FatherSon Ventures

Building a Relationship through Adventure

Artsy Fartsy

Written By: Scot Butwell - Nov• 21•16

planet-model

D got the idea from a girl named Audrey on You Tube who posted a video of herself making a model of the solar system and so he wanted to make his own.

We went to a craft store together on a family outing, and his mom helped D decide on what supplies to buy with some minor negotiating by D.

He lobbied for a trip to a craft store to get the supplies, mostly different size Styrofoam balls, poster board, and sticks to keep the planets aloft.

He painted the balls, mostly faithful to the planets natural colors, and dealt with the frustration of my phone running out of video storage.

I complimented him on his painting. The gas planets had a splendid gassy appearance because the paint wasn’t a solid color. Then his project hit a snag.

The sticks we bought were pointy on only one end, so the planets wouldn’t stay in the air. Life became busy and the project went on a short hiatus.

Enter mom.

planzet

They bought some Pick-up sticks (remember that game?) and the eight planets were rotating around the sun. He even added smaller moons to orbit the planets.

It looked so fantastic that I started thinking of D and I doing a science experiment, testing the effect of gluten on his body by having him eat a gluten-free and regular Chocolate Lava Cake.

We’d have a research question, hypothesis, dependent and independent variables, collect data from his observations. It could be a great subject for a Science Fair project.

Then I started thinking how his solar system model could be turned into an experiment. The effect of the son on human skin? Does looking at the sun really make you go blind? 

Then the Wife brought me back to earth. Just let him enjoy his project, she said. Just let the project be what it is.  A fun project, nothing more.

 

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Quiet Time

Written By: Scot Butwell - Nov• 21•16

q-time

We were supposed to read a bible story,  as is our custom on the weekend. However, D was busy drawing movie characters in the backseat of the car.

Five minutes, I said, and waited until he was ready.

I knew it might be fifteen or twenty minutes and, eventually, he joined me in the passenger seat with his green leather bible with a gecko on the cover.

“I’m going to have a quiet time by myself,” he announced.

He turned to 1 Samuel chapter 16 and the story of David and Goliath, and he began reading it aloud with character voices and dramatic gestures

I listened.

siloA moment ago, he seemed far off from thinking about God. But now his voice rose in fervor as he told Goliath he was fighting in the name of the Lord:

“You come at me with a sword, but I come in the name of the Lord, whom you have defied…”

“Aaahhhhrrgggg.”

“Yeah, the giant is dead.”

“Hallelujah, the giant is dead.”

“That was the story of David and Goliath,” he said. “We did our quiet time. Now let’s go to the park.”

Ok, it was a rambunctious quiet time, but I loved his engagement, and I chimed in with a question since my only role had been as a spectator.

“Where was God in the story?” I asked.

“He was in David’s heart.”

“Is God in your heart?” I said, touching the right side of his chest.

“No,” he said, picking up my hand and putting it over his heart. “He is on the other side.”

“Right there,” he said. “God is in my heart right there.”

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Bird Watchin’

Written By: Scot Butwell - Nov• 07•16

bird-watchin

D and I stumbled upon some bird watchers during a hike at a nature preserve with their binoculars pointed at the top of a tree.

“There it is,” D and I heard one of the bird watchers say excitedly.

D stopped and looked up momentarily at the tree briefly. I know D well enough to know what he was thinking, nah, those are just some stupid birds 

 

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Halloween Night

Written By: Scot Butwell - Nov• 07•16

hall-1D went trick-or-treating with friends for the first time this Halloween. This relegated me to a supervisory role, but I was happy for D’s development.

He could have joined his friends a year ago if I’d been more savvy to set it up, so it was more a lag in my parenting than growth in his social development.

D and I have trick-or-treated together the past several years, but I knew the day was coming for him to bond with his peers more than with me.

So I was happy to see D basking in the Halloween spirit with his two friends while I remained in the background, a sign in my own parenting growth.

hall-3

Sure, I missed the comaraderie D and I shared on past Halloweens while we sprinted from house to house in the dark of night under street lights.

However, at age eight, I realize I needed to allow D to grow in his relationships with his peers, as the Wife has reminded me many times.

We still had our moments like wrestling while posing for pictures, Captain America (D) using his mighty strength to try to subdue a Zombie (me).

D and I drove with C and his dad to a neighborhood that had more houses giving out candy after D’s other friend decided to go home after an hour.

D and C came to the scariest house of the evening, and C decided to cross to the other side of the street. D hesitated a moment, but he kept walking towards the scary house.

capt-amer

“I’ll give you a dollar if you make it to the front door,” I said, remembering D skipped this house the past two years.

