Last month my 11yr old son and I went on a road trip.
We covered 1,700km in 3 days passing historic homesteads, art-adorned wheat silos and lots of dead kangaroos.
Our quest was for him to face his fears and for me to face mine.
You see, last year we experienced a horror road crash and my son and I have been a bit shaken ever since.
So the opportunity to ‘get back in the saddle’ and journey to Western Queensland would either make us or break us.
I assured him that no matter where we were on the map, all we had to do was say ‘let’s go home’ and we would turn the car around. No ifs or buts.
But we never did.
Everyday we got stronger. Everyday we were able to face our ‘road-demons’. Everyday became an adventure – together.
We drove and drove. No music, just the sound of rubber on road. And lots of talking and laughter.
While we drove I taught him:
Australia is mostly desert.
Highways are numbered.
I haven’t always been 55 yrs of age.
Many outback towns can easily flood.
White crucifix’s on the side of the road means that someone has died there.
Lots of people don’t live in big cities.
Lots of wildlife are hit by cars.
Teachers have hard jobs.
Not everyone lives like the Contarini’s.
Face your fears because most of them are fictitious.
While we drove he taught me:
Fortnite is out; Among Us is in.
He doesn’t want me (or mum) to die.
He likes that I don’t get angry much any more.
He’s going to be a movie producer when he grows up.
Why some teachers and good and others bad.
How to make a million dollars by being a Vlogger.
Being disconnected from the internet for almost a day is not fatal.
When we arrived home, unpacked and dusted off our boots his mum asked him what was the best part of the trip.
He said “Just spending time with Dad”.
To me, the ultimate question of a father’s worth is: do your kids want to spend time with you? Does your presence add value to their lives or does it heavily discount it? Do you build them up or crush them every time you open your mouth?
As a dad I have to work to make alignment and connection. To build the relationship.
If you don’t or can’t because of your dominance, or you spend too much time in other trenches or because you just cannot bring yourself to say what you feel….that’s on you.
And you will be putting yourself in a position of punishment by being deprived of the greatest gift of all – really knowing your kids.
And sadly it will be your fault.
Our road trip was meant to be a test of our fortitude but ended up begin a testament to our father-son bond.
So put in the time, pack up the car and hit the road.
You’ll be amazed at what you’ll learn.