing with that sort of sideline bubble-wrap parenting for more than a decade. your kid is too high in the tree. your kid is riding too fast on their bike. your kid should not be using a hammer/stove/match/knife. you should not let your kids use a trampoline without the netting (or a trampoline at all, period!).

how many chances does someone get to sit on the front of a moving boat, not speeding, but just moving, and dangle their feet in the water as the bouncing waves lap up to slap the tops of their feet. minutes before the woman yelled her advice from her boat i was thinking of joining him. when she yelled this to our host, and the experienced boater, i was curious how he would respond. obviously i was prepared for him to say, "you know, she's probably right" but instead he said, "hey anthony if you fall in the water and the boat is going over you, aim for the middle because the engines are on the corners. cool? cool.". problem averted.

granted this michael is also the first guy i've seen in the modern era who sported a trampoline without the safety netting. when i asked him if his tramp came without netting, because that seemed surprising to me, he said that it most definitely did come with the netting but he thought it would get in the way of his three boys play so didn't install it. he then added how fast he was able to sell the safety netting on craigslist. michael is what led us to taking our netting down and i've already talked about the outcome of that (here).

some people have shrinks, some personal trainers, and some life coaches. i have a man-coach and his name is michael. i've quietly learned more by watching this guy than possibly all other men combined. and he's not a grunty, meat-back that hits the gym, acts tough and watches football every sunday. he's a quiet and rather unassuming fellow who for a short period was a single dad to two boys (until he re-married a high-school friend of mine which is how i came to know him). for all the credit i get for my dad hours and dad days, the idea originally emanated from michael vance (and his wife keri via her childhood).

so on this trip i was studying every move micheal made. wether he was lowering the speed boat into the water or tieing the house boat to the rocks to keep it in place for our week of "camping" or setting up a movie screen so everyone could have a real-movie experience in the middle of nowhere or patching one of the inflatables he brought for the kids to play on (and seemed to come out of a bottomless container of playthings) or fixing the busted fridge i consumed his every move.

this said, the thing i studied more closely than anything else was watching michael and his youngest son, a high school senior, interact in matters of the speed boat and water skiing. for me there are few things in this universe more interesting or beautiful than watching a father teach a child something. i will caveat this by adding that the father must be truly knowledgable and the child fully interested. when either of of those qualities are lacking, everything curious and beauteous drains out the bottom. the steady and constructive drip of new information is how knowledge seems to best be transferred (e.g. "josh, when you feel the water press on the ski, push your heel hard into it until you get up."). compliments and acknowledgement of success is less necessary when progress is made as the growth/success is the reward.

i often felt that my father expected me to somehow know, naturally/natively, the things he knew. whether it was about how a car's engine worked or how to care for a lawn or how to make mature decisions at seven he seemed to feel that this information should somehow magically be in my head, ready for use. when i replay past scenarios his sense for things seems laughably wrong. but recently i have found myself doing the same things with my kids in regard to computers or chores around the house. it used to take me days to realize what i'd done. now i am better at catching myself in the middle of my monologue that challenges their knowledge of something. i now stop myself, pause and say, "i'm sorry alex. i don't know why i would think you would know that. i certainly didn't when i was your age and i obviously haven't told you about it so if anyone made a mistake it is me. so let me fix that and explain how it does work."

i partially blame how savvy and sensible kids are today. they SEEM like they know it all, especially regarding technology, but their understanding tends to be highly superficial. i learned that lesson through a college class i taught where i was charged to instruct students how to create technology solutions that had more meaningful and productive results. when it comes to technology, young people are fearless, not all-knowing. and it is VERY easy to confuse what you are seeing when those two traits are placed side-by-side. newer, bigger, different doesn't scare young people the way it scares adults. and, we as adults tend to mis-judge this lack of intimidation for mastery but it is not that. it is the adults job to teach them, the interested ones at least, and that process is an art, a craft, a science, a post-graduate degree in patience, and a haunt-you-days-later humiliation if you're honest with yourself.

so i suggest you let your kids climb trees and make fires (in the fireplace or fire pit) and cook on the stove and sit on the front of moving boats and if they want or need help, provide it--quietly and respectfully.

oh, and there will be band-aids and tears. that is ok and to be expected. scars and frustration equal experience and experience is one of the few concrete traits that separates the adults from the children.

( 2016 )

goto first
image 99 of 109
goto last
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1
1      
anfer [28]
aleo [27]
baya [29]
marta [25]
troy [24]
Goto Rockefeller Center (aka bella)
Goto Captain O' Captain (aka alex)
Goto Sassafras Tea (aka anthony)
Goto Main Gallery
 
Welcome Professional MonoRail TroyScripts Gallery