I want to share something pretty interesting with my IGTBTD readers today. Friends of mine, Duane and his son, Curran, recently participated in some wacky steeplechase-ironman-grungefest. There was all kinds of running through mud and fire and everything wonderful. Here’s a picture of the two of them going through one of the water hazards.
What a great scene, father and young adult son bonding through the shared experience of testing their strength and endurance. I really encourage this kind of father-son activity. Especially as the kids get older, we dads need to find new ways of staying connected with our kids as they grapple with all the challenges of the grown-up world.
Only one problem… the photo above is an amazing optical illusion. Curran is actually 14 and a freshman in high school. Scroll down to see the picture in the last paragraph. That’s Curran’s actual size.
When these photos first popped up on my friend’s Facebook account, I was stunned. I was stunned that the camera accidentally captured what was happening inside Curran! He’s already beginning to feel like a man. Girls are more “interesting”. Work, and income, is beginning to add a new level of independence. He thinks about life in more complex and subtle ways than ever before. In short, he’s growing up, fast, even though he may be a couple years away from the growth spurt that will signal to the rest of us that he is quickly becoming the young man he looks like in the first picture.
A couple posts back, I wrote about the developmental issues that maturing children face and how dads can “mature” in our fathering techniques to keep pace. If you haven’t yet, please read that post.
But let’s let Duane and Curran give us some tremendous advice as well… Dads, keep growing in how you connect with your kids. This wackadoodle run through fire and water would have been frustrating and nearly impossible for Curran just a couple years ago. It would have separated father and son. Now, from either picture you want to look at, it seems that father and son found an experience that drew them closer together.
With my boys, I’ve gone from working on Legos to working on cars. Although I think I was much more skilled on the Legos, I now cherish that time together under an oily Jeep engine. I think my kids might, too!
Dad’s keep growing along with your children! It’s good to be the dad!!!
Clark H Smith