Intro to Watsonopolis

Watsonopolis is a place where the Watson family posts their writing, reflections, images and videos.

Most of the stuff we post are our own thoughts, wonderings, and stories that emerge from our lives, our living, the world around us and the world within us.

You'll find us reflecting on our travels, our faith, justice, and what it means for us to live well in 21st century America. 

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Following Footsteps

A confession that will certainly come as no suprise.  As a dad, I have no idea what I'm doing.  Truth of it is that I'm not sure any father has much of an idea.  Most days I feel like the leader of a exploration throught the Amazon.  We're headed for the beach, but we're using what little sun we can see, hopes, prayers and our gut-level best guesses.  On harder days I shout loudly and confidently, "This way everyone, its just ahead!" hoping that if I don't flinch and look confident then my children won't know that dad is 1/2 lost 3/4 of the time.  

The best guides I have are those men that have gone before me; my dad, my pawpaw and my grandpa.  All men who were raising families like I am, but all of whom were much younger than I am at this stage of family-making.  In each case, they got an early start; or I got a late one.  I shake my head when I think that, when my dad was my age, his oldest son was a freshman in college.  My oldest is in first grade.  

But I'm following footsteps that my dad, my dad's dad and my granddad have put in front of me.  I'm raising my boys using some of the same patterns that I was raised with; for good or ill.  Lessons that I teach my boys remembering the lesson that my dad taught me.  

I remember one night, living in St. Francis Square Apartments, there was a stabbing in another building.  My dad putting on his shirt and boots and starting out into the night, because someone was hurt and someone needed rescue.  And I remember the feeling of pride and fear waiting for his return.

Elias wearing my bootsA couple of weeks ago, after picking up my first grader, I noticed, in the downtown alleyway a block from his school a woman trying to get away from a man she was arguing with.   I did what my dad, and my dad's dad and my granddad would have done.  I pulled into the alley, told my son to sit tight, and headed in to make sure this ended better than it had started.  Once sure that cooler heads were prevailing, I walked back to the car, looked at my boy through the windsheild and grinned.  Him grinning back.

I remember my grandpa teaching me the absolute duty of a man to defend a woman.  "The only reason you should lie is to save a life or defend the honor of a woman".  The truth underneath my grandpa's wisdom is the value of life and dignity of womanhood.  So, when, on the drive home, my boy asks me, "dad, why did you take off down the alley?" I am able to say to him what my dad, my dad's dad and my granddad would say, "son, if your sister grows up and some man is doing that to her, I'd want a father to stop and make sure she's ok.  Men don't treat women that way son, and when they do, other men - like me & you - have to stop and remind them of that".   

This Christmas my boys recieved gifts that serve as physical reminders of what I'm trying to do.  My oldest got a bike and my younger son got a pair of boots.  Both were hand-me-downs from their dad that their Pops and Grammie had been saving for decades.  Watching the boys ride 'my' bike and walk in 'my' boots has been inspirational and sobering all at once.  Reminders that I am paving a path for them, showing them - literally - which way to go and which way to walk.

I'm trying to leave footsteps for my boys to follow.  Signs that may not seem like much now or even make much sense, but later, a generation later even, will become crystal clear. 

I'm hoping the guideposts I leave help them when they find themselves neck deep raising their own children or in an alley 'reminding' another man how to treat a woman while his 7 year old looks on.  "This way boys!  It's just up ahead".



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Reader Comments (2)

Bet there are some proud grampas looking on from heaven and cheering for you. This grandma in California sure is!

February 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDelaine Zody

Boots and a bike- how fitting. And what a great way to show your boys through example. It's an amazing thing to think about all the people living through us. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of my dad in an expression on my face or summon his diplomacy when I'm in a tough spot. I'm grateful to God that He let us be part Dad, part Mom and mostly ourselves instead of just ourselves. This, in and of itself, shows his commitment to community- and in the end, to us. We are never alone.

February 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteraz

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