Fatherhood Adventures – July 1, 2016

Fatherhood Adventures – July 1, 2016
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One of these days I am going to learn to not let my kids have my phone.

Lately, as a result of it syncing with the stereo, Beckett has been using my phone to play disc jockey in my new truck. It was all well and good until I realized he was sending text messages and instant messages through Facebook.

While riding to camp the other day, I asked him what he was doing because no music was playing. He said he was playing a game. He might have been at that very moment when I asked, but I soon learned he was scrolling through emails and messages.

I soon realized I need to be careful with this sort of thing because he’s a reader and there might be subjects he shouldn’t be reading or learning about.

Just when I was about to ask for my phone back, he straightened me out by saying, “Dad, we need to get you some excitement in your life because everything on your phone is so boring. The only cool stuff is all the pictures of Carson and me.”

Being boring is just how I like it. I later was able to see that he had in fact sent several messages of “hello” to social media friends.

As I took the phone back from him, he told me I needed a new phone. I knew where he was going with this as a common conversation of late has been how he wants a phone of his own. We went back and forth on that subject for a little back, resulting eventually in a familiar question, “When will I be able to get a cell phone?”

When I said when you turn 16 years old, he told me how unfair I was being, referring to a camp friend who was also 8 years old and had his own cell phone.

I like to think of that household the same way I think of the one where the tooth fairy leaves $20 per tooth. I believe the hip reference is, “smh.”

When I tell people Carson is going to summer school, which today is called “Summer Academy,” the response is always the same. It’s something along the lines of pity.

I actually felt that way for him as well during the one week he had off between the end of the school year and the start of Summer Academy. That was until school started on Monday.

I was apprehensive after school drop-off that morning. First it was a half hour earlier than usual and I worried he might be tough to get out of the house since the pace of life slows in the summer. That was not the case. He was up and ready in plenty of time.

Secondly, I worried the fact Beckett, who would be going to camp after, was also coming along for drop-off would mess up Carson’s mindset. There was nothing of the sort. He went on his way and left us without even as much as a look back. Even Beckett was taken aback by that, saying, “that’s it? He just goes without anything.”

It would seem the boy loves school and looks forward to it. He has no problem with the summer thing and understands why he’s there. It’s to work on shortcomings and to prevent the summer brain drain.

I love his laidback and understanding spirit and it was a relief to see him adjust so well.

Stubbornness will pay off one day. That’s what we keep telling ourselves as parents to obstinate children.

The strong-willed nature of our boys is on display each day, but there are times when I can barely stand how stubborn my kids can be.

One morning recently I thought Carson and I were going to come to blows over toy cars that he demanded come with him on the car ride to wherever we were going. It was a true test of my patience because I could not (and still don’t) understand why they had to come. Maybe it was me who should have been more flexible, but at that point I wasn’t going to cave. Besides not wanting to set a precedent, the truth of the matter is I didn’t want to junk up my new truck with toys (at least not yet).

As we squared off at the door to leave, we compromised and left the toy cars on the front stoop. He felt victorious. I was just happy it was over and we could get on our way.

A week or so later, Beckett showed off his stubborn streak on the beach. Due to the fact he got too much sun the day before because he wouldn’t wear his rash guard, we insisted he wear one until later in the day when the sun was not as strong.

To rebel, he decided he was going to just stay under the umbrella. Usually he heads straight to the ocean once we get to the beach. Instead, he sat with his rash guard on and pouted for about 30 minutes.

As I waved to him to come to the ocean, I could feel his wrath from the looks he was giving me. We didn’t budge and later in the day while in the ocean I did finally get him to admit he was being silly. That admission came with the caveat that he thought we were being too strict.

I hold out hope that a stubborn streak, borne out of strong beliefs, will bode well for my children in time.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.