FatherSon Ventures

Building a Relationship through Adventure

Let Play Reign

Written By: Scot Butwell - Oct• 02•16

c-and-d-in-treeD and I went to the park with his friend C.  They climbed their favorite tree and watched six workers building a well. They were both wearing red t-shirts and blue shorts.

“Did you guys call each other to wear the same colors,” I said.

It’s a well that’s taken over a year and half to build. That’s because pipes have run underground from the park all the way up the street, making it difficult to find parking spots.

Anyways, it was an eight and seven-year-old, sitting together in a tree, looking at what they will do when they become men. Work.

“I bet they make $48 a day,” C said.

I thought about correcting him by telling him it was more like $48 an hour, but figured he had a long time to learn about the economics of a paycheck.

D’s mouth hung open as he watched the workers, and I wondered what he was thinking. Was he thinking what his future vocation might be?

Was he admiring triangles in the chain fence? Was he thinking about George Washington being on the quarter? Was he thinking nothing at all?

I watched too, thankful for this unexpected stillness and question, in my otherwise frantically busy life. Not really thinking, just being with D and C.

And the worked laughed and kidded one another, and I thought, “this is how work should be done.”  Not too serious. Done with a sense comraderie with co-workers. Lots of laughs.

C was more chatty than D, telling me how he wanted to be a teacher when he became a grown-up.

Eventually, the moment ended, and D began to throw a rock over the fence towards the workers, perhaps making a statement by his action.

Let play reign.

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There’s a Minion…

Written By: Scot Butwell - Sep• 26•16

car friesHey, Boss, there is a minion in the backseat. It’s minion Kevin!  Who put him in the car?

Probably Kevin died and someone carried him in here, and he rose again and started speaking like an idiot.

Shouldn’t Kevin be with Scarlet Overkill?

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Solar System in the House

Written By: Scot Butwell - Sep• 25•16

planetsD knows more about the planets than any other eight-year-old I know. He’s always watching videos or reading books about the plants.

I don’t know quite what it is about Mercury, Venus, Earth,  Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, but D loves the planets and learning more about them.

So I am learning there are gas and rocky planets, about the big red spot on Jupiter (larger than the size of Earth, and how an asteroid knocked Uranus sideways.

I love how he has gone far beyond the basics, like Saturn has fancy rings, to obscure facts like the fact Saturn has 46 moons.


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The Beginning

Written By: Scot Butwell - Aug• 04•16

I didn’t see it,

the bright green

glow of the grass,

the soft texture

beneath our feet,

the blue sky above,

flowers and figures,

but he saw it all.



No, I didn’t see it

the way he did.


He noticed every

color and shape,

like a budding artist,

the intricate patterns

the compositions

unfolding before us,

nature’s art work.


We swam together,

D floating in his vest,

me a few feet ahead.

He liked drifting,

and me pulling him

in a zigzag pattern.


We took the same

route most days.

He found grass

strange at first.

And he liked to

run up a hill to

explore the plaza.




In the beginning, I

held him in my arms,

his heart beating against

my own, my arm draped

over his back, his eyes

looking over my shoulder,

a black cat named Blackie

always following behind us.



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“Toys for Sale”

Written By: Scot Butwell - Aug• 04•16


It was one of those things that was funny a day later, but not at the time it happened.

D and C were at the park, and C had brought a wagon full of toys, and D took off running with the wagon down a hill.

“Toys for sale! Who wants to buy Sheriff Woody?” he yelled at the bottom. “Batteries not included.”

I don’t know what prompted it–a long summer afternoon perhaps–but C started crying, believing D was really going to sell his toys.

“Those are my toys…you can’t sell my toys,” C said.

“Toys for sale,” D kept repeating. “Who wants to buy Sheriff Woody?”

A group of boys surrounded the wagon, lending credibility to the “toy sale” in C’s eyes, and things soon began to escalate between D and C.

So we ended up back home with D writing “I will use kind hands” ten times. Why can’t he just get along with his friend at the park?

That was the sum of my thoughts. Granted, if C had believed me that D was not really selling his toys, the situation might have turned out differently.

The boys were not whipping out money to buy toys. Still, I was frustrated D could not just go to the park, without an incident occurring.

I couldn’t shake the angry feeling out of my head–that is, until I had a brilliant idea: to role play what happened to help D examine his choices.

