You probably saw the post. Most likely you loved it. I supposed outside of cooking, it is one area I know a little something about…sons.
I decided on this Father’s Day that I should share 10 more things a dad should teach his son.
Basic Auto Maintenance – I think it is really important to teach your boy some basic auto tech. Schools aren’t teaching it any longer and truthfully cars are getting more and more complicated. I still think basic things like where to put the transmission and brake fluids, the oil and coolant and window fluid is all important. I also think you should teach him how to change a flat, even if you have AAA. Tougher to teach them how to change your engine oil mostly because you can’t dump it in the alley any longer…probably should leave some of that to the pros.
Do Laundry/Iron a Shirt – My mom started having Molly and I do our laundry at a young age because, I think, she caught me putting her nicely folded clean clothes back into the dirty bin. Oops. Teach them the basics. Whites, darks, and towels. Teach your son too to iron his shirt. I know it is easier and much better when you have a pro do it like the local cleaner but why not know the basics in a pinch? Someday he will not have the luxury or time to have the pros do it or will be in a hotel and realized his dress shirt got all crumpled.
Build a Proper Fire – This one is a tough to teach over the internet. I suppose you can watch a YouTube video on it but nothing beats the hands-on approach. I prefer the teepee method, while others swear by the “Lincoln” log approach. They both work greater provided you have some small pieces of wood (cheater tinder is twine “de-twined” in your fingernails) and then progressively bigger. The one I am going to try this summer is the inverted burn where the big pieces are on top and they get progressively smaller. Will keep you posted. Teach your son.
Make a Proper S’more – Now that you have taught him how to make a basic fire, how about teaching him the basic s’more technique? As a kid I loved the torch. Not sure why but lighting my mallow on fire and then sandwiching it between the graham and piece of Hershey’s was perfect. Now that I am older, I have come to appreciate two new things. First, toasted to brown perfection (near the coals not the flame is how you do that) and I now LOVE having a Reese’s peanut butter cup as my chocolate delivery vehicle. Teach them the Hershey first, then let him move up…
Basic First Aid – I like that a few of my sons have taken some basic first aid in school. I think it is EXTREMELY valuable. I think you should teach your son the basics of cleaning a cut/gash, basic bandaging, and of course what to do with a sprain. To know how to wrap a wrist, knee and ankle is extremely valuable. Elevate, ice and wrap. And if you don’t teach, at least bring a basic first aid kit on your urban or country adventures. BLS CPR Classes in Memphis are specially designed for it.
Rough house in the lake/pool – I have fond memories both of rough housing the lake with my dad and then doing the same with my sons – all four of them. Allowing them to climb on you, fall off you, or beg you to throw them off into the deep is worth its weight in fond memories and there are studies that show how important it is for the boys’ development, especially for testosterone, etc. I prefer lakes but if you have a pool, you must be a rich cake-eater…
Journal – I joke but its true. Teach your son to write things down. You don’t have to call it a diary and he doesn’t need to have a lock and key but there is SO MUCH DATA on the importance of writing things down! Thoughts, goals, dreams, fears, lists, sketches, you name it. Teach/show him how and why. I recently looked at my old journals, was reading through when I was studying for a Spanish CLEP practice test, and looking back on what I have written over the years has been sometimes emotional, a few times frightening, and almost always encouraging.
Write a Personal Note – My mom was the one that taught me but my Uncle John was such a regular at sending notes, I may have picked up some of the habit from him as well. Writing a thank you note, personal note, birthday card, holiday card, etc. is becoming a lost art of sorts. Remember when we lit up when we received and email and threw out our regular mail? Now we are so inundated with email that it is refreshing to open up a personal note, especially handwritten, from someone we care about or is expressing their well wishes or gratitude to us.
Make a Proper Cup of Coffee – I have written quite a bit on coffee. Favorite spots and a lot on home brewing methods but the bottom line is pretty simple: learn to make coffee, somehow or some way. You don’t need to buy a full drip program, you can get away with an Aero Press, French Press and several other methods, even if you don’t drink it…someone in your life will!
Play Pool and Ping Pong – I learned to play both of these games with by best friend growing up, Steve Casey. The Casey’s lived 3 blocks away and when his older siblings grew up and went off to college, he had a big house, virtually to himself. He had an old pool table and pink pong table and although he beat me most of the time, that is where I learned to play and have many great memories doing so. I know it is a big space commitment to set up both but if you can, you should. If you can’t take him somewhere to learn. You will be glad you did and your son will have an obscure sporting skill(s) to take with him through life!
Obviously none of these things by themselves matter too much. The point is always to spend time with your sons, doing things and teaching and learning. That is where the real parenting takes place.