FatherSon Ventures

Building a Relationship through Adventure

Acting Class

Written By: Scot Butwell - May• 24•16

“Acting is telling a story with words and using your body,” D’s teacher said at the beginning of class.

We all stood in a circle, six adults and D (the other five kids were absent), in a small room with light blue paint, making a motor boat sound with our lips.

Then we hummed different letters to warm up our voices and practiced articulating words. Red Leather, Yellow Leather. Good blood, bad blood. Unique New York.

“New Yeek, New York,” D said, and everybody laughed.

The mirror activity was next: D moved his hand, leg, head or and body parts like his partner, to get comfortable with body movement.

This was Shoreline Speech and Language Center, an eight-week program called “Act Up,” using drama to develop language skills.

The acting involved “showing” one of the five characters (joy, sadness, fear, anger, disgust) from the animation film “Inside Out” with different body parts.

D’s teacher pointed his toes in and asked D what character his feet were “showing,” and then they yelled out emotions and commented on the acting.

D became anger, joy, sadness and fear with different parts of his body. “Notice how you’re angry but you’re smiling,” D’s teacher gave as feedback.

They ended the first class by doing a “scene” with a slate and short script to practice showing emotions with their voice.

D had to hit his “mark” by standing on a taped spot on the floor and “take on” the emotion his partner showed in her first line.

“Are you Okay?” his partner said in a tone of sadness.

“Yeah, I’m okay,” D responded sadly.

“Are you sure?”

“I think so.”

“I get it.”

“Yeah.”

 

  • Twitter
  • del.icio.us
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Technorati
  • Reddit
  • Yahoo Buzz
  • StumbleUpon

“I Love LA”

Written By: Scot Butwell - May• 23•16

water shows

We spend some family time by getting some chocolate and watching the water shows. The song playing was “I Love LA.”

  • Twitter
  • del.icio.us
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Technorati
  • Reddit
  • Yahoo Buzz
  • StumbleUpon

Humans vs. Zombie

Written By: Scot Butwell - May• 23•16

They saw me and waited with guns drawn. I crept up between the cars parked on the sidewalk, hiding behind an SUV. They ran to the window and yelled for D.

“Get your gun and come outside…it’s Humans versus Zombie.”

It was D and his two friends against me, the Zombie, so I ran inside and grabbed my weapon, a red angry bird to throw as a grenade.

“Don’t take it outside,” the Wife said, “I just cleaned it.”

Even though they were using nerf guns with no real bullets, I still needed a weapon to join the game, to defend myself again their machine guns.

I followed them to the park, hiding behind oak trees, incarnating myself in a seven to nine-year-old’s world, rejuvenated by a nap in the car.

God’s strength being made perfect in my weakness.

I ducked and dodged bullets and fell the ground when shot, although they didn’t fall when hit my grenade. So I explained the pretending needed to be equitable.

I didn’t use that word, but that was my point.

I pursued them across the park, from the pond to the playground and up a hill, ambushing them and getting riffled with bullets.

There was a knife fight, hand to hand combat, D saying “deutsch, deutsch” as he sprayed me with bullets. D turned literally into a Zombie, biting his friend.

So I switched from zombie back into dad role, trying to console a crying seven-year-old and bring reconciliation between the two.

D said he didn’t want to be told to say he was sorry (a recurring theme at school in his life), but wanted to say sorry on his own.

“Ok, decide to say you’re sorry on you own,” I said.

“I don’t want to say I’m sorry,” he said.

Eventually, the game continued (D gave what could be considered an apology) and I hid behind a tree, ready to launch a surprise attack.

There was another knife fight, hand to hand combat, and then the game was over.

Later that night, while unwinding before bedtime, he told me a story he was creating with three Super Brothers: Chad-scapes, Gunman and Mr. Jellybean.

“Are they going to fight any Zombies?” I asked.

