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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Dare to soar with the eagles

Most young men fight with their fathers, off and on, throughout their lives or at least at one point or another. Some of these relationships are more turbulent than others, but for the most part it is pretty common among all father/son relationships. My son is having his problems these days with the resident "father figure" in his home, just as I had mine with my father. We'll get back to my son, Miles, though.

The way my major argument with my father played out is very similar to what my son is dealing with right now. It boils down to a difference of opinions over priorities. When I turned fifteen back in high school, I was still involved in boy scouts. My father was a scout, my older brothers were all scouts and my younger brother was a scout. In fact, my father, my older brothers and my younger brother were all Eagle scouts, the highest rank you can achieve in scouting. Between them all, we had eight eagle scouts in the family. I would have made the ninth. The problem was that it was not a big priority to me.

The reason for that was that at the time I had found something else that captured my attention. Soccer was the thing that held my waking moments. I enjoyed soccer, I excelled at soccer, all I wanted to do was to play soccer and I was good at it. I ended up getting college scholarship offers to play. But my father wanted me to be an eagle scout. He even gave me an ultimatum. Finish your eagle scout or you will never set foot on a soccer field again.

So much for that. I still play soccer, but didn't finish my eagle scout. All my brothers let me know about it too. But I have to say, looking at the way some of my brothers have turned out (being eagle scouts and all) I am not so sure that being a member of the "eagle scout" group is all it is cracked up to be. Don't get me wrong, I know that I messed up. I know that if I could go back and change it, that I would finish that eagle work and get my rank. I know now that it would have been a small task that would have meant the world to my father and most of my brothers. For if I had gotten my eagle, we would have had nine eagle scouts in one family. That would have set the world record for eagle scouts in one immediate family. We would have gotten to go to Washington and meet the President. It meant a lot to my dad and I torpedoed it right out of existence. Never to be done.....ever.

Well, it took over twenty years to get over that fight, but my father and I worked past it. I am not sure how he let it go, but he did. I just wish I could get it and show him I got it.

Hind sight really is twenty-twenty.

So, now back to my son. He is wicked sharp. Sharp enough to not study and still ace his tests in school. And as much as I and his step father tell him his grades count for a lot, he doesn't feel the need to focus on them. I now how my dad tried to communicate with me to get his ideas across and they didn't work too well. So I am trying a different approach to my son. I hope it works.

It would depress me to know that he had the same regrets that I do later in life over a failed communication. So to all you dads out there, don't give up. Keep talking to your boys and love them no matter what. I know I am going to do so.