When my boys were young they played ice hockey. I did not play hockey in my youth so it was fun for us to learn together.
I discovered a father – son hockey camp in Minnesota called Peak Performance Hockey Camp. The camp provided a great opportunity for fathers and sons to learn hockey and be together. I cannot tell you how much fun we had – and how hard it was to say “good bye” at the end of the summer.
One year at hockey camp one of the dads was more over the top than the rest of us. We were all a bit nuts but this dad was in a league by himself. He was yelling at his son, telling him to try hard, and to do better.
Note to Good Dads: This is not good.
Without saying a word we all knew someone had to say something. The point of these moments is not to tell someone how bad they are being. The point of these moments is that we all benefit from each other. I do. You do. Good Dads need Good Dads.
I put my hand on the man’s shoulder and said, “You sure have a great boy. He is one of the best out there.” He looked at me and said, “Thanks; he really is a good boy.” And this man really was a good dad.
Later that day we went to the water park. The kids swam and played while the dads sat together. We told stories. We laughed. We listened to each other.
The man who had been yelling at his son shared how he was recently divorced. He hated it. He saw his son every two weeks and two weeks in the summer. He admitted how anxious he gets and how hard it is when his son has to leave.
It is hard for all of us to say “good bye” to summer and special moments. I could not image how much harder it was for this man. The man apologized for the way he had been acting. He shared how much pressure he felt to make the most of every moment and how it felt like he was losing his son.
Summer marks the passage of time for all of us. Dads and children can feel like they won’t have this moment again. Good Dads will make the most of each moment -- and begin planning the next moment together:
1. Relax and enjoy special times just as they are. Never try to do more or make more of a moment than what it is.
2. Ask your children what they most enjoyed. Listen. Make a date of it. A souvenir, a scrapbook, or a photo can make a summertime memory last forever.
3. Plan for a similar time for the winter – a Thanksgiving trip, a Christmas vacation, or some other time together!
Jeff Sippy, a Dad-In-Training, is the father of three young men and the husband of Cindy. He enjoys sailing every chance that he gets. He is the senior pastor at Redeemer Lutheran in Springfield, MO and can be reached for question or comment at email@example.com