 

  • Twitter
  • del.icio.us
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Technorati
  • Reddit
  • Yahoo Buzz
  • StumbleUpon

Regarding the Hole in the Ceiling

Written By: Scot Butwell - May• 23•16

d and me 3

He wanted to explore the attic

which meant climbing a ladder

me hoisting him into a small

hot room

cluttered with an old tv

books, newspaper clippings

from twenty years ago.

I found “ode to a scholar”

a poem read at my dad’s

funeral.

 

He yelled down to Grandma

that he’d found underwear.

I wanted to continue to explore

the discarded relics from my past

while he stood over the large

gaping hole over the hallway.

Not a good situation, I thought.

 

So I lowered him feet first

over the wooden ladder.

Then my leg fell through

the dry wall ceiling plaster

falling like snow on the carpet

and my leg was stuck

hanging from the ceiling

as I held onto to you.

 

I thought about this

falling asleep in the car,

waiting for a parking spot

listening to a sermon on

spiritual contentment

and it’s true:

God is sovereign

over the circumstances

in my life.

  • Twitter
  • del.icio.us
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Technorati
  • Reddit
  • Yahoo Buzz
  • StumbleUpon

Captain Underpants

Written By: Scot Butwell - May• 16•16

cap upants

Captain Underpants is a guy who fights crime. He tears off his shirt, tie, pants, shoes, socks, turns a red curtain from his office window into a cape and jumps out the window.

With characters like Super Diaper Baby, Deputy Doo doo and the Lunch Ladies, the “Captain Underpants” series became the first long books D read cover to cover.

Who could resist a book with characters who have names like the Talking Toilets, Bionic Booger Boy, Tippy Tinkle Trousers, Professor and Poopy Pants?

D and I have enjoyed reading Captain Underpants’ exploits, and more so than with other books, he will remain engrossed in reading the stories.

So I was surprised to find out the “Captain Underpants” topped the list of most banned books in American in 2012, beating out “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

Here is an excerpt from Business Insider’s article, “Why ‘Captain Underpants Is the Most Banned Book in American,” which explains the ludicrousy:

Parents say in complaints filed to the Office for Intellectual Freedom that the illustrated books contain “offensive language” that is unsuited to the series’ target age group of elementary-school children.

The first book in the series even comes with a “Sturgeon General’s Warning” that says: “Some material in this book may be considered offensive by people who don’t wear underwear.”

So where’s the evidence that the books are actually a bad influence on children?

We’ve broken down the most “offensive” parts of the first “Captain Underpants” book in an attempt to understand why the series is the most banned in the country.

“Offensive Language”

In Chapter 4, the two protagonists of the series–George Beard and Harold Hutchins–refer to their school principal as “that old guy” and call him “Mean Old Mr. Krupp.” Throughout the book, there is reference to undergarments.

captain-underpants

Partial Nudity

The hero of the series, Captain Underpants, flies around in underwear and a cape throughout the illustrated book.

In Chapter 17, Captain Underpants slings his underwear at the evil Dr. Diaper in an attempt to defeat him and then covers himself with a barrel (Note: there is no actual nudity in the book, unless you count Captain Underpants’ chest).

Violence

In Chapter 16–titled “The Extremely Violence Chapter” — George and Harold save each other from evil robots by whacking (and presumably killing) them with what appears to be wooden planks.

The chapter comes with a disclaimer: WARNING: The following chapter contains graphic scenes showing two boys beating the tar out of a couple of robots.  If you have high blood pressure, or if you faint at the sight of motor oil, we strongly urge you to take better care of yourself and stop being such a baby.”

Misbehavior

The book is riddled with examples of George and Harold misbehaving. They play several pranks at school, including sprinkling pepper in the cheerleaders’ pom-poms and putting bubble bath in the marching band’s instruments.

Blackmail/Threats

The principal, who is later hypnotized by George and Harold into becoming Captain Underpants, blackmails the two mischievous students into behaving well at school and doing chores for him by threatening.

This could be construed as bullying.

But what’s even more shocking to us than the contents of the Captain Underpants series is why parents are so opposed to a book that gets young boys excited about reading.

