posted by Matt W on November 6th, 2013

I think I have been a pretty good father to my sons. But fathers can only do so much.

When my sons were Joe A.’s son’s age, they were pretty much the same as his man-child. On one hand able to intelligently converse on a variety of topics, well read, and able to do various jobs around the house. On the other hand, the amount of effort I had to exert in order to get them to actually do those jobs was more than it would have taken me to do the jobs myself. In defense of males, my daughter is currently no better.  And to all you fathers with 13 year-old sons out there, hoping against hope that there will soon be a light at the end of the tunnel… sorry, my 20-year olds aren’t that much better. And the positive changes that I have seen in them have much more to do with the Navy and their girlfriend than anything Dear-Ole-Dad did.

While some of my guidance might not be perfect, the sage advice my boys remember the most is “spew” is an excellent rhyming word, I have offered a lot of life lessons to their deaf ears much to their own downfalls. I would think that when I said “Your Mom isn’t in a great mood because of your grades. Pick up your towel and do the dishes before she gets home or you’re going to get the long lecture instead of the short one,” they would actually be thinking at the 45-minute mark of mom’s lecture, “Wow, dad was right. I should have picked up my towel and done the dishes.” And even more importantly, actually picked up their towel and did the dishes the next time I asked.

And beyond that, it would be great if the boys actually realized that all the other little bits of advice I’ve offered them weren’t complete hogwash, but really an attempt to save them from mistakes I’ve made. But since the word “realized” in the previous sentence was referring to teen-age boys thinking, we all know how successful my efforts were. I read in a study that 26 is the new 18 for men coming of age and since neither of my sons are 26; I hope that is indeed correct.

In all seriousness, they are starting to come around before that. While I still wonder how my oldest son could have borrowed a car for a year and not washed it, even once, the Navy for the most part has been pretty wonderful for my son. And while I wonder how my younger son could borrow a different car for a year, and not wash it (seriously, there is a car wash at almost every gas station in the world these days, how hard is it to drive through one?), having a woman that he cares about in his life has also made him much more aware of life’s responsibilities.

So while it seems their lives would have been easier if they had listened to me, I have two good men for sons that because of the Navy and girlfriends will be just fine. All you Dads of 13-year-olds can at least take solace in fact that reinforcements are on the way.

File Under King of the Castle