Many of you (and I mean MANY) have been asking if I will be able to survive if my kid is all into sports and/or camping. Maybe this article will help you understand my position.
I wouldn’t say that I was a rebellious child. For the most part, other than buying a budda statue to make my Mom think I was joining a different church I didn’t do too much that wasn’t approved by my parents. But there was one area, where my father and I seemed to disagree. A similar disagreement would occur with my step-father a few years later. This disagreement was ‘what kind of kid I should be’. My dad wanted me to be an outdoorsman. He wanted me out tying fishing knots and galloping on the back of horses and wrestling cougars. Every present he bought me was something outdoorsy, like a moose statue. All the shirts he got me for school had deer on them (this being the time before it was cool to have wildlife on your shirt). Later, my step-father would want me to be a sports kid. When I met him, he helped me pick a team that I would follow with devoted love. He signed me up for baseball and a variety of other sports. The gifts I received from him were football jerseys and crotch guards.
Now my lack of caring about sports or outdoors is what made me something of a rebel. My parents would take me to yellowstone and I would read Far Side comics as we drove through it. I just didn’t seem to care about what they wanted me to care about. But with each father, there is one moment when you can see that they realized that all was lost for me and they gave up. The particular story that comes to mind is when I went to boy’s camp. I was 11 and while there my Dad gave me a few dollars to spend at the “trading post”. I wandered the post looking for something to purchase but nothing seemed all that appealing. Rope to ties knots, weird merit badges that you could apparently buy, small pocket knifes (from which I had been band because I accidently cut myself once). There was nothing worth having, until I found this dark corner of the shop. It was like the trading post guy had wanted to keep it a secret. It was all dark and dusty. It was there I found these:
Premium trading cards! Hit Movie! Randomly packed holograms! I, of course, bought them without a moment’s hesitation. The trading post owner was happy to get them off his hands because they seemed so out of place and I was happy to have found something worthy of my interests.
I proudly brought them home and showed them to my father. It was here, in this moment that he gave up. He started out mad and then he just stopped and shook his head. He had lost. All the attempts to bring me to his interests to make me his true son, the one in which would represent him to upcoming generations were failed and he was left with a nerd. A similar situation would occur with my step-dad years later, though, that is a story for another day.
Now, I have a kid coming, a boy. Before he is born he already has a full Batcave set, a Batman t-shirt, a star wars onesie. Already, I am attempting to shape my kid in my image, someone to represent me after I am dead. I now know how my father(s) feel. I know what it’s like to want to share you’re interests with someone so close to you and I wish I would’ve tried a bit more. But I was rebellious. I was a teenager. Now someday, I am going to send my kid to comic-con with twenty bucks in his wallet and he’s going to come back with some pocket knife or sports memorabilia he found in the back covered in dust. I will look at him and shake my head. But I will take it because he is a teen rebel, which is just like his Dad.