Which is exactly what I thought.

As you can tell from the aforementioned “offensive parts” of the book, there is nothing really offensive. There is just good-natured boyhood pranks.

There is fantastic plots which keep eight-year-olds turning the pages.

So what’s not to like about Captain Underpants? Nothing!

 

 

  • Twitter
  • del.icio.us
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Technorati
  • Reddit
  • Yahoo Buzz
  • StumbleUpon

Pizza or Spaghetti?

Written By: Scot Butwell - May• 15•16

writing

The writing prompt for D’s homework was simple enough: to give his opinion in a paragraph on whether he liked to eat spaghetti or pizza.

It was standard second grade writing. Topic sentence. Three sentences with supporting details. End with a summarizing or closing sentence.

Mind you, being dairy and gluten-free, he has never eaten pizza, unless you count a nibble of cheese or crust, and he loves pasta, but has never eaten spaghetti.

D sat in the backseat of the car with a writing table. The Wife recently tried this to minimize distractions with his homework and she said it worked really well.

D told me he wanted to do it all by himself, so I offered him no assistance and was excited to let his own “voice” come out in his writing.

“You might want to be honest and say you don’t eat pizza or spaghetti,” I said. “You could also say that you are gluten-free.”

That’s all the help I gave. I thought about giving him a few verbal sentence stems to help get him started, like I do with my high school English classes.

However, I wanted him to hear what his words sounded like on paper. So I said no to micromanaging his writing assignment and the comfort of immediate results.

I was working on a blog post, doing some writing of my own, and didn’t think much about D’s progress in his writing, glancing back only once or twice.

Twenty minutes passed without any writing before I asked him how it was going. His paper was blank, but he seemed deep in thought.

“How is your paragraph going?” I asked

He gave no reply. Maybe, he was thinking.

I had been thinking that it was neat that we were both writing, although, technically, he hadn’t (yet) put down any thoughts to paper.

I felt like telling him something really profound like starting and finishing are the two most important steps in any creative endeavor.

But, at the same time, I wanted to give him space and time to work through any obstacles in the creative process–just like I have to do in my own writing.

Then, suddenly, his pencil was churning out words, like a lawn mower spitting out grass, and his paragraph was done:

I like pizza.

Pizza has more cheese than spaghetti.

I like the crust on pizza.

Pizza is more saltier which I like.

I like pizza.

His sentences were short and to the point, none longer than five to seven words, but I loved hearing his observations and opinions.

His writing expressed his view on the topic, despite his limited experience with pizza or spaghetti, which was his “voice” coming through.

So I’m glad I didn’t try to take over and guide his writing because then I would have missed hearing what D’s “voice” sounded like on paper.

 

  • Twitter
  • del.icio.us
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Technorati
  • Reddit
  • Yahoo Buzz
  • StumbleUpon

Free Running

Written By: Scot Butwell - May• 14•16

sofa jumping

We were a block away from the beach when D spotted an old tan couch by beside curb left by the owner to the first taker.

He stood on the back of the sofa and leaped off with his arms extended to his sides. This is how he creatively navigates obstacles in an environment.

Everywhere we go, from the playground to the beach, D finds a wall, railing, a trash can or sculpture (anything he can to climb) to climb and leap off.

jumping

I came across a You Tube video and found out there is actually a name–free running–for how he goes around, across or through obstacles in an environment.

Free running is described as “expressing oneself by moving fluidly in one’s environment with no limitation on the form of movement.”

  • Twitter
  • del.icio.us
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Technorati
  • Reddit
  • Yahoo Buzz
  • StumbleUpon

Mother’s Day

Written By: Scot Butwell - May• 10•16

denny's portrait

D had asked for a second hash brown on the way to buying a mother’s day card. His mom had already bought him one earlier in the morning from McDonald’s.

So when I told him in the parking lot at Target that I would think about it, D offered an interesting response, “Boss, you should go back to being your old self.”

