Go with the Flow

Today I am very impressed with my boys.  And with my wife and I- we have, at least in some ways, raised them right.  They are courteous, caring and easy going.  It makes being a parent rewarding and in the end, easier.  With the proper foundation, the household can be managed with less work and angst.

So why am I tooting my own horn so loudly?  Well, perhaps it is just from a good weekend.  Perhaps it is the fact that the boys were gone (staying at Grandma and Grandpas to attend a camp) last week and I missed them.  Perhaps there is just a little truth in my pride that is worth sharing.

This morning I told the boys that I would take them out for breakfast after my training run.  I got up a little later than expected and thus started and ended my run a little later but they were okay with that.  We had also planned to ride our bikes after breakfast (well, my oldest and I had the plan to ride, we still had to sell his younger brother on the idea).

We did a good sales job and both boys were into the ride after breakfast although my youngest was less adventurous and wanted to ride in the neighborhood rather than venture to trails elsewhere.  So, we compromised on a hike after breakfast down by the river then a ride after we returned home.  We then set out to their breakfast spot of choice, Waffle House.

On the way to breakfast a historic battlefield marker on the interstate caught my eye.  While we were waiting for our food, I got out my iPhone and started to search for any nearby historic parks, thinking we could mix some summertime history with our hike.  I found one only a few miles away that listed walking trails and a battlefield and the boys seemed interested.  After a few waffles and a stop for some water bottles, we headed toward the park.

Already the boys had proven to be pretty easy going and open to getting out and doing something.  I wasn’t in it for the exercise (the 5 miles this morning that followed 9 yesterday were plenty for my legs) but more to make sure they weren’t just sitting at home doing nothing.  They too seemed interested in balancing their time since they had played the new Lego Batman Wii game while I ran and generally seem to enjoy getting outside as part of our weekend days.

As we approached the battlefield park, one that I had never been to before, we saw a sign stating “Event Parking” with an arrow.  After being guided into a field parking lot by a park ranger, we stopped at the welcome center to see what was going on.  We were told that the day marked the 150th anniversary of a Civil War battle at the park and their were scheduled tours and even a re-enactment twice during the day.  What are the odds?

I asked the boys if they would be interested in going through the guided tour and did my best to explain to them what the experience might be like (explaining to them along the discussion that I had no idea what was going on so the info I was giving them was a guess at best).  Surprisingly they seemed interested in the tour so we loaded onto a school bus that shuttled us to the farm where the battle took place and followed along with 50 or so others (who seemed to be there on purpose, unlike us) as the guide spent about an hour telling us about the farm, the history of its owners and then eventually the battle itself.

After an hour, with the boys behaving exceptionally well, we were able to break free from the group and head back up toward the shuttle stop.  According to the schedule, there was to be an artillery show and since my youngest isn’t too fond of fireworks or loud booms, we opted to steer clear of the cannons.  We did hear the cannon fire while we sat waiting for the shuttle bus, but they were a couple hundred yards away and not as loud as he had feared.

Once we got back to the car I was a bit amazed at the boys’ reaction.  They both commented on how fun the morning was and said they were having a great time.  I noted how the whole tour thing caught us by complete surprise but they seem unphased.  I guess we have cultivated a  household where things are pretty easy going, even when unexpected, and we’ve thrown enough curve balls at them over the years that they can deal with those surprises fairly well.

So kudos to my boys for not only being a bit adventurous but also having fun without having to know exactly what we are doing or what is going to happen.  I can’t say that I was that way when I was there age but I am glad they are, it has opened the doors up to a lot of fun and interesting opportunities.  It certainly seems that setting the foundation, dealing with the pushback when we want them to try something new and they rebel a bit, has paid off so far.  At least for today and that is good enough for me for now.

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