Friday, June 22, 2012

Fathers, Sons, Paper Airplanes, and Tennis

Good idea
This is about following through a worthy idea and making better things happen.

When I was 10, life was hell.  Parents arguing day and night, dad moving out, bullies on the school bus, what a mess.  Once my dad asked me if I had turned 11 yet.

Uh, no.

It is no surprise to anyone that life at 10 affects life at 46.  The trick is how to make that influence work for us, rather than against us.  Here's one way of making that a reality.

My 10 year old son and I get to do father and son stuff together when his older brother and sister go to our church's Youth Group on Wednesday nights.  We have a bucket list of items that cover a lot of ground - from tennis to chess to home improvement projects.  So far, tennis has been going great!  I may have a bona fide tennis partner soon.

Bad idea
Unfortunately, a heat wave and drought hit.  Temperatures in the mid 90s.  This week, not a good day for tennis.  The default temptation is to sit and watch TV.  This time will be different.  I remember our list.  Time to look at The Dangerous Book for Boys.  Paper airplanes!  We tried one design - fail.  We tried another design - success!  Paper airplanes all over the house!  As a bonus, we got the cat's attention too!  My fellow test pilot was excited and told me how much fun he was having.

The real success, though, is that he is having a better life at age 10 than I.

Here's the point of today's essay:  With just a little bit of choice, commitment, and follow through, you too can make better things happen:

Choice:  We get to choose not to let the past get in the way of the present.  Of course, you already know that.  May I suggest a "secret ingredient" that is making this particular project successful?  I did not make paper airplanes because I had to.  I did it because I got to.  This can be a life changing attitude!

Commitment:  It can be easy to say, "It's too hot!" - which it was.  "The TV is too convenient!" - which it was.  But those are unacceptable excuses.  The commitment was made earlier in the year, when we made a promise and wrote out a list.  The list is our commitment on paper.

Follow Through:

We can almost call this "Getting Started" because that's the hardest part.  Once we got the book and the paper, we were on our way.

Aside - this is a follow through from a decision made and written about in April.

Why it is good for better things to happen:

Maybe someday my son will write something like this:

"When I was 10, life was a blast.  My dad and I played tennis, made paper airplanes, and..."