Growing up, did you ever have an adventure that you took with your father? If your father was busy or not present, did you ever have friends that you joined on different adventures?
Growing up in the Midwest, the kind of adventures we sought out many times depended on the seasons. In the winter, we’d plan to build snow forts or find the most dangerous hills to sled down. In the Spring in Iowa, just as the snow was melting, we’d take off our shirts and run around (probably only 40 – 50 degrees Fahrenheit), but it was a heat wave to us.
There was snowmobile driving, canoeing down the Turkey river and seeing water snakes, the fireworks incident, falling off a water slide, building things in the forest, and much more.
Take the time
Even though dad was often very busy at work, during the Summer, he spent time coaching my brothers and eventually my baseball team. I remember him taking me fishing several times before he went into work when I was struggling with my pitching. I have no idea what we talked about, but I still remember how it felt, just spending time together. It was a fond memory and eventually my pitching got faster and more accurate.
I don’t think it matters if you are climbing mountains or just sitting around fishing, fatherhood is an adventure. Through the years, a variety of different challenges can test us as fathers: taking a young child to the emergency room or to get a broken arm X-rayed, having disagreements with them or their mother, comforting them when bullied, encouraging them through various challenges in school and sports, and loving them no matter what they do or how they behave.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes and given a lot of bad advice, but my boys always knew that we were in this adventure together. Enjoy it. Embrace it. It’s ok to laugh at your mistakes and sometime cry about them. Keep learning how to be a better dad and keep the adventure alive even when they are grown. Most importantly, be present in the adventure and during the in between times, when they just need to know that you’re listening.