Monday, April 24, 2006
Camp Report: Call to fatherhood
As he gathered his children about him he must have felt patriarchal for a man just thirty-three. His progeny now numbered four, a boy of eight and another approaching his fourth birthday, a girl in her sixth year and the newcomer in the cradle. It may have been at this time, during the winter of his return from the West, that the youthful Custis unwittingly impressed on Lee his ever increasing moral responsibility for this growing household. Lee took Custis out for a walk one snowy day, and when they had ploughed along together awhile, Custis dropped behind. After a few minutes Lee looked back and found that his little boy was behind him, imitating his every move and walking in the tracks the father had made in the snow. "When I saw this," Lee told one of his friends long afterwards, "I said to myself, 'it behooves me to walk very straight when this fellow is already following in my tracks.' " (Robert E. Lee, by Douglas Southall Freeman Vol I, Chap 11)Robert E. Lee (in my mind, the hero of the War of Southern Oppression) gets to the point: "Monkey see, monkey do" and how we men live as fathers is what our children will follow.
Of course I had some "quality" time with my sons although I probably spent more time with other dads than with my sons over the weekend. Supposedly this camp is for fathers to bond with their sons but since I spend time with my sons everyday (we are still reading the Bible every night, but have gotten behind pace for reading for the whole year but we side tracked on purpose like read the appropriate sections -- more or less -- from the 4 Gospels during the "holy week" from Palm Sunday to Easter), I didn't feel the urgency to be with them every minute of the weekend. Besides my sons don't normally get to be with their friends in outdoor settings away from their parental eyes (like exploring the woods). Of course when shooting guns, etc. I'm always around since both my sons and I are new to guns and I'm not ready to completely trust them (nor myself) yet.