Every parent has to confront it at some point.
The thing that was your thing when you were a kid isn’t your kid’s thing.
You’ll share many, many similarities, tastes and traits for sure. But “that thing” that you would have done anything to spend your whole day doing? It can’t possibly be the very same thing each and every one of your kids is going to feel the same way about in their life.
The sad part is if we miss this.
As in when we spend most of our time trying to make our thing, their thing.
I used to feel sorry for myself that my kids haven’t ever really wanted to sit down and watch a Philadelphia Eagles game for more than 5 minutes with me. I’d listen to lots of other dads tell me about how their kids do (not intending to rub it in…it was just part of what they both liked)…and find myself wishing that my kids would want to experience the same thing with me.
And recently it happened.
Without much warning, and pretty much by chance.
We have a really old checkers board that we keep out on a game table that has been in my side of the family for a few generations. I’ve always loved the game…and could spend hours playing it if someone else was willing.
The other day, Oscar (who is now 8), came up to me and said something that made my heart leap.
“Dad…could we play checkers?”
Simple. Simple and direct.
And in that moment it was like I was given a gift.
It was better than watching a football game wishing he loved it too.
In that moment we were able to play a game that would then, and very much will into the future be a source of conversation, bonding and camaraderie between father and son.
It’s our game. Our thing.
It’s the moment I guess as a dad your heart longs for. That moment when what you get excited about is what they too get excited about. There have been other moments like that as a dad…and there will be more for sure.
But they never get old.
And more importantly…they never age.
So as I grow older…and maybe even slower…we’ve discovered another “thing” that connects us.
There are various “things” that are specific to each child, and some that we…as a family…all share together. (Ummm…HELLO…Outer Banks, NC! Our entire family LOVES that place)
So today I’m ok with the fact that I may be the only Philadelphia Eagles crazy in the house.
(disclaimer: I have taught my kids the Eagles fight song, and have an Instagram video to prove it…that was liked by the official page of the Philadelphia Eagles…but whose keeping, track…really)
But it’s all good.
It’s about checkers.
And our time together.
And…I’m in trouble.
He’s really good and he doesn’t even know it yet.
I may be losing a lot of checkers games over the years to him.
And you know what?
I can’t think of a better win than that.
It’s even better than an Eagles win.
It’s time with my son.
It’s time for checkers…
Interesting little fact about this story…
And sometimes we wonder how God works. Take a look at the picture of the checkerboard again. Do you see the “OWB” written across the corner in blu script ink?
That stands for “Oscar William Bixby”.
A name shared by a few men spanning several generations in our family.
Men of great integrity & character.
And today it reminds me that God knows so much more than I do.
My 8 year old’s name?
My middle name?
Like I said, it’s our thing.
Seems like it was always meant to be.
Funny how God does that.
He knew all along I’d be spending time watching a game with Oscar.
I thought it would be Eagles games. Turns out, it’s better.
What I thought I wanted was replaced by what God had always intended.
Go spend some time looking for your kid’s “initials” on something today.
What is it that makes their heart leap?
It might be something you hadn’t thought of.
But I promise you when we find it, it’s always better than anything we could have dreamt up on our own.
Because as dads it’s not about what we want them to like so they are just like us…
it’s helping them discover who they are and were created to be.
Until next time,