Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ties that Bind

During a pre-church laptop session this morning I was trying to put the finishing touches on a Sunday school lesson when I noticed Buddy standing by my side. How long he had been there I could not say given how absorbed I was in my work. Buddy made no demands, seemingly content on watching me fly around on my laptop copying, pasting, reformatting, and printing.

Eventually Buddy said, "Dad, can you tie my tie?"

These words snapped me out of my work and I noticed for the first time the red plaid Christmas tie draped around his neck.

Why these words grab my attention stems from the fact that as a teacher, I occasionally have a privilege that is not mine - teaching a fine young man how to tie a tie. It almost always occurs when a student athlete faces their first game and the team is wearing a tie during the school day in anticipation of the game. Coming to my room with a tie in hand is usually an athlete whose father was not there in the morning to help them put it on, often because the father is no longer in the home.

I immediately rise taking off my tie trying to make it seem natural for me to help him. Standing side-by-side in the gray-walled computer science lab we do a half Windsor knot. I am pleased that I could be there for the moment. It is also a time where I recommit to myself to be there for my boys so that I can be the one who shares this distinctive father-son rite of passage.

Since Buddy is not old enough to tie a tie himself and I can’t do it facing him, I stood behind Buddy reaching around him to do the job. He was all smiles as I wrapped up and I also smiled for I could feel the positive vibes in the air that come from a moment of connectedness - an intimate moment as far as fathers and sons go. I smiled too because I was there to experience the ties that bind a father and a son.

1 comment:

The Organic Nest said...

Such a sweet post. You are a great dad, not because you're perfect at it, but because your heart is present for your kids. Have a wonderful Christmas with your beautiful family and may you all be blessed beyond your wildest dreams this New Year! ~Jenny