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Monday, January 16, 2012

A Dad Who Has Forgotten How to Play: By Paul Emery

Today I was reading a book called What a Son Needs from His Dad by Dr. Michael O’Donnell.  I came across a chapter that actually got my attention called “All Work and No Play”.  It actually got me thinking quite a bit about who I have become.

            Growing up one of my favorite things to do was to play out in my back yard even by myself.  I had an old push-broom handle that served as my wand, scepter, sword, and staff.  With this tool I could vanquish all kinds of evil, never killing, only turning to stone.  I was King of wherever I wanted to be and I would spend hours outside in my little imaginary world or worlds (depending on the day).  Probably very few of my friends knew about this because I didn’t want to look foolish, but, other than the time I spent with my best friend, or even with my sisters, this was often some of my favorite times.
Tasha, Alicia, and I were great explorers and when our family went camping at a place called Johnson Bar there was a natural forest that we would enter and explore for hours at a time.  I don’t remember all of the different things we did, but it was always fun.  Okay, I do have to put in a little note here.  It was always fun until Alicia stepped into an underground hornet nest one summer, that wasn’t so much fun.
Tasha, Milly, and I, and possibly Alicia, had a game we liked to play on our trampoline.  We called it trampoline world.  How we entered into our cars was we had to jump into and out of our cars.   We did this to not only get into our cars, but into whatever we needed to get into.  We would then run around the trampoline just having a great time.  If we were in the house anything would become a great computer, or something that we would just create in our heads.  This entertained and excited us, and even though we had television in the home we still played.
I’m married now, and have 5 children, and I never play with them like I did.  There is this part of me that feels like it would be foolish to play that way, but those are the memories I remember the most.  I’ve become an old fuddy-duddy! Well, I think the time has come to start playing again.  Those are the memories I imagine my children remember as well.  It will take me some time to remember how much fun I use to have, time to not feel so awkward, but I think that is what I need to do to be a father who is not “all work and no play.”

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