The American Christian culture has failed to give fathers a structure, ceremony or rite of passage to recognize when their boys become men and when their girls become a woman. The Latin culture marks the transition from childhood to young womanhood with the Quinceanera at age 15. The Jewish culture marks the age when boys become accountable for their actions at age 13 with a Bar Mitzvah celebration. In my family I have taken the opportunity to recognize my children’s established practice of making good choices and firm ability to be independent and responsible for themselves at age 15 to 16 by taking them on a trip to a destination of their choosing with me. For Drew, we went skiing in Aspen Colorado and I introduced him to some of my closest friends. For Ben, we joined a close college friend and his son in the Bob Marshall Wilderness near Glacier National Park Montana to backpack and fish for a week. This week, I just returned from my trip with Summer to San Salvador.
Summer wanted to find a place that she could concentrate on learning to become more proficient at surfing. I wanted to celebrate her good choices and enjoy an adventure together. What I did not expect was the blessing I would receive. We spent 5 days together in a foreign country with no technology, no other family or friends, just the two of us. We set our alarm to get up at 5:30 a.m. and surfed from 6:00 to 8:00 a.m.. We then waited for high tide in the afternoon and surfed from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. The rest of the day we shared our meals together, watched the surf together, read, stretched, walked the beach, visited and rested for the next morning of surfing. We were warmly welcomed by the other few guests, received much needed encouragement and shared our brief adventure with an eclectic group of people from all over the world.
We looked forward to learning to surf, but found the entire experience so much more. The friends we made and the conversations we shared were encouraging. Summer and I shared extended time at meals and between meals with very little distraction. How different this is from our frantic schedules, hectic and busy lives in Houston. I dare to say that it is not uncommon that a father could live their entire life without spending an extended time alone with their children. If your children have yet to reach 16 or if they are already grown and have families, I would encourage you to plan an extended time one on one to give them your blessing. I set out to give my blessing to Summer, but I was the one who was so richly blessed. That she would spend time with me and that we could share this adventure together. Thank you Summer for blessing me.