FatherSon Ventures

Building a Relationship through Adventure

First Audition

Written By: Scot Butwell - Feb• 18•17

audition

I don’t know if he’ll get a part or not. But when I learned the children’s choir was having auditions for acting parts in the upcoming the Children’s Pageant, I knew I had to encourage him to audition.

He was hesitant at first, but then I explained that as he got older and matured, he needed to find ways to “challenge himself” and the audition was a great opportunity for this.

I emphasized that he was “maturing” based on his mom’s decision to let him watch a Little Rascals movie. He’s been wanting to watch it for two years and she said he could watch when he was more mature

So he decided to audition with only a little wrangling on my part and raised his hand for the part he wanted to try out for. His projection (something I could have discussed with him) could have been louder.

His tone was good in adding emotion and inflection to his lines, but he did get distracted and need help knowing when it was time to read his next line.

That’s the point, though. He needed to experience what to do—and not do—in an audition. There was some kids who killed it, so we’ll wait and see if he gets a part.

But I’m glad he decided to challenge himself by auditing.

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This Certifies That

Written By: Scot Butwell - Feb• 18•17

soap carving

The switch blade may have lost some of its appeal from previous generations, that’s for sure.

But D still enjoyed earning a badge for demonstrating knowledge and skill in the use of a personal pocketknife.

The Whittling Chip certificate he received said, “By completing these safety requirements and by promising to abide by the Knives Are Not Toys guidelines and the Pocketknife Pledge, he has the earned the right to carry a pocketknife…”

To designated Cub Scout functions.

We went to my classroom and he decided to do his soap carving of his initials and, in retrospect, I wish I would have given him greater command of the project.

I think I was more concerned how it would turn out than him, and so my hand often guided his making the cuts, and I had a flashback of his birthday and his mom let him cut the cake.

Her hand was over his, and I remember thinking how it symbolized how D was getting older, yet it is still often difficult to let him do things independently.

I guess I was guilty just like the Wife in holding onto to control when I should let go. So what if his soap carving gets messed up? He can start over and do another one.

This is attitude I want to have with D to help foster independence in him.

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Mambo Dance

Written By: Scot Butwell - Feb• 17•17

mambo dance

The mambo dance is an annual tradition of Pack 658…and the kids love it.

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Bird Experts

Written By: Scot Butwell - Feb• 17•17

angry birds

I came home from visiting my mom in the hospital, and after I ate a five-minute dinner (I don’t even remember what it was), D had to serve a time-out for breaking one of our house rules.

Of course, it took him 15 minutes, between going to the bathroom and various stall tactics, before he made it to the time-out area.

I took the time to connect with the Wife before joining D to play angry birds, entering into the world of birds and pigs with my six-foot-three frame sprawled out on the kitchen floor.

I know the names of most but not all of the angry birds. The largest Terrance, the fastest Chuck, bomber (shaped like his name), Red, Matilda, Hal, the Mighty Eagle, et al.

And I know the names of some but not all of their antagonists the pigs: King pig, Leonard, Corporal (with the soldier’s helmet), Forman (with the mustache), and Dopey.

bird expert

D and I like to sing “Best Friends” by Blake Shelton (from the movie); that is, until the Wife discovered the soundtrack had a few inappropriate songs and it got confiscated.

So on the linoleum kitchen floor, we took turns assembling and knocking down towers, pulling back a slingshot with an angry bird inserted and sending it flying towards the pigs in towers.

It was the most fun of my day…until I became a bull in a rodeo with D on back. This is probably because we saw two bulls on our recent trip to Malibu Wine Safari.

I snorted and tried to buck D off my back amid raucous giggling. D will turn nine tomorrow and I hope he doesn’t grow up too fast because I will miss these times being silly.

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Star Eco Station

Written By: Scot Butwell - Feb• 15•17

eco 1

This was a lot different than the Pet Store.

Instead of seeing the usual dogs, cats, fish, crickets, hamsters and guinea pigs, we saw an alligator, two foxes, a 100-pound boa constrictor, and an assortment of reptiles and birds rescued from human traffickers by the U.S. Fish and Game Department.

