Making a Man- Raising A Boy or Is He Raising Me
(This is one of many posts in which I recount stories about things my children and I did. I try hard to be a good parent. As I read through some of the older stories I have to ask whether I am raising him or if he is raising me. Perhaps I’ll blog about that later.)
This afternoon I proved that a really old man can still beat a young child in a footrace. Ok, there was never a moment of doubt that this 38.75 year old boy could beat the seven year-old in a sprint. The day will come when that kid can take his old man, but for now I am going to enjoy these moments of triumph.
And then I thought that my heart was going to burst. My head swam. My throat constricted and for a moment the world spun and it was all his fault. We had just finished our race and were standing in the driveway laughing about it. That kid looked up at me and asked me if I could teach him to be cool.
I was in shock. I am not cool, I want to be cool. There are moments when I feel cool. There are moments when I feel more like Cary Grant and less like Ralph Kramden, but…
Really, who hasn’t had a moment where they wished they were cool. I won’t lie and say that it hasn’t happened. Of course it has. But that is not who I am. I am not that guy. People don’t naturally gravitate to me and try to do what I do. I am just a big goofy guy. I am 230 or is it 240 pounds of happy-go-lucky boy pretending to be a man.
Fortunately I had to take a moment to catch my breath so it gave me a chance to consider how to answer him. My answer wasn’t profound or unusual, but it was something that I try to do so it was easy to sell.
I said “Little Jack, the coolest thing that you can do is be yourself, whoever that person is.”
Of course he asked me to explain it. I tried, but I can’t say that I am certain that he got it. All I want is for him to be happy. Part of being happy is being happy with yourself, so that is what I am trying to do. I want to teach/help him be comfortable with himself. Learn to be in the moment and appreciate what he has.
Whatever I said must have satisfied him, at least for the moment. From my perspective it was one of many conversations we have had and will continue to have in which I try to help make him into a man of character and integrity.
That is the goal. That is the objective. Time will tell.