D stopped at the driveway as four silhouetted figures slid their hands down the front window, and he looked ready to beat a hasty retreat.

But hevtook a step toward the door, passing two skeletons inside a car, and with his hand covering his ears, he proceeded towards the front door.

A skeletonpopped out of a coffin on the porch, but it didn’t faze him, and he overcame his fear while adding to the bulge in his candy bag.

  1. D looked back at the silhouettes from the sidewalk. He had overcome his fear and, best of all, we had done it together.
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A Dream Fulfilled

Written By: Scot Butwell - Oct• 30•16

hoop4

D and I went camping this weekend with his cub scout Pack 658, and the morning after the first night in our tent, we were in good spirits after D’s first time in a row boat.

The twins from his den bumped a volleyball back and forth. D surprised me by clasping his hands together and hitting the ball when it came his way.

It was muscle memory from a My Gym sports class a few years back, and even though the ball careened off to the side, D hit it correctly like he cared.

The fact he joined in surprised me since he isn’t into sports. I thought he might do better at basketball since we’ve practiced dribbling and bounce passes.

So I asked the twins if they played basketball, and their dad pointed to a nearby court, and we all immediately ran in the direction of the court.

camp-out

I had a game in mind; in fact, I’ve had a game in mind for quite some time; but since D isn’t into sports, I have decided not to push sports on him.

His passions are acting and science. He loves acting out movie scenes pouring vinegar and baking soda into a beaker to make volcanoes explode.

So we made it to the basketball court, and after everyone had taken a shot, I suggested the twins and their dad play a game against D and me.

And we were playing basketball. The game that I have wanted to play with D was materializing like a mirage of water in the desert, but it was real.

With the scored knotted, 3-3, D abandoned the game, and we made an adjustment to the teams. It was now Dads vs. Kids.

camping-3

Sure, I was disappointed when he ran off in the middle of the game. It was bad sportsmanship, but I was just happy he’d played as long as he had.

One of the twins had trouble adjusting to new teams and then D reappeared, and we were back to the original teams; I didn’t ask D where he’d gone.

The game was semi-serious. I was playing in flip flops, or one flip flop and a bare foot, as the clip for one of my flip flops kept coming off.

D was peer pressured into passing the ball to the twins a few times before he returned to passing the ball to me, and we fell into a rhythm on the court.

I rebounded the ball and passed it to D, and he zigzagged around with it while being chased by the twins before passing the ball back to me.

Once, he flipped the ball to me as I was cutting to the basket for a lay-up, and this showed the symmetry we’d quickly developed on the basketball court.

We were keeping score, but traveling with the ball was allowed. This is the barometer I would use to gauge how serious the game was.

knott

The point is, D was on a basketball court playing a game and remaining a part of the action except for his short departure for some reason.

He was laughing and having fun–this must be his basketball demeanor–and he was completely engaged with what was happening on the court.

Later, he played in the dirt and drew pictures of the solar system with a stick as the other kids from his den played a game nearby with a ball.

That’s the thing. D is particular, and he knows what he likes. And sports isn’t typically it. But today he chose to play in a game of basketball.

The 15 to 20 minutes we played basketball, he was as much into the game (almost) as I was, and it fulfilled a long-deferred dream of mine.

 

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Cricket in the House

Written By: Scot Butwell - Oct• 30•16

Please come in and find the cricket…

Jesus, I prayed, why does she have to worry about some dumb cricket.

Just let it be, wherever it might be, I thought.

Honestly, does the whereabouts of a cricket in the house really matter?

Furthermore, am I really going to be able to find a small cricket hiding in a crevice of the house.

Yet, I prayed, not my will be done, Lord, but your will be done.

Let me see this from my wife’s perspective, and not just my own.

Lord, let D and I find this cricket—this was my prayer—and bring peace and love back to our family.

(The Wife and I had an argument in the morning over something I can’t remember–a typical argument.)

Let D and I enjoy some quality time as father and son, even if it means searching the house for a cricket.

To bring peace of mind to Lisa.

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Watching Workers Work

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 y-shaped tree and watched six workers building a well. They both had on red t-shirts and blue shorts and their eyes were fixed on the workers.

“Did you guys call each other to wear the same colors,” I said, a joke I realized was above their heads.

The well has taken over two years to build. The street dug up for underground pipes. Fences surround a huge section of the park. We often park far away due to no parking signs.

D and C kept staring at the workers, D’s mouth hanging open, as if they wondered what it will be like to be grown up and have to go work every day. Honestly, I’d never seen sit them still for this long.

“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’d learn the economics of a paycheck when it was time. And then I wondered what D was thinking.