Maybe, he could even develop some empathy for his friend. At least, that was the plan.

We started by creating a storyboard, which turned out to have six scenes, and I realized we were plotting the outline for a movie instead of role playing.

And then came the acting.

D reenacted what happened with so much gusto that I realized he probably wasn’t having an empathy for how C felt about his toys being sold.

Oh, well.

First, there was a chase scene. D stealing C’s wagon and running around the kitchen with me trying to catch him. That was a lot of fun–for us both.

“Come back here with my wagon,” I kept repeating as D ran and giggled at the same time.

Next, there was his “toys for sale” monologue, D giving a complete inventory, as I wailed loudly in despair.

“Those are my toys…you can’t sell my toys.”

And so it went. I bartered with D over the price of toys. Dialogue flowed back and forth between us with more of an ease than it often does.

He loved it, and so did I. It was his movie.

We practiced each scene several times before one of us yelled “cut.” And then reviewed the plot for the next scene before yelling, “action!”

And then we did next scene and the next scene–with bits of directorial input from me.

It was great fun—we were both in sync—playing our roles, and as father and son, I rejoiced that we’d found a common activity to focus our attention.

We performed our movie for the Wife, and then we went to his swimming lesson, with the incident at the park long behind us.

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Swim Lesson

Written By: Scot Butwell - Jul• 26•16

swim 1

This is D’s first swim lesson. D said was a little scared, but he knew God would be there with him.

“God told me to brave,” he said, afterwards.

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D is for Dance

Written By: Scot Butwell - Jul• 25•16

d is for dance

D getting his groove on along with his friend C at Kid Concepts, USA.

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Movie Time

Written By: Scot Butwell - Jul• 15•16

d and me 2

Here’s what we’ve been watching this summer:

  1. Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
  2. Inside Out
  3. Secret Life of Pets
  4. Lilo and Stitch 2
  5. Finding Nemo
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Letting Go

Written By: Scot Butwell - Jul• 14•16

car wash

I sit in a red lawn chair,

across the street from D

and his friend C playing.

I rub sunscreen all

over my arms as they

take turns spraying each

other with the water hose.

Doing the same thing

as the past couple days,

when I’d joined them.


Come play with us,

C chirped.


I made up with some

phony excuse.


I watch them

for a while

on the sideline,

by design.

I am letting go,

I tell myself,

giving D

the chance,

to play

to interact,

without me.


I realize…


I have to let

my son grow up,

navigate situations

on his own, talk

with friends,

respond to their


solve problems,

like asserting

it is his turn on

the water hose.


He isn’t chatty…

but I hear talking.

Two-way dialogue.

He is doing fine.

There are no fights

or arguments – they

act like brothers.

At times…

Pushing and shoving.

But they’re kids

having fun getting wet.


So I join them.


I run on the sidewalk.

I get sprayed with water.

I point the hose to heaven

and I make raindrops fall

from the sky. I become part

of my son’s world, taking

turns shooting each other

with water. I am a runner

on first base leading off

before stealing second base,

safe if no water hits me.


I let no one pass by me

when it is my turn on the

hose. I torture prisoners

waterboarding their back

up close

or the back of their head.

The tip of my thumb on

the hose. I teach my son

to do the same with his



I am having fun, doing

things D likes to do.


I am thankful for water,

its cold wet caress on my

skin. I am amazed how

the simple act of water

flying through the air,

these micro-size packets

of joy, makes my son

smile, dance, laugh,

be happy, connected

with others.

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Chicken Fight

Written By: Scot Butwell - Jul• 06•16

chicken fight

I think I started it all.

D and C were swinging from the monkey bars, a few hours before Fourth of July fireworks, when D wrapped his legs around C’s waist, trying to pull him down.

“Chicken fight,” I said, giving a name to it.

We’d been searching for something to do, and I was thankful we’d found it, when D’s legs accidentally pulled C’s shorts halfway down.

Hello, Captain America.

So they took turns trying to pull each other down and Skyler (C’s mom’s friend’s tween daughter) video recorded them and we watched the chicken fights.

And we laughed.

C made loud wailing noises in the first few videos before realizing he didn’t need to be a passive victim and then the chicken fights became more competitive.

It was two boys having fun, and it was very fine entertainment, and it was exactly what I imagine it would be like if D had a brother.

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