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Breaking The Adult Rules: 4 Lessons I Learned From A Trip With My Son

Breaking The Adult Rules:
4 Lessons I Learned From A Trip With My Son

As some of you who follow me on Twitter and Facebook already know, I’m just back from a quick trip out west. It was actually two-fold; I grew up in Northern California, so I went back for my 30-year class reunion and I owed Cole a little one-on-one time, something he’d been haranguing me about ever since I did the same for his sister. 

So off we went, winging our way to the land of fun and sun. I was really looking forward to a change in the routine and putting my brain in park (more so than usual) for a few days. Little did I know I was in for some big life lessons, courtesy my baby boy. Most of you know a little about Cole through my writings here; he’s really a pretty remarkable kid, compassionate, smart and funny, all things that serve him well now and will into the future. He’s incredibly astute too, which is why I take seriously, the lessons I learned from him. You should too.

1. How To Throw Caution To The Wind

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What’s the thing most of us think of when renting a car? Is it practical? How much will it cost? How is it on gas? Not when you’re a 13-year-old boy. The first thing that comes to mind is, “Is it cool?” followed by “How fast can it go?” So just as I was about to sign for the practical, fuel efficient (read: painfully boring) compact, Cole saw IT. IT was a brand new, Ford Mustang convertible and we had to have it. It was double the daily rate of the compact but about a zillion times more fun. We tooled all over the Southland in that thing, hair whipping in the wind but both of us, despite the heat, wearing ear-to-ear smiles.


  1. Dawn

    August 25, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Wow, Rene, what an awesome adventure! My son is 4 and as a single parent, I get so caught up in the daily routine that I forget the simple joy of taking a trip somewhere just so we can relax the rules and be. Thanks for giving me the inspiration to just take a weekend to follow his lead!

  2. Cindy

    August 25, 2011 at 10:35 am

    We haven’t had the chance to take one-on-one vacations but we take day trips one-on-one all the time. It is a lot of fun and you get to learn so much about the men they are becoming when we back off and have some fun!

  3. Cody Williams

    August 25, 2011 at 11:12 am

    What’s up with pre-pubescent boys wanting to put their arms around your shoulders instead of the waist? My son does that now too.

    But, one of the things I noticed is that my children are totally different people when I with them one-on-one. And it’s cool. Dealing with them together it’s two against the one: me. They gang up on me about almost anything. Votes always result in 2 to 1. I have to constantly to remind them that our home, “is not a democracy. It’s a dictatorship.”

    My parents had seven kids. And the thing that amazes when I look back at my childhood is that each of them in their own way made time to develop a relationship with each of us individually. We each have our own memories of and special events and moments with each parent.

    I have to remember to take more time doing that Rene. Thanks for reminding me to get that done and how special it is.

  4. Vanzell

    August 25, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    With 6 in the house (and yes, they are ask by my wife and one at a time), it’s a little tough doing the singular child activities, but three weekends ago, it was just me and my mini-me 3-year-old. He picked the movie, Cars 2, he picked the activities, he picked the time to go outside and I can tell that he appreciated it b/c my instructions get heeded a little more quickly now. All of them have had the one on one time and it truly builds their trust, love and appreciation for us as parents. But we as parents have to properly maintain the balance of time spent with all individually so that the sibling rivalries don’t include the argument of someone being favored or not. I’m a teenager at heart anyway so, I watch the cartoons, want to go to the ball games or movies, play the video and board games and wrestle with them too. But in all of the activities, I try to find fun lessons that they can learn or fun tips or tricks to being a champ at a game. The fun part for me is seeing them learn, grow and mature thru the activities as well as see their trust and confidence in me being confirmed.
    My 14 year old still thinks I can go run a game of basketball with my college buddies that played pro ball… now that is maintaining my place as “my dad can do ________”… LOL

  5. Vanzell

    August 25, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Apologies for the typo but that “ask” should be “all” in the first line…

  6. Irene

    August 25, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    What a heartfelt story. I hope you print this out and leave it in your hope chest for Cole to open up one day.

    We have a big family…I really haven’t taken the kids on seperate overnight trips…but I remember once years ago my oldest kids (who are really my step kids) wanted to get some extra credit at school. We had to go to a slave plantation and they had to write a report. My hubbie groaned when the kids asked…but I jumped on the opportunity…..I am gonna tell you what best 50 dollars and 10 hours ever spent with those 2 kids….and you make a real point the kids saw me as not the one who was keeping the wheels on the track.

    🙂 Please take care in the weather all Gem’s out there.

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