One blueberry bagel, double toasted, with fruit spread on the side. This morning I was eating a bagel in the same local cafe where my son, Kile, and I talked about life over breakfast for more than three years.
Here is the back story.
My dad was mostly absent from my growing-up years. But I had eight different men give me terrific fatherly advice along my journey to manhood. As my son crashed through puberty and began maturing as a young man, I wanted to make sure I was doing more than just shuttling him from one basketball practice to the next and keeping him in the right shorts and shoes. I wanted to intentionally make certain wisdom deposits into his mind and certain relational deposits into his heart to allow him the best chance to thrive in his life and work.
My plan? Bagels and heartfelt conversation, extended over time.
In short, my desire was to tie a knot between his heart and mine. The goal wasn’t to tie the super knot that never frayed or weakened. The goal was to build such a strong relationship that allowed us to retie the knot over and over as life hits each of us. It was about the relationship—not the information, the routine, or even the bagel quality.
So, through high school we ate bagels and chatted. The regular, honest, uncut conversations about life, relationships, and work provided the framework. This wasn’t a one-way study where he just sat there, head down, taking notes and filling in answers. We asked each other questions, we shared stories, we laughed and cried together. Some topics we covered in a single week. Others took us a few bagels to chew through them.
Originally, I created fifty topics to steer our conversation. We only made it through forty-one of them. So, a good legalist could quickly call me out as a nine-deposit failure. But Kile and I hit the best, most meaningful topics for us. Here is a sample of some of the things we talked about:
After years of sharing this story with others and freely sharing my outlines, some friends convinced me to turn it into a book. With the blessing of my son and my family, I gave it a shot.
Spoiler alert! I am anything but the perfect parent, and although my son is exceptional in my eyes, he also is a flawed human. Any parent who acts like they have it all buttoned up should be avoided, IMO.
The book is out and I wanted to make sure you knew about it. If you are a dad looking for a little help with creating a green house and launching pad for your son, take a look at the book. If you have a friend you think it could help, give it to him for Father’s Day.
Parenting isn’t for cowards. The highs can be spellbinding and the lows can be devasting.
And then you wake up and your kids are gone.
Make a few deposits along the way.
Buy the book here.