FatherSon Ventures

Building a Relationship through Adventure

Swim Lesson

Written By: Scot Butwell - Jul• 26•16

swim 1

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

“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. This was before their dance turned into a wrestling match.

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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 sat in a red lawn chair,

across the street from D

and his friend C playing.

I rubbed sunscreen all

over my body as they

took 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 at me.


I made up 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 have to let

him grow up,

navigate situations

talk with friends,

respond to overtures,

learn to problem solve

like asserting it was 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

often act like brothers.

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.

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 D

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. It was a few hours before Fourth of July fireworks, and when D wrapped his legs around C’s waist and tried to pull him down, I gave a name to it.

“Chicken fight,” I said.

We’d been searching for something to do, and I was thankful we’d found something, and when D’s legs accidentally pulled C’s shorts halfway down, I was staring at his favorite super hero.

Hello, Captain America.

So they took turns trying to pull each other down. Skyler, the daughter of C’s mom’s friend, video recorded the chicken fights. And then we huddled around her phone and watched them.

And we laughed.

C made loud wailing noises in the first few videos. This was before he realized he didn’t need to be a passive victim. Then the chicken fights became more competitive.

It was two boys having fun, and it was very fine entertainment (a fine line between boyish fun and potential for trouble), and exactly what I imagine it would be like if D had a brother 24/7.

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Improv in a Tree

Written By: Scot Butwell - Jul• 06•16

beach stairs

This is how D and I like to spend our Saturdays, and if climbing stair railings ever becomes an Olympic sport, D will definitely become a gold medal winner.

“That’s dangerous,” the Wife said, flipping through pictures on my phone and finding this one.

She doesn’t realize this is D’s way of navigating every environment. Find the closest obstacle–railing, fence, tree, trash can, sculpture–and scale it.

At the top of the stairs was a small park, and D met a girl with a wonderful imagination. The girl was six years old, and just like D, pretending her native language.

After we climbed up a tree, the girl asked if we wanted to play Girls of the Jungle, a game she plays with her friends. Then she realized we were not girls.

“Why don’t we be a brother and sister who are lost in the jungle?” she asked D.  And to me: “You can become our dad. Do you want to be our dad?”

Game on.

She told us each come up with a new name, and after a tiger growled at us from the bottom of the tree, she told us to give ourselves special powers.

Thus, the tiger was killed, I believe, by dragon-like fire breathes, and we added layer after layer, both D and I following her lead and cues.

It was awesome. Improv in a tree. Giving and receiving. And then the girl asked D to sit next to her on a branch, as they’d become buddies in twenty minutes.

Times like this don’t happen enough.

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Thoughts on Summer Reading

Written By: Scot Butwell - Jul• 05•16


D signed up for the summer reading program at the local library. It will be his first time reading and monitoring the number of minutes he reads to earn prizes.

This feels so contrary to the joy of reading itself—reading to earn a prize. Isn’t the real joy of reading being engrossed in a story and the world of its characters?

Reading to earn a prize may appeal to some kids’ sensibility. But I know D won’t read just to earn a prize, unless we’re talking a candy bar or ice-cream.

I think the prize is…a book. Ha, ha.

D likes to read, but knows he can check out a book at the library or, as we frequently like to do, go to our favorite hangout–Barnes and Nobles–to read books.


(He likes making “coffee” with a mix of mocha, vanilla, and cinnamon, and to try to persuade me to buy him a Mini Munny, but that’s getting off my point.)

Anyways, I don’t think you can say to any kid, “Read for 20 minutes and I am going to ask you what you read.” This is what the Wife said to D the other day.

Maybe, this will work on kids with certain personalities, but not with D. He is too independent. Also, I’ve always felt reading is so much about interest and mood.

You have to want to read—not be told to read.

Nevertheless, per the Wife’s request, I tried the “read for 20 minutes” with D. He spent the next five minutes telling me “don’t touch my books” and trying to scratch my arm.

barnes n

Then, he grabbed his school yearbook, looking at kids’ pictures and reminiscing on events from the just-completed school year, and sharing them with me.

They were like “snap chap” moments:

I met Lily when I got into this school…

I didn’t like it when everyone said yesssssssss when Mrs. S said T wasn’t going to be in our class anymore.

You want to know what Tyler did? He covered his ears when Ms. Nicole was talking to him.

So I didn’t make him read a book. I figured he would pick up a book and start reading when he felt like it later in the day.

cap upants

Sure enough, a half hour later, he asked to go to Barnes and Nobles, and he spent at least 15 to 20 minutes reading books, on two or three different books.

Without me telling him to read.

I didn’t feel like calculating minutes or writing book titles for his summer reading sheet. The Wife got upset when I told her this story.

“You could have just taken a picture of the book cover,” she said. “It would have been so easy.”

Except I was enjoying reading a book myself and, a few weeks later, he earned his summer reading prize–a book (we filled in books he’d read).


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Inside Out

Written By: Scot Butwell - Jul• 05•16

bddy club

D will be performing as a character from Inside Out, one of his favorite movies, with the members of the Buddy Club…oops…we forgot his costume for the fundraiser bake sale.

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Car Wash

Written By: Scot Butwell - Jul• 02•16

What I had in mind was, first,

the bird poop being washed off

the front hood (the car was due

for a wash), and then, I got an

ambitious idea, taping a cardboard

sign with the words “car wash”

to a street parking sign, and me,

D and his friend C hosing down

cars. They were excited, too.

I swear, Tom Sawyer didn’t enter

my mind. You know, the time he

tricked his friends to paint a fence,

one he was supposed to paint as

punishment. Really, it didn’t.

car wash 2

What I had in mind was D learning,

developing entrepreneurial skills,

spraying and scrubbing down cars,

removing dirt with grit and a sponge,

drying off cars with microfiber towels,

staying focused on the task at hand,

soliciting business from neighbors,

learning professional (soft) skills.

Ok so. I didn’t see cars lining up,

but I could see us doing a few cars,

and then moving on to something else.


But what happened is another story.

It started well. D got started spraying

down the car (while C went inside his

apartment) and, I thought, our first

car–my car–would soon be done and

the next car on the way. C came out

and got busy scrubbing dirt with a

sponge, and then, it all, well, started to

fall apart. D poured more soap in the

bucket (“that’s wasting soap,”I yelled)

and he sprayed C with the hose, and

the microfiber towels got wet, and I

the gardener asked if we could stop

so he could mow the yard, right at

the point I was losing my patience,

and that was the end of our car wash.


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A Sweet Time

Written By: Scot Butwell - Jul• 02•16

cookies pic

Here’s what happens when L leaves the house for a few hours:

D pours in the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, spoons in two sticks of butter and cracks his first egg on a measuring cup. We start to stir the ingredients and his fingers go straight for the cookie dough. Again and again. Despite me saying that’s enough.

“You’re going to get sick and not be able to eat the cookies,” I tell him.

But I was okay with it. We’d found an activity to be a common focus, and the cookie dough had most assuredly become his main focus. And I sped up the mixing and made sure he helped out, so there would be dough to actually make the cookies.


And a batch made it into the oven.

It was D’s idea to bake cookies. I think he remembered the last time we made cookies and how I had been lax on him eating the cookie dough. I stuck my hands in the bowl to mix the dough–since the dough was very dry–and his hands followed mine into the bowl.

You could say I introduced him to cookie dough, there were no salmonella warnings and, two days after our latest batch of cookies, they were gone–and we’re doing just fine.


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