In my blog “A Special Visitor,” I wrote about Santa’s visit to my daughter, Ella. Santa is my friend Jan. It had been a while since we caught up, so after pictures, we chatted for a while. We were trying to figure out how long ago we had met. I can answer that with certainty now – it was 12 years ago. I know this because of something that came up in my Facebook Memories.
At one time, Facebook allowed you to write “Notes,” which were much like the blog option that was on My Space at the time. Tonight, back in 2008, I had one amazing night. Here is the contents of that Facebook note (with occasional elaboration from me in italics):
9 Years Old For a Night
(I’m not sure how I was made aware of the Proud Fathers class that was offered by the school district. My sons were 6 and 1 at the time, so I may have read about it at the daycare my son was going to. I remember that the flyer stated that the class was designed “to help strengthen the significant role that fathers and Very Important Males play in the successful development of their children. This program is open to all dads, grandfathers, uncles, and other Very Important Males.” There is no handbook to parenting, and I thought this class would be extremely beneficial to me as a father. Jan was one of the many dads who was in the class and we hit it off immediately.)
Many of my friends, who are also My Space friends, know that I have been taking a class through the GISD called “Proud Fathers”. It is by far the best thing I have ever done. I have learned more about myself, my dad, and my kids in 8 weeks than you can possibly imagine. It is a state funded program, so it is free and is a 14 week class.
(It was interesting to look back at my childhood and how my father parented to see how that affected my parenting style. In one of the classes, there was a cartoon in the workbook. It was two guys standing in a driveway looking at two piles of boxes. The caption of the cartoon read, “They’re things my dad gave me. Some things I am going to keep and some things I’m going to throw away.” The point of the cartoon was tied to an exercise. We listed the various things our father’s did when they parented. From that list, we kept certain things we liked about his parenting and got rid of the things we didn’t like. It was a fairly eye opening exercise.)
(Within the course, there was a day that was set aside for what they referred to as a “playshop” week. The week before, the fathers all threw around ideas on things we could do with our kids the following week. I remember all of us being excited as we began tossing around ideas. The more ideas came out, the more and more excited we got.)
Last week, we made plans for our “playshop” week, which was tonight. We had the parachute out and were bouncing balls off it, letting the kids run underneath it, and making the “mushroom”. We had a fishing game, where each child threw a line in (behind a big marker board) and someone from behind would attach something to the end, like a book or toy. We had kid bowling. We put our kids on one of those boards with the wheels on the bottom and pushed them into the pins (my idea).
But the best part of the night was the dodgeball game!
You can only imagine, the adults and the kids going at each other. It was a BLAST! The only difference with the way we played was you had to get hit three times before you were out. These kids were killing us dads! It was awesome! For a half hour we were all nine years old, doing our best to catch the balls hurled at us. Well, just like elementary school, I sucked! I was laughing to hard to care. I was amazed at the way these 6 year old kids were beaning me! We finally had to quit when someone hit the blinds in the back of the room and busted a few slats. We probably should have played it in the gym, but we figured a smaller room was safer.
Playing with your child – what a wonderful place the world would be if more parents did this! Dante’ and I bonded – especially when we were on the same team. Dimitri and I bonded when I drove him around on a tricycle made for an adult and child (Jan reminded me of this when he was at the house this weekend!). It was an awesome night. The joy that I experienced is something that I cannot wait to feel again. I may even have to schedule a play date…dodgeball anyone??
(Needless to say, it’s been 12 years since I played dodgeball. I really need to gather up a team to play!!)
When is the last time you played with your kids? If you can’t remember, boy are you missing out.
“Spending time with your children is one thing you will never regret”