What we did

Our Tarzan

One of the main messages rammed home by the Fathering Adventures experience is the importance of one-on-one time with your son, and the importance of affirming them and giving them the confidence that they have what it takes to successfully negotiate the masculine journey.  But the best part of the weekend is that the imparting of the theory doesn’t take long, releasing lots of time to its practical application.

So my last blog post shared some of the struggles we have with our beloved middle son and our excitement about going on a Fathering Adventure weekend in Townsville.  Well we’ve been and gone and I’d love to say it was a rousing success, and perhaps it was.

I had faced four days with middle son and his defiant ways with trepidation.  And at times he was at his worst, we call them ‘meltdowns’ and they can be nuclear.  And since he returned he’s faced some challenges at school (his best friend has transferred to one of the expensive private schools on the Coast and it’s taking some adjusting) but there were some highlights on our trip that more than outweigh the negatives.

Here are a couple of small insights.

It’s Saturday night, just after dinner. Earlier in the day MS and I had talked about the impact of food additives and preservatives on his behaviour and resolved that we could work together to try to eliminate some of them from his diet to see if it helped him.  So that’s the background to the next gem of conversation.

MS: What did they sprinkle on the dinner tonight?
Me: What do you mean?
MS: They’ve poisoned the food.
Me: Why do you say that?
MS: Well they must have added something to it, because I have felt overwhelmed with gratefulness for you and Mum.
Me: Well that might not be the food, that’s called a realization!
MS: No but I feel really guilty because I know I fight you all the time and it must not seem I’m grateful.
Me: Well mate, part of being a parent is absorbing those blows.
MS: I think if they did not sprinkle something on the food to make us feel this way then God is making me feel this way, and I don’t ever want to feel this way again.

Later that night we publicly affirmed our sons and told them what we cherish and value about them.  He took it all in but then just as he was going to bed that night he stopped me and asked me to repeat it all again because “I don’t want to forget what was said.”

This brings us to Day 4, the one after the camp was over but where our flights meant we’d languish in Townsville for the day.  The night before he’d had one of his meltdowns and I woke wishing we’d pulled out early, caught an earlier flight, anything to avoid a day of attrition over how much computer time I’d give him.

My morning trepidation was to be totally smashed by day’s end.  We hopped into my sister’s car under the premise we were going to just “hang out”, point the car, drive, stop wherever MS saw something he wanted to see.  And the day developed into a whirlwind of activity as only MS can produce.  We saw a lot of Townsville, including several things I’d not seen despite having spent seven teenage years there!

We ran through the mazes at Queens Park, went to the Tropical Museum, hopped a security fence and clambered all over the gun emplacements at Kissing Point, ran the Strand, went to the cenotaph to commemorate the Battle of the Coral Sea and had a long conversation about the battle and what it mean and finally finished up near some giant fig trees with hanging vines that kept our young Tarzan entertained for the longest of anything we’d done before.  Small, simple, free things.  It was a great day.

So that was our journey.  As always with this boy I have to suspend my powers of foresight and logic, because nothing ever turns out as expected.  The best moments often fly in the face of trepidation the worst moments are often preceded by idealism and optimism.  Easier to just go with the flow and love him for all the good he contributes to our lives.

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5 Responses to What we did

  1. Ben Johnston says:

    Great stuff Andrew….

  2. MUM SAYS says:

    Your patience and stick-ability astounds me! There has to be a reward in heaven!

  3. HG31 says:

    Your unconditional love has to win the day, even with Mr MS!!!

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