The Adventures Of Fatherhood – June 19, 2020

The term “digital detox” has been tossed around a lot of late as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, remote workplaces and digital learning.

If current news events allow me, I try my best to take a break each weekend. It’s good for the soul to stay off the laptop and cell phone as much as possible at least a couple days a week. As for my kids, who are 12 and 10 years old now, they could certainly use a little “digital diet” these days. School for the last three months required a lot of computer time, but with quarantine in full effect there’s no question electronics have been in high use.

With homeschool days behind her, Pam set out with nothing but the best intentions Monday. She wanted to get the kids out of the house early and do something fun. I suggested maybe lunch and miniature golf as I went out the door to work. She must have liked the idea as that’s where she headed.

While I was on a Zoom meeting, she sent me a video and pictures from their putt-putt match. It was great to see them out and about having fun. Quarantine has come with a lot of family challenges and too much screen time and video games has been a top concern during many days. At the height of the pandemic, I couldn’t even muster the energy to argue with the kids they are on their iPads and video consoles too much. It was silly. I figured they were dealing with enough and could just go ahead and veg out, especially on rainy days. In some ways, being on their devices helped with the isolation aspect.

With the weather now summerlike for the most part and school behind us, we are looking forward to getting away from home more and more while being as safe as possible. I know that was Pam’s mindset when she went out to play putt-putt Monday.

After seeing the pictures, I figured all was fun. Later that night while catching and recapping the day, I asked her about it. She then proceeded to detail how it went.

Carson refused to wear his mask. He insisted on having the same color club as his brother. Beckett refused to take any advice from his mom, contemplating often to God why he would decide to make him bad at putt-putt golf. He later told me, “it must be a 2020 thing,” as I made the mistake of asking him if he made any hole-in-ones.

Continuing with Pam’s recap, she ended up winning, Beckett pouted about it and Carson wanted to play again while Beckett was upset about the long lines at the Baja go-karts. Evidently their mom had enough of it all and decided to grab lunch and head to the harbor to eat and watch the boats. While Carson was enjoying the sights and sounds, Pam said she spent most of her time making Beckett sit still while he ate and stay off on his phone. When I asked what they did after lunch, she gave me a look that said it all. They came home because she had enough fun for one day with our kids.

At the end, she summed up, “but it was still fun for the most part.”

Now that’s a typical mom comment. One of the keys to parenting is to have a short memory and to forgive. She has that part down cold.


Though feelings are mixed, we always try and get the kids involved in our projects around the house. Of late, we have been focusing on outside improvements.

I would be lying if I said it was fun involving them in the work, but we think having them help a bit will result in them being proud of themselves when the job is complete.

For instance, we are currently working on a project transforming a 15-foot by 25-foot garden area into a stamped concrete patio space. It’s been a month or so of work on the weekends. Each weekend the kids give us a hand shoveling out the area. Carson is usually good for about an hour a day and Beckett averages about 20 minutes. Their reasons for quitting vary. Carson gets tired, and Beckett gets bored (although he disguises it as heat exhaustion leading to fatigue).

We are fine with any help they provide. Any shovel full they knock out is that much less for their mom and me. The reality is it’s hard work and I completely understand it’s not a lot of fun. I was their age once and I get it. However, there is something to be said for being involved in a project and having some pride in the hard work later once it’s completed.

One evening I was looking over our work with a drink in hand. Carson saw me, grabbed a juice box and sat with me. Every now and again Carson likes to imitate, and this was one of those times. If I took a drink, he did as well. If I put my hand on my face, he followed suit and so on.

Beckett came outside when he saw us sitting around admiring our work. He’s more of an entertainer than an imitator, so he grabbed a shovel and started playing the air guitar with a nearby rake as his microphone.

Carson then began imitating his big brother. It was all well and fun until their antics got rough, causing a retaining wall we had built earlier that day to cave in entirely. Beckett said he would fix it tomorrow. At that point, I just had to walk away.

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.