FatherSon Ventures

Building a Relationship through Adventure

Random Thought

Written By: Scot Butwell - Dec• 05•16

chick-fite

One of my high school students wrote an essay on how he thought people are too sensitive and too thin-skinned to every hurtful comment made by others.

He argued his point very well, but I, politely, have to disagree with him.

“Let’s be honest, the world is a racist, sexist, and just judgmental place,” he wrote. “but it does not mean that we should get so angry or offended by it, because we all do it.

“I’m not saying,” he went on, “that we are all racist or bad people, it’s just how we are. We all judge people by the way they look, speak or even walk.”

I have to disagree with him, not about the fact we all have a tendency to judge (that’s definitely true), but about his viewpoint that we’re too sensitive.

We are human, and while I’ve found it helps to develop thicker skin, I still fundamentally believe it’s wrong when one person hurts another person’s feelings.

It’s human consideration to take into account how our words might affect another person. I see this truth lived out daily in our family and my son’s friendships.

chilis

A harsh word or tone hurts. Thicker skin helps it hurt less, but when we deny the fact our words can hurt others, we start to lose what’s most unique about us.

We’re human and, like it or not, we have feelings that get hurt.

D ran over to see his two neighborhood friends, and one didn’t like the fact he picked up his toy gun without D asking, and yelled at D.

Normally, D will yell back, but for whatever reason—I think it was that he really wanted to play with his friends—he shed a few tears.

Back at the house away from his friends.

But still, I can’t help wonder, as I read my student’s essay, how much a kinder place the world would be if we recognized human consideration as an important trait.

Another student of mine wrote what amounted to the opposite view in describing how his perspective of the world change because he was bullied and refused to fight.

“He decided to call me out for not fighting him,” he wrote, “but the way I see it is just me being the bigger and grown person.”

It’s common sense. A kind word or action make someone feel good, and an unkind word or action can hurt someone’s feelings.

That’s how I see it, and I hope my son will see, that we should try to be the more mature person by forgiving others, even if they’re unkind to us.

So, no, people in the world are not too sensitive, it’s actually the opposite—people are too insensitive to how their words and actions affect others.

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

Into the Woods

Written By: Scot Butwell - Dec• 05•16

into-woods

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

Ecosystems

Written By: Scot Butwell - Dec• 03•16

fish

Every now and then, D is in museum and he is just stopped.

Cold.

The Ecosystems exhibit at the California Science Center did it to him when he came to the fish aquarium after we recently visited the new “The Science behind Pixar” exhibit.

He laid down on the concrete bench and watched all the fish go by. The sheer beauty of the varieties of fish, and school of fish circling around, must have overwhelmed his senses.

My favorite part of the museum is always hamming it up at the news desk. D was saying, “Pluto is back to being classified as a planet…”

And then we started an on-air contest of who could make the funniest noises.

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

Big Brother

Written By: Scot Butwell - Dec• 03•16

big-brother

I got to see what D would be like if he had a brother when we discovered a play area at the mall, and D found a younger buddy to jump off a log over and over again.

The play area was designed for younger kids than D, who is eight, but there were other older kids excited to find a play area in a shopping mall.

While many eight-year-olds might grow tired of a three-year-old sidekick, D continued playing with him and it was clear he relished his newfound buddy.

They were both active boys who rarely stopped moving and, all in all, I thought D would make a great big brother because of his attentiveness.

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

Lumberjack

Written By: Scot Butwell - Dec• 03•16

lumber-jack

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

Finding His Voice

Written By: Scot Butwell - Dec• 03•16

singI told D that I would be listening to hear him singing at his school’s annual Christmas program.

It is an two-song affair that causes parents to arrive early and scramble to get front row seats. We had seats in the center of the third row.

And I waited to catch D singing. He loves to sing on his own in the house. Songs from his favorite movies, but it’s different singing with others.

And with a packed auditorium. There are so many distractions to take your attention away from singing and joining your voice with others.

