Father of the Year

On a Father’s Path, there is a lot of learning as you go. Between your own stations of life, the uniqueness of your children, and their evolving needs in each successive developmental stage, there are a lot of slack-jaw moments spent at the crossroads of Uncertainty and Wit’s End. One of the many valuable lessons along the way is interpretation. What kids say and mean can be very different from reality—especially if fun and enjoyment are at the center.

The other day I had the chance to hit the golf range with my sons. The last time we did this I was the only one who needed a shave. Now, a brawny bearded youngest and a full-five-o’clock shadow (more like nine-o’clock…Does anyone remember Miami Vice?) older sibling launch range balls into the distance. I spend more time watching the flight of their bludgeoned metal drivers than teeing up my own attempts. Something about the arc of a ball—of any kind—into the blue sky. Something about watching your kids grow up…

clouds shade golf golfer

Photo by Nathan Nedley on Pexels.com

Many years ago, not far from this very space I had a “father of the year” moment. In the typical North Carolina heat of summer, my oldest, then a rising first-grader, asks to go the local golf establishment, a par-three course complete with practice facilities.  We head there, get a bucket of balls and start swinging off the grass tee boxes. A bit into the fun, I ask J if he is ok and he nods and smiles. No chance of him saying anything about leaving and I did not interpret the disparity between his words and his posture. His face is a bit flushed so I get him a water and the special: a pink lemonade.

Unbeknownst to me, the local news shows up, for what I don’t know, and the anchor asks if they could film father and son hitting golf balls. Hesitantly I say, “Ok” but no names, please. J plays it up for the camera with his golf glove, hat, and Tiger-like follow through, pausing at the top of the finish for effect. Thank goodness the cameraman and anchor didn’t hang around too long for it went downhill quickly after that…

Later that evening I watch the news snuggled up next to Melanie. Thar she blows! I think as the news cuts to a quick segment and a few seconds of father and son at the golf course. J took a few more swings after the news crew left and a few swigs of pink lemonade. Not captured for posterity was the pink power puke of an overheated little boy shortly thereafter.  Lesson learned and the walk of shame to cooler climes through a sea of snarls is banked for the future. As we leave I thank the Lord that J’s offering was as straight as his tee shots and baptized a welcoming patch of grass. Double thanks that we didn’t choose to hit off of the synthetic mats. Clean up on aisle three!

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About Dr. John Panepinto

Direction. Execution. Evolution. Each day can be an expression of living with purpose and focusing on what matters most. My sites share this theme of vision, living in our most important roles and responsibilities from imagination and creativity in a simple, practical way. I am committed to educating and serving, founded in principles of development, that people can use and practice in their every day lives.