Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Rock This Way

As a parent, you try to raise you kids right. You watch their development and pay attention to the decisions they make. Little day to day behaviors provide glimpses into their future. Before your eyes, the person that they will become later in life blossoms.

Whether they act in ways that you approve or disapprove of, you wonder how much of an influence you’ve had on their behavior. When they drop a swear word in the cereal aisle of the grocery store for other parents to hear, you think back to how many times you’ve slipped and said that particular one in front of them. Similarly, when they hold the door open for their mother because they’ve seen you do it countless times, you are prepared to take full credit for guiding them down the path to chivalry.

I had a moment like this yesterday. It was one of those moments when you watch your kids, place your hands behind your head and take a deep, satisfied, that’s my kid breath.

While on the way home from the waning days of Christmas shopping, I flipped through radio stations attempting to find something we might all enjoy. My wife’s older brother listened to a lot of heavy metal and she still enjoys hearing it. I, being a male who grew up in the 80s, have an affinity for the genre as well, to say the least. I have been prompted to wonder if this is a genetic trait because my sons also seem to have a taste for it. So, when I recognized the first few bars of Metallica’s One, I stopped changing stations and turned up the volume.

“You guys know what band this is?” and asked my boys.

They didn’t at first, but once James Hetfield began singing, my eldest said, “Metallica?”

You’re damn straight, Metallica. That’s not what I said, but it’s how I felt. I was very proud at that moment that they recognized the greatest heavy metal band of all time. On the remainder of the drive home, we played air guitar and air drums. As we maneuvered through the side streets of our neighborhood, you could see confusion on the faces of other passing motorists and pedestrians at what appeared to be a carload of people flailing their arms around wildly. I have no doubt at least one call was placed to the police regarding a traveling domestic disturbance inside a moving vehicle.

But for as proud as I was of my sons for knowing the song we were rocking out to was played by Metallica, what happened next brought a tear to my eye in a manly, fatherly approval type of way, not in a show any other emotion publicly whatsoever type of way. The minute we got into our home, my sons headed to the basement and popped Guitar Hero: Metallica into the Wii. For the next few hours, the glorious sounds of such hits as For Whom the Bell Tolls and No Leaf Clover emanated from the downstairs television.

It’s moments like that, ladies and gentlemen, that make you feel like everything’s going to turn out alright. You realize that your kids have been paying attention to you and that they do in fact take your opinions seriously. Times like this make you proud to know your kids have such excellent taste.

Here I thought that it would take a few more years before they heard a heavy metal song and needed to then go play it for themselves. The combination of liking heavy metal, knowing the band and the resulting drive to play a video game is more than I could have hoped for at this point. It’s comforting to know that my influence upon my sons has been more immediate than I had anticipated…excellent.

(That last part should be read as if I am smiling menacingly and wringing my hands Monty Burns-style, because that’s exactly what I’m doing.)

1 comment:

  1. Married… divorced… separated… never together… what does any relationship status have to do with a man's parental duty? Once you’re a father, you're always a father. There is no you in the formula of life anymore. There is always at least one other person standing beside you in that equation. Always. Own that. And never leave that behind.

    Proud to be a Single Dad