This was Star Eco Station, and my favorite part was when D said, Hey Boss, and beckoned to me with his hand to come over to where he was, and I was torn between staying with the tour or responding to D’s overture.

He was one room ahead of us–just five feet way– but it felt like the Bubble Room scene from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when Grandpa Joe and Charlie drink the “Fizzy Lifting” drink and float up toward a giant steel fan.

I was tempted to see what D had discovered, but the good citizen that I am, I stayed put and listened to our tour guide…and then saw what D found so exciting: Two foxes.

eco 2

One was a frisky grey and brown fox running around fast inside his cage, the other a black fox with a frightened countenance. Both were housed behind a chain link fence with a glass casing.

Every one of the exotic animals had a back story about how they were rescued, usually confiscated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife services, and the foxes were probably no exception.

But my listening was distracted by my excitement at seeing the foxes–and trying to get a good photo–and I missed hearing how they ended up at the Star Eco Station.

However, here are a few of the back stories of how the animals ended up at the eco station:

Someone in Texas shipped ten baby alligators in a box to LAX.

eco 3

The 100-pound boa constrictor lived in 20 pounds of his own feces because the owner was too scared of him.

An exotic birds plucked out all of its chest feathers due to stress while being cast in a movie.

A huge turtle was found in a trash can at the airport.

I would like to say that D and I became more sensitive to the mistreatment of the animals. However, the truth is, I was too busy taking pictures to think much about the animals’ plight.

Also, the college-age tour guide could have slowed down the pace of information to let it sink in; although it was more my fault for not listening more attentively.

But I left thinking that I would like to go back again, and listen better to hear the stories of the animals and to ponder what this says about our human race.

eco 5

 

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Biker Pig

Written By: Scot Butwell - Feb• 06•17

biker pig

D and I became Lego engineers on his birthday. This picture is from Google images because he smashed the motorcycle not too long after we completed it.

We got to work after eating a piece of his birthday cake. His mom made a chocolate cake with white frosting and, two days later, a strawberry cake for my birthday. Both were delicious.

D started to open the plastic bags, and the tiny pieces nearly got all mixed all together, and a few pieces fell to the floor. I got anxious because knew more than D the added difficulty we’d face if the work became disorganized

Plus, I could see I was doing more of the workload than D. He was just excited seeing different angry bird figures in the plastic bags, and not concerned like I was about the construction difficulties.

“Hey, you knocked some pieces on the floor,” D told me a few times after he bumped some legos off the table.

It was one of those moments I could feel myself starting to lose it, but I managed to hold it together. I realized it was only legos, and we pressed forward on the biker motorcycle.

We followed the instructions step-by-step, snapping small pieces together and mostly working together, and assembled the motorcycle, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

It was a Friday night, and following instructions and connecting tiny legos is difficult after a long day of work; but it was fun doing it together with D and I gained a new appreciation for engineers.

After we finished, D played with the biker pig motorcycle for a minute or so, and we joined the wife in the living room, all of us taking a much-needed electronic break.

We both fell asleep, and a couple hours later, D was still enjoying being on his I-pad playing Angry Birds, when we woke up.

 

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Quiet Time

Written By: Scot Butwell - Feb• 04•17

witq times

We started our quiet time by me reading one of Jesus’ parables from Luke’s gospel. It was about a fig tree and I explained how parables have two meanings, a literal and secret meaning.

I thought I sold him on searching for the secret meaning after D mentioned another one of Jesus’ parables. The one on building your house on solid rock. Thank you, Bob and Larry, from Veggie Tales.

Then, after I read the parable of the fig tree to him, I reiterated the key point with a dramatic voice: how every time the owner inspected the fig tree for fruit…there was no fruit.

I planned to transition to talking about the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5:22: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness.

I wanted him to inspect the fruit in his life, to think, perhaps, if his actions are loving and kind, but he had no interest in a story on a fig tree bearing no fruit, even one that had a secret meaning.

“I don’t care,” D said after I emphasized the tree had no fruit.

So I switched to a story with people. A short man who was a rich tax collector and climbed up a tree to see Jesus. Although he knew this story, I hoped to plumb its meaning in depth.

