Think back to when you were just a little kid and your dad said, “Hey son! What do you say you grab your glove and we head out to the backyard and play catch?” You’d feel excited, right? Because maybe you got a weird thrill from dressing your non-dominant hand in leather. Or, more likely, it was because you and your dad were partaking in the game of baseball, America’s pastime!
But wait, consider that word: pastime. If you know me at all, you know that I don’t believe in the past. And I’m not just talking about how I’m a Hands Across America denier (that's a topic reserved for my personal blog). No, I’m saying that, instead of embracing the past, you should look towards the future. That’s why dads today should consider mixing things up a little bit. Instead of going outside to toss the ball, you should:
Unbraid the ponytail: It’s fine if either you or your son grows and braids a ponytail for the other to unbraid. It’s even better if you can get a third party to volunteer a ponytail, so the unbraiding can be more of a team effort. But the best is if you unbraid the ponytail of a person who doesn’t even know you’re there. That teaches your son all sorts of important life skills, especially if you’re raising him to be a secret hairdresser.
Discuss the swing: Sure, swinging your kid on the swing might be more “active” or “hands-on.” But the truth is the average swing set too dangerous to actually be used; either it’s at someone’s house and therefore wasn’t assembled by professionals, or it’s at a public playground where it’s lorded over by juvenile drug dealers who hide their stashes in the hollow piping of the set’s frame (another theory I talk more about on my personal blog). That’s why you’re better off using swings just as a discussion AND NOTHING MORE. For example, ask, “hypothetically, if you were someone who was allowed to swing on a swing, which part do you think you would most enjoy – the up part or the down part – and why?”
Lift the motorcycle: Some sensitive motorcycle owners might say different, but as far as I see it, a parked motorcycle is fair game to lift with your son as a team-building exercise, whether it belongs to you or not.
Burn the symbol [into the lawn]: When you say to your child, “Hey, why don’t we sit down with some markers and design a symbol together that we will then use a makeshift flame thrower to burn into the grass of the front yard at such a scale so that it’s viewable from an airplane flying overhead?” you know what else you’re saying? “Dream big, kid!”
Now, your turn. Suggest what you would do with your son instead of tossing the ball around. Be sure to use the “[BLANK] the [BLANK]” template and explain why!