I was a quiet kid who didn’t talk much, so I know I probably was the kid not singing, just being a part by standing there.

But midway through the second song, I saw D begin to find his voice by joining in the singing and hand gestures.

Isn’t this the same way we all feel? We all often clam up when given opportunity to express our creativity in some way.

And I thought of what one of my students told me. Earlier in the day, she said she gets nervous when playing her music instrument alone by the band director.

Or she gets nervous when joining her instrument with the rest of the choir, so apparently D’s in good company.

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

Talking About Jonah

Written By: Scot Butwell - Dec• 03•16

jonah

D and I have been reading through the book of Jonah during our quiet times on the weekends, and it’s amazing how much the story relates to D’s life and mine too.

One of the commentaries I read called Jonah the world’s worst missionary because of his attitude towards God and the people he was sent to the Ninevites.

You know the story. God tells Jonah to go to Ninevah, but instead he boards a ship in Joppa and travels to Tarshish, hoping perhaps God will send someone else to Ninevah.

But his plan fails. God sends a great storm, and Jonah tells the crew to throw him overboard because he knows his disobedience is responsible for the storm.

As soon as Jonah is thrown overboard, the sea becomes calm and Jonah sinks to the bottom of the ocean, before God sends a great fish to swallow him and preserve his life.

As crazy as the story is, it has a lot of parallels to D’s and my life. The most obvious similarity: we both sometimes disobey God, just like Jonah did.

We’ve talked about some of the some ways we disobey God. The simple everyday stuff like being rude to your mother or harboring a grudge against a classmate.

We’ve also talked about how Jonah became angry when God showed mercy to the Ninevites, sparing their lives after they repented of their sins.

Even though God showed great mercy to Jonah by sparing his life. Ridiculous, right?

jonah-2

As Christians, we’re supposed to show the same mercy to others that God has shown us (2 Corinthians 1:3:4), but Jonah hated the Ninevites because they were Israel’s enemy.

Most of the prophets in the Old Testament were given messages to proclaim to Israel. However, in this case, God chose to send Jonah to a foreign nation.

That’s why Jonah is a missionary. God chose to send Jonah to cross a boarder, to give a message to a nation that would later took Israel captive.

Because they were Israel’s enemy, God’s mercy towards Ninevah didn’t make sense to Jonah–even after the entire country (when does this happen?) repented of their sins.

All along Jonah wanted the people of Ninevah destroyed, and in listening to D describe his day-to-day encounters, he often had the same mentality.

“Do you ever feel hate toward anyone?” I asked D, knowing he’d just finished telling me about a classmate he hated.

(That’s how I determine what to talk about in our quiet times…just listen to what D is talking about before we get started.)

“Yes, I hate…” he said, rattling off how he hated a girl who told him not to put bunny ears behind her friend’s head.

“And I hate…” he added, repeating the name of boy he’s had some conflicts with this year.

So I asked him what he would do if a classmate did something to him he didn’t, and I explained that the girl was just telling him what she didn’t like.

I think D got the point and, maybe, I hope talking about Jonah’s hate for the Ninevites takes some of the bite out of his impulse to hate.

Time will time and, in the meantime, I hope his learns from Jonah the need to show mercy to others, just as God does for us.

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

Shooting Hoops

Written By: Scot Butwell - Nov• 27•16

hoops

The Wife looked up on the internet “how to shoot a basketball” to teach D the right placement of his hands when shooting a basketball.

I played basketball almost every day of my life between the ages of seven and seventeen. Basketball was my passion, and you’d think I’d be the one teaching him basketball.

But I have to admit that the Wife is a better teacher. She is more demanding, making sure D holds the ball the right way and he doesn’t run off to the playground.

She wants him to learn a skill–something he can do on the playground during recess at school and, yes, this makes sense.

coach

So I have been bringing a ball with us every time we go to the park, but he often gets mad when he sees the ball in my hands (and I leave it at home sometimes).

Does this mean we will be signing up D to be on a youth basketball team? Tough question.