***

In his narrative, Luke tells us Jesus came to a tree in Jericho and saw a little man. He looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for today (emphasis mine) I must stay at your house.’

Jesus made eye contact, called him by his name, and invited himself to be a guest at his house. This must have been a surprise to Zacchaeus, but also a tremendous offense to the people.

And as Luke tells it, Zacchaeus hurried down and received Him gladly. And when the people saw it, they all began to grumble, sneering, ‘He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.’

Zacchaeus stopped and said to Jesus, ‘Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.’

Jesus declared, ‘Today (emphasis mine) salvation has come to this house because he, too, is a son of Abraham, for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.'”

Interestingly, I thought later, it was the same story as Jesus’ parable on the fig tree, a man bearing no fruit who had no recourse for his sins being forgiven…except through the saving grace of Jesus.

Honestly, I know we didn’t plumb the depth of this story. Sure, we tried. We discussed details and what they meant. But we fell short of this simple truth: Jesus came to seek and save the lost.

 

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Still Smiling

Written By: Scot Butwell - Jan• 30•17

mom

She went through an emergency four-hour surgery to remove part of her colon and spent a week in the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital.

She now has a colostomy bag instead of a regularly working digestive system.

Her calcium and potassium were dangerously low one day this week, and with all the iv tubes inserted into her body, she looked more like a Christmas tree.

Her blood pressure has been high most days, she has had trouble putting down liquid food and threw up in a bag several times during one of my visits this week.

During another visit, she vomited out green projectiles.

She had a Styrofoam-looking pad called a wound vac inserted into her open wound in her stomach and, a week later, the wound became infected.

Her body has been pumped with antibiotics and other medications, it is hard to keep track, while she has been lying in bed for the past two weeks.

She ate chicken and rice for lunch the other day. It was her first solid food in two weeks.

She was discouraged by her inability to sit up more than seven minutes, but the next day she sat up for 40 minutes during her physical therapy session.

She has a long road of recovery ahead to regain her strength and, at age 83, she will have to give it all she’s got to recover.

But she’s still smiling, and I’ve seen her do it before when she broke her hip, so I know that she can do it again.

I see her body is becoming more frail, and sometimes she sleeps most of the day, but she has a determined spirit and, yes, she is anxious and afraid at times.

Yet, she is still trusting God in her situation.

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Break Dancing

Written By: Scot Butwell - Jan• 23•17

break dancing

No, D is not break dancing.

Although it looks like it.

We took a night walk to the park on his birthday. The lights were on at the basketball court. So I asked D to “do the snake,” a reference a You Tube clip with a snake who flips around like crazy and kills itself.

The video always sends D into convulsive giggles. So after he flopped around the ground, I poked D to see if it were alive, but the next time, I plan to join the scene by pretending I am a paramedic and give him CRP.

Call it You Tube Improv theatre.

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Untitled

Written By: Scot Butwell - Jan• 23•17

cub scout

This is D’s favorite part of a cub scout pack meeting: game and snack time. Anything involving running and a little craziness perfectly suits D’s temperament.

It is the same for all the scouts. This game was sharks vs. minnows. Blind sharks, that is. And it got crazy.

There were around 30+ scouts, all running in a roughly 15 to 20-foot area, and as the blind sharks tried to tag the minnows, while running with their eyes closed, it was pure madness and very entertaining to watch.

Like watching a bunch of hens running wild in a chicken coop or something like that.

***

The meeting had a stream-of-consciousness feel because the assistant scoutmaster substituted for the Scoutmaster, and in winging it, I liked how he gave several scouts public speaking opportunities.

The Pine Wood Derby winner for the past two years gave design tips on how to build a fast car: “You have to make it aerodynamic,” said the nine or ten-year-old future engineer.

“What does aerodynamic mean?” the assistant scoutmaster asked. “You know, just in case anyone here does not know what that word means.”

And the boy gave the definition which means D will be up against stiff competition and we better get started working to make his car as aerodynamic as possible.

Another scout talked about an upcoming camp out.

And then the assistant scoutmaster asked one of the older boys to explain the rules for sharks vs. minnows. And that’s when it got crazy. Fun crazy.

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