FatherSon Ventures

Building a Relationship through Adventure

My Identity Crisis

Written By: Scot Butwell - Dec• 04•12


Okay, so. L tells me I should write more about being a Christian Dad, and not just me and D going on adventures, and she may have a good point, since I have not branched out to write about many other topics.

The truth is, I am struggling over how I should perceive D’s repetitive, self-stimulatory habits. I know stimming is part of who he is at this stage in his life, but his sensory tendencies can be frustrating and hard to accept at times.

It doesn’t bother me when he flicks sand or shreds leaves at the park, but it is hard to play a board game at home when he fumbles tiny game pieces with his fingers rather than play the game.

A great amount of patience is required, and my attitude is this is just who he is in his development right now. L is usually more frustrated–though I am frustrated too–by his sensory issues.

His sensory tendencies can test the level of my patience as D will often be so preoccupied with stimming and fumbling the game pieces that it’s difficult to be able to start the game.

D will be five years old in a week, and as it says in the Matthew 5:18, one of my favorite verses, “Each day has enough trouble of its own. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow.”

I was surprised when I found D playing Zingo by himself this morning. He had removed the game from the closet, slid the number holder back and forth, and matched the numbers from the yellow tiles to his game card.

Most importantly, he avoided fumbling the game pieces with his hands, and when I returned from the bathroom to the living room before we started to play, he yelled, “Zingo!”

D and I will be going to the Angel Breakfast at our church, and as far as being a Christian Dad, I’ve begun teaching D the Golden Rule, Treat others the way you want to be treated (Matthew 7:12).

I picked this as a spiritual starting point because D has started the habit of pushing down younger kids on the playground—thus, the need to teach him about reciprocal kindness.

I am also considering have a five-minute Quiet Time with D on he weekend where we read a story or a few Bible verses and discuss the connection to his everyday life.

As a result of reading a parenting book—Wes Moore’s Rite of Passage Parenting—I made a list (which I actually plan to do) of ten things I want to teach D in the new year.

1.Recycling bottles and cans at the Recycling Center: I want D to learn the value of money and how hard work relates to earning money. Does he know the difference between the cost of dinner at Denny’s and an Ipod? No. That’s one of my purposes for introducing him to money through recycling plastic bottles and cans.

2.Teaching charity by giving away old toys and books: Instead of L or me taking old toys and books to Goodwill, I want to let D pack up his old toys and book, letting him decide which ones he wants to give them away and to use this process to help him mark his growth from a little to bigger kid.

3.Learning to read the Bible and know God: The is the most important thing I want to pass on to D: to know and connect with God. I am afraid I might procrastinate on this, so I bought him a new bible.

4.Learning to take good photos: We now live in the Digital era and the ability to take pictures has become a legitimate skill in the internet, and my ambitious goal as D gets older, is to move him from a consumer to a producer of images.

5.Increasing his social skills: While I regularly take my son to the park, McDonalds and indoor playgrounds to develop his social skills, I know I can find more ways to increase his social skills. I think the key is just getting him to sleep down, so he can process verbal interaction from others. 6.Helping him to learn to speak Spanish: D loves speaking Spanish (‘hola,’ ‘como esta?’, ‘muy bein,’ ‘gracias,’ ‘de nada.’) at restaurants and fast-food drive-throughs (he’s developed quite a reputation at McDonald’s and Del Taco), and I ordered Little Pim’s video series to provide him with a Spanish teacher who he can also cuddle with at night. 7. Learning to be part of a team: L and I skipped on signing up my son for playing soccer this year because We didn’t think he was ready, but I think he’s now ready to be part of a team. A conversation with a soccer mom at McDonald’s convinced me his readiness is on par with most other kids.

8.Encouraging meaningful contributions to our family: This covers everything from keeping his room clean, putting away his toys, helping take out the garbage, etc. All necessary life skills, right? I confess it’s sometimes easier to quickly clean up after him than teach him to clean up his own mess. I also want to teach D to be respectful: This is one I’ve been working on.

Yesterday, he hit a neighbor friend C on the head several times during a sword fight, and he liked to throw his toys in the pond, so this is a work in progress.

8. Teaching him to obey his mom and dad: My son is has a strong sense of independence (even more than for a typical five-year old), and it sometimes takes telling him something a few times to get him to do it. I’ve been realizing that holding him accountable for every action is important forteaching him to obey his teachers, future bosses, God, etc.

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