Father and son closeness is a real blessing. A Dad trying to stay close to his teenage son can sometimes be quite frustrated by the challenge. My son is 14 years old and is getting very independent. He is definitely a teenager. He is a real pleasure to have around, and like the rest of us, has his moments otherwise too. We enjoy seeing him grow and seeing him becoming a man, believe it or not. Because he changes and grows quickly, it is sometimes hard to figure out where he is currently at mentally, emotionally, character-wise, and spiritually. This article will share briefly some of the things we do together to stay close, and that have kept him open to sharing his victories and struggles with us.
Staying connected and close with my son takes a lot of quality time together. Activities we do together provide a framework for him to open up in. Some things we do together include talking during movies together, walking to the grocery store together, and walking to the dollar store together. Sometimes we go buy and eating junk food, fish for bass or steelhead, go to church and talk about the message, have Airsoft wars together around the yard and out in the country. Playing with him and his friends is a good thing to do as well. Airsoft guns shoot plastic BB's which sting when you get shot but do not do any real damage. But, that activity did cost me dearly once when he hit me and I suddenly tripped over the garden hose and landed wrong. The fall did something painful to my collarbone which still hurts 6 months later!
It took a while to figure out how to stay close to my son. He doesn’t talk about personal things as easily or as frequently as he did when he was younger. But, it helps to watch for those moments when he is open to heart talks, and then listening and asking a lot of questions. This has helped me to enter in and understand his world better. I should also mention that my wife has told me this many times. So now you know this is not something I do naturally, or am an expert on. At his age, it upsets him when I interrupt and try to fix things, rather than listen. Though he is younger, valuing his life and viewpoints is crucial to the health of our relationship.
Doing the things that he likes to do, and being with him, opens up more opportunities for heart-to-heart talks to occur naturally. We do things together, but it's not like there is an ulterior motive to gain information either. Rather, it is because I want to be with him, and enjoy his company, and love him just as he is. The rest seems to follow naturally. Whether my son says it or not, he still needs to know his old Dad loves him, and is there to encourage him as he grows.
A good Dad naturally works hard to instill whatever wisdom and experience he has into his son (s) whenever he can. It is much easier to do this while they are young and receptive but not impossible when they are older. It is much like writing lines of software code into their hearts, and hopefully the code will control all the machinery properly throughout life.
Our sons may ignore our teaching. As they grow and test out behaviors outside of this code, and suffer for it, the lessons learned will validate the time-tested code as true. If the code is true, then it is independent of whether or not he believes it! If it is true, then doing the right things will bring blessings. Going against the code brings suffering. If he does not follow what his Dad taught him when he was young, then hopefully later he'll remember it in a time of need. If the son received corrupt code, the Dad should admit it and apologize and seek to correct it.
It is not easy figuring out what is right and true so we can impart it. Usually this Dad is the limiting factor when it comes how well I can train my son. A son can only receive what a father has or is willing to give. A Dad can strive to gain more wisdom, or arrange for others to train his son, ignore the need, or give corrupt code to his son. It is good to admit a lack understanding, because the truth is that no one is born knowing how to raise sons. In this complex experience we call life it is advisable to seek good, time-tested wisdom to pass on to our sons.
Rich Kimura is a project engineering manager, freelance writer, and entrepreneur. He has numerous technical papers, 1 patent and 2 pending, and 24 years experience in industry. He started numerous home businesses and has Crown Financial training. For more unique perspectives on personal finances, relationships, and spirituality, visit Cirrovista at http://www.cirrovista.com