Tomorrow morning, I will get up and take the boys to school. I typically get home around 8:10 so that will give me a little bit of time to get some work related things done early. Around 9:00 or so, Sydney and I will load up in the truck and get on the road for that long drive back to Illinois.
My uncle passed away two nights ago so we are heading home for the funeral. The family will bury Sam on Saturday so that gives us plenty of time. It is not a rushed trip. However, I don’t think that Sydney and I have ever take a long trip like this alone. Elisa and Caleb have always been with us. Sydney has made a trip to Illinois with Elisa but this is a first for the two of us.
Here is the thing. I like to listen to music when I drive and I become frustrated when there are constant interruptions, especially to songs that I really enjoy. Sydney, on the other hand, would rather talk constantly than listen to the radio. This is not a formula for a successful road trip.
She asked me last night how we would entertain ourselves on the way out and back? She said, “What will we do? Will we just talk or are there games to play? In my mind, I thought to myself, “You can sleep in the back seat and I will listen to the radio.” Does that make me a bad father? I replied back to her, “We can do a lot of things on the trip but your ideas sound great.”
The more I thought about it, the more convicted I became about my attitude. Sure, not everything that Sydney says to me falls into my interests. She will often ramble on about things that she does with her friends or something that she has seen on television. That probably isn’t any different than anyone else’s kids. However, I need to participate in that. That’s part of what being a good father is, right? We listen to our kid’s stories, even when they’re not that interesting. We need to be thankful for our children because, one of these days, they won’t be kids anymore.
I watched this video again yesterday. I saw it for the first time a few years ago and had posted it up on my facebook and it showed up in my memories a couple of days ago. I think it captures exactly what a good dad is like. He listens to his kids. He participates in their lives. He pretends that trivial matters are important because, whether we like it or not, they really are to them.
So, tomorrow morning, Sydney and I will get on the road for a trip that takes about 10 hours. I have decided that I will not set the volume to the radio so high that I cannot hear her conversation over it and I plan to listen to every single word that comes out of her mouth. That’s what we do. We listen to our kids.