by Randy Lee
Clash Daily Guest Contributor
In the brief but lively 49 years God has shared his earth with me, I’ve come to appreciate the many risks and rewards of being a father to two incredible sons. I have strong expectations of them as young men and eventually husbands, and fathers that we let underwrite how their mother and I raised them. As my oldest son will be 18 years old and graduate from high school this year, my prayer for him has always been that he would always be much better than I; and on every possible level.
Well, Son, Mission Accomplished.
Through his short life; ever present to all who know my son, is the unavoidable amazing character that is in him, and with his intellect; I knew that he just had to be better than myself, “his father unit”. His youth, “while not always perfect”, has been time well spent with every day lived with courage, honor, and pride; and for me the reassurance that he’s just got the right stuff. It’s a prideful realization for me that I have never been in in my son’s league. Let me share some of the reasons why.
Manners: He has manners and respect for everyone he comes into contact with and, amazingly so, since he was a little kid. He was never the loud, rude, obnoxious kid that most parents (and I) loathe. He’s always last to speak, makes his point; but not in defeat, but in thoughtful participation. I’m positive he got this from his mother (my wife). I’ve never heard him speak a harsh word to anyone (except his well deserving pesky little brother), EVER. Myself on the other hand: Always quick to respond, often with challenge or contempt, and prepared for battle at the end of anyone else’s sentence. If I find someone offensive, I’ll offend them right back. And I excel at it.
Ok, I’m terrible, but it pays the bills and my clients think I’m great.
School Grades: A great student. Works hard every night on school work, and to recover whatever doesn’t work right the first time during the day prior. It’s an amazing focus and work ethic to witness in such a young man. I don’t think we’ve ever had to tell him to do his homework (and our schools pile it on). Myself on the other hand: I just got through school as fast and with as much ease as possible. Thankful for the tolerance (perhaps negligence) of educators in the 80’s… Oh, the story’s I could tell (but remain glad they’re still untold).
High School Participation: Incredible and almost unbelievable. He was the Freshman Class Favorite as nominated by his teachers and voted on by his peers. Our school districts award recipient of the prestigious, Districts Fine Arts Award. Recipient of multiple and coveted Principal Awards of Excellent Accommodation Medals. Never in trouble! Myself on the other hand: While not felonious, my high school endeavors shall remain untold until both of my sons are at least 25 years old. There is just no prosperity in telling some stories.
Music/Band: Advanced Saxophone player. Played in the Jazz and top Wind Symphony bands. State UIL qualified players with Solo and Ensemble, outstanding musician awards at collegiate festivals, section leader, and just a great asset to the award winning band he was has been blessed to be a part of. He’ll enjoy and play his Sax for the rest of his life. Myself on the other hand: I was in my high school band, drummer, was pretty good, even got me a little bit of attention. The band was incredibly successful, but I never was even close to my son’s level.
Opposite Sex/Girls: Amazing gentleman. Stays too busy for a steady girlfriend but has many girls who are good friends. He’s a young man, not a Nancy Boy, he’s just a gentleman! Myself on the other hand: I’m still taking the 5th. Don’t ever ask me to talk about my poor high school behavior. I owe many apologies.
Work Ethic: Many young people can’t find jobs in today’s economy. The day my son turned 16, he had multiple calls from people he knows to see if he could work for them.
Amazingly, his character is that well known in our community. He still has his first part time job with a boss that has become like an uncle to him. When my son was about 12, on his way out to run an errand with my wife, I told him that we would do yard work upon his return. My wife (not knowing of my plan) offered a trip to the local water park on this 100F day in Dallas to which my son responded to the offer, “we can’t, I’m helping dad do yard work this afternoon”. Even I had to tell my son that was too responsible for a 12 year old and to go have fun. Myself on the other hand: I’d have been gone to the water park before my dad realized he had been stood up by mom’s offer! Would have been worth any trouble I got into for this!
Boy Scouts: Hate BSA for its political correct recent changes if you want, but this son of mine is an Eagle Scout and the pride our family has for this is impossible to define. He was the Senior Patrol Leader for a troop with 135 boys therein and before he was 16 years old. Yes, he was the Man in Charge of 135 scouts at any one event. Myself on the other hand: In BSA, I went camping and canoeing a few times, it was fun.
Faith: Last but not least, he’s made a relationship with God that is unbreakable between just them. With little nudging from me, he found his way to Christ and on his own terms and largely within a “public” high school peer group. For my son, a typical Friday night (outside of football season) includes some basketball, bible lesson, then some greasy food from Sonic and a well contented young man home by 10PM. Myself on the other hand: how I spent the Friday nights of my youth, between chasing skirts, drinking beers, being a general all around knucklehead leaves me wondering why I’m still alive, “nearly” so again, not even in my sons league.
So, the Dream of My Son’s Father — “ME”: for my son to be better than me, further defined to have a viable future, to be prosperous, to be a good man, is well underway for my 18 year old son. That said, we appreciate all of the good wishes and more importantly the prayers anyone may afford us.
Lastly, if you have negative impressions of our nation’s youth, I understand this given the observations of some other young people (and frankly their clueless parents) that I’ve endured the last 18 years. But if you are not proud of your own otherwise healthy, intelligent child, I offer you the amazing inventions of a mirror and watch. Look into yourself and your endeavor as a parent and make more time for your children! They’ll appreciate your time more than anyone else in your life. Teach love and talk to your children. The real reason you have children is to raise them, and the way you raise your children may ultimately be how you will be judged by our Maker.