I can tell D likes storytelling, acting, drawing and science more than basketball. He especially likes acting out scenes with me of situations involving his friend C.

One favorite is when D and C were chicken fighting on the monkey bars; another is when D tried to sell C’s toys; and a third is when D pushed C in the pond at the park.

bball

The acting was my idea. A way for D to develop empathy for how C felt when he tried selling his toys. We created a storyboard and then starting acting it out.

Except we got so into our characters and having fun that I don’t think he felt any empathy for C–he just kept wanting to repeat doing the scenes over and over again.

So, maybe, this is a sign to stick with what he likes–acting, drawing, or science–instead of signing him up to be part of a basketball team. But I don’t know…

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

Pixar Exhibit

Written By: Scot Butwell - Nov• 26•16

pixar-0D cued up “Frosty the Snowman” when we returned home from “The Science Behind Pixar” exhibit at the California Science Center, so my fear it would ruin the magic of movies was, well, unwarranted.

But it’s true science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are responsible for the stuff you see in Pixar movies; thankfully, I don’t think it will change the way D watches a Pixar movie yet.

After all, D bought a black hat for his first snowman when we went to the mountains last year, and he wanted me to invite Charlie Brown over to our home for Thanksgiving dinner this year.

At eight years old, movie characters have a strong grip on his imagination and his current math knowledge doesn’t extend past three digit adding and subtracting problems yet.

mikey

D is still working at mastering regrouping in subtracting problems, so the science and math connection was probably too subtle for him to notice.

So it’s safe to say, Frosty the Snowman will remain a magical figure for at least a couple of more years. As it should be, in my opinion, for a few more years.

The same goes for his favorite Pixar characters like Anger and Fear from Inside Out, Sully and Mike Wazowski from Monster’s Inc., and Mr. Fredrickson and Russell from Up.

The next time he watches Toy Story, I doubt his experience using a rig to change Jesse’s facial expressions will break the magical spell the story has on him. It’s just too good of a story.

Or the next time we watch Up, he may remember turning the lights off and on in Mr. Frederickson’s house with a rig, but he probably won’t think math or…engineering. Yet.

pixar-1My wife and I laughed when we overheard a mother authoritatively telling her three-year-old son at one station, “This is what you are going to be doing for a job when you are an adult.”

For sure, the 40+ interactive stations at the Pixar exhibit are cool hands-on activities that reveal a behind-the-scenes glimpse at moving-making and, um, future work possibilities.

However, as far as understanding the STEM subjects in the process, D is three or four years away from seeing the connection between science, technology, and math and making movies.

D liked making different combinations of robots from wooden blocks with magnets like Wall-E much more so than listening to videos featuring animators at the stations.

pixar-robotD loves science. And technology and watching movies. Right now his greatest love is the solar system–it’s a daily conversation topic–and I could see him becoming an astronomer.

But, maybe, with his love of movies, he will want to become an animator, and I could see him as a computer scientist, creating characters through coding.

My favorite part of the exhibit for me was seeing D interact with other “sciencey” kids, collaborating together in one of the eight steps in the filmmaking process.

pixar-ex

As we were making our way out of the exhibit, I laughed when he saw Joy from Inside Out in a production phase before clothing was supplied to her body in a later stage.

“Look,” he said, laughing.  “Joy is nude.”

I was fascinated by how the exhibits showcased the STEM concepts used by artists and computer scientists to bring the stories in Pixar films to life.

And if my son ever asks me as a sassy teenager, “What good is Math anyway?” I will be ready by referencing one of his favorite movies, like Toy Story or Inside Out.

“Remember that time we went to the Pixar exhibit at the California Science Center…”

No kidding, it’s true.

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

Paradise

Written By: Scot Butwell - Nov• 26•16

bookoff

This was our last stop after I picked up D from school. An empty aisle in a used book store. Pick a book of your own choosing, make yourself comfortable, and be in no hurry to get home. Just read and relax.

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