Was he thinking what his future vocation might be? Was he appreciating the innocence of childhood? Was he thinking what it was like to be grown up and working? Or was he thinking nothing at all?

I watched too, thankful for this quiet moment and chance to rest; not really thinking, just being with D and his friend, enjoying not working, and having no plans.

The workers laughed and kidded each another. I thought, this is how work should be done. Not too serious. Done with camaraderie and a light-hearted spirit. Remember this, I told myself.

C told me how he wanted to be a teacher when he became grown up. D threw a rock near the fence towards the workers, making, perhaps, a symbolic statement. And then the moment ended.

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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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Beginnings

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.

I was oblivious

to 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

in the blueish water,

with 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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Toy Sale

Written By: Scot Butwell - Aug• 04•16
  1. c-and-do

C wax D’s neighborhood fririend–his first friend–from the age of five to ten. We lived across the street from C’s family, and I first became acquainted with C when he was standing in the middle of the street in his diapers.

A truck was driving down our street, and I scooped C out of harm’s way. He was two, and about a year or so later, D and C became friends and the three of us would regularly go to the park.

They had ups and downs–most caused by D–in their friendship and there were many times when C  said to D, “I am never going to be your friend ever again” after D did something to him.

Usually pinching or pushing him, but D also threw his toys in the pond (he once pushed C in the pond) or over a wall. They fought over a blue swing at the park, and their friendship taught them both about forgiveness.

I came to expect the unexpected, and in the summer before D began third grade one of those long hot days (that can lead to mischievous acts), I still didn’t see this particular one coming

“Tell me the story about when I tried to sell C’s toys,” D said for the next month after it happened. It is quite a funny story, and as himself as the protagonist, he loved hearing me tell the story with all the details.

It started off when C brought his wagon loaded with his toys to the park. He pulled it to the top of a hill and when he wasn’t looking, D grabbed the handle and ran down the hill with the wagon–and C in hot pursuit.

There was nothing too unusual there. It was standard behavior for D. What happened next was different as far as D’s usual behavior at the park.

“Toys for sale…toys for sale, ‘ D began yelling at the bottom of the hill. “Toys for sale. Who wants to buy Sheriff Woody. Batteries not included.”

I chuckled at his last line, but C burst into tears. I tried convincing him D was not really selling his toys, but D kept yelling “toys for sale” which lent credibility to the alleged sale.

Then four curious boys came over, giving even more credibility to the sale. At least in C’s eyes. “Are you really selling C’s toys?” they asked D.

Yep, he said, giving a complete inventory of C’s toys: Woody and Buzz Lightyear,  Rex, Mr. Potato Head and Weazy–all from the movie Toy Story.

I don’t remember what happened next–until C picked up a rock and threw it at D, and I intercepted it and D iinstantly grabbed it out of my hand. He threw it at C, who let out a piercing, whimpering cry after it hit him, and he jumped up and down screaming.

I remember we went home and I made D write a sentence ten times. Then I realized this didn’t address the root of the problem–D’s lack of empathy for how C was feeling with his toy sale.

So I decided to have D role play with me what happened, hoping it might develop empathy for how C felt. We created a storyboard on a marker board with six scenes and it felt more like plotting the outline for a movie.

Then came the acting and, I have to admit, we bith excelled at our individual roles. We were enthusiastic, and we recreated the scene with dramatic voices and action.

First, there was the chase scene: D stealing C’s wagon and me chasing him all through the house. “Come back here with my wagon,” I kept yelling and half crying.  “That’s my wagon! You can’t take my wagon–that’s my wagon.”

Next, there was D’s monologue, I am giving hope to others, to explain his reason for selling C’s toys. Apparently, he was donating C’s toys to raise money for an unspecified cause. Then I became the four boys, bartering with D over the prices of C’s toys.

This part was creative license to increase tension in the scene; it didn’t really happen at the park. Dialogue flowed back and forth between us, and we practiced the scene a few times before one of us yelled “cut.”

And then we reviewed the next scene before one of us yelled, “action!” I gave tiny bits of directorial input before each scene and we practiced each one more than once before performing our six scene production for his mom.

She didn’t like our production. “You are making fun of C,” she said of my crying character. “You are teaching D to make fun of his friend. It’s not teaching him to have empathy for C.”

And I think she was right. But a few hours passed by, and it was time for D’s swim lesson. My frustration was now quite a distance away in the rear view mirror  and even though D didn’t develop empathy for C, we had a lot of fun acting out the scenes together.

The next few weeks, we acted out the story at the park and on the sand the beach, and he continuously asked me to tell him the story at bedtime–and each time the story gained a more an epic quality in its repetition.

 

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