While vacationing a number of years ago, I heard an older gentleman grimace when he heard a younger father say to his boy, “come here buddy”. “A father should not call his son his buddy” he remarked angrily. Soon after, when I made a similar pronouncement to my son, the old man got up from the pool and left in disappointment and dismay. While I understood his belief that a father calling his son “buddy” might signal development of a collegial relationship and contradict the “older-school”, authoritarian parenting style, I didn’t quite grasp why the former could not be incorporated if parents instilled a solid value system. That is, why can’t a parent also be a friend to their age appropriate child(ren)?
In fact, over the years, our parental-son relationship has been built on a solid foundation of empathy, kindness to strangers and respect for all. And yes, my son and I enjoy each other’s company and friendship. These days his common interchange is “watch it fella”, when he’s sinking basketball 3-pointers behind the top of the key or reminding me not to challenge his 6’3″ frame when driving down the lane for a layup. Recently, I’ve been able to provide the satisfactory retort “gotcha fella” at the billiard table after he gifted me a cool pool cue stick on my b-day that has indeed vastly improved my game.
All told, our family is very fortunate to have such a thoughtful, kind, appreciative and considerate young man in our lives. We hope that his lucky number “17”, will ring true throughout his 17th year-
Happy Birthday “Buddy”!