I thought I knew what he meant. But I wasn’t completely sure, so I asked him, “What do you mean I should go back to being my old self?”

His answer was very telling, both in terms of his and my character development: “The one with you telling me to keep secrets from mom.”

D was referring to the few times I bought him a candy bar, and since he is gluten and dairy-free, I told him to keep it a secret from his mom.

D is very honest and tells his mom every emotionally significant event (like eating candy bars), so he revealed the secret to her as soon as we got home.

I learned from this incident, not necessarily from the Wife’s rant, that I play an important role in shaping my son’s character.

His request for a second hash brown was reasonable except he had been rude to his mom. But it provided a chance to fulfill my role to teach him character.

“While I was in the car waiting for you, I heard you say to your mom ‘I WILL NOT RESPECT YOU,’ ” I told him when he asked for hash browns.

I know all the horrible manifestations of his self—rudeness and disrespect chief among them—need my continuous tending, like a garden.

Weeds need to be uprooted. Soil needs to be made pliable. The gardener (me) needs to be continuously monitoring, uprooting and planting seeds.

So I didn’t go back to my “old” self. Because I want D to know that maturity comes through making good decisions in the small, everyday moments of life.

I hope he’s learning to take the narrow road, the one where he rejects what seems right and instead decides to follow God’s ways.

This, I know, will take a lifetime for him to learn. It has for me, but the Wife and I are committed to laying a foundation for him to follow.

  • Twitter
  • del.icio.us
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Technorati
  • Reddit
  • Yahoo Buzz
  • StumbleUpon

Notes on a Hike

Written By: Scot Butwell - May• 02•16

hike 1

D and I were standing next to each other when a dad unzipped his backpack and started passing out chocolate chip cookies from a zip-lock bag.

D moved closer to the bag of cookies and his eyes met mine. “Sure, you can have one,” I said, even though I knew they were not gluten-free.

We both bit into a fresh-baked cookie, and everything looked prettier than a moment ago. The curve of the trail. Lime green trees in the distance.

Looking out at the horizon, the Vincent Thomas bridge even took on a more scenic quality after just one bite into the delicious cookie.

hike 2Homemade cookies can have this effect on my world view. D gobbled his cookie down and immediately began coveting the remains of mine.

So I was faced with a parenting dilemma: eat the rest of my cookie or share it with my son and, softie that I am, I gave in to his request.

Eight months ago, D and I joined the cub scout pack that meets at our church. I hoped he would develop a sense of belonging with his fellow scouts.

During his first den meeting, D immediately fit in with his fellow Wolves, primarily by his enthusiastic style of playing tag after the official meeting ended.

A few weeks later, during an overnight camp out, he merged seamlessly with the entire pack of first through fifth grade boys in a large game of tag.

Monday night den meetings became a regular part of our week and I (“Mr. D,” one wolf called me) became a regular in the weekly games of tag.

hike 3

As D and hiked on the trial, I watched as D ran up to a trio of older scouts and was impressed by his social initiative.

“Hey, guys!” I overheard him say. “Guys! Guys! Guys!”

“What do you call Franklin D. Roosevelt?”

I doubt they probably knew the president during World War II. D has a book on the U.S. presidents and is fascinated by them.

“Franklin Drosevelt!”

The boys didn’t get the joke, but I liked his effort to connect, and further along the trail, he put on a pair of Minion goggles.

 

  • Twitter
  • del.icio.us
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Technorati
  • Reddit
  • Yahoo Buzz
  • StumbleUpon

Pancakes

Written By: Scot Butwell - May• 01•16

pcakes

D is allegedly gluten-free, but you wouldn’t know it, from the edge of my top pancake. Fortunately, I ordered the all-you-can eat pancake breakfast at Denny’s.

I want to cultivate harmony, peace and unity in my co-parenting with the wife; however, I didn’t think a few bites of my pancake threaten the unity too much.

  • Twitter
  • del.icio.us
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Technorati
  • Reddit
  • Yahoo Buzz
  • StumbleUpon