My second youngest son is always getting caught. The worst part is, he’s a very honest person, even when he was a kid, and he’ll own up to whatever he got caught at. I guess I should clarify that that’s the worst part for him…I’m extremely proud of who he is. Although he has moments…
It was Christmastime in Northern Wisconsin and it was beautiful! The snow was crystalline white, the decorations were bright and glittery, the church had the Nativity Display up and…and…my son was throwing snowballs at Jesus…AT JESUS!
I just happened to be driving past the scene of the crime when it was happening. My son and a couple of his friends were launching their assault against organized religion when my son nailed God’s son with a perfectly aimed snowball. He had to loft it just right to land it squarely inside the basket that held Jesus. He would later become an engineer which explained a lot, but it was a good shot by any standard. My little Roman soldier, my Pharisee, my Sadducee, and my failure as a Father was all on display for everybody to see!
My response was apparently very popular. I pulled over and approached my son who realized he had been caught in the worst way…in front of his friends. I did the first thing that came to my mind.
ME: Throwing snowballs at baby Jesus, huh?
ME: At a defenseless baby, huh?
SON: That’s not really…
ME: At the SON OF GOD, HUH?!?!
ME: Say you’re sorry.
SON: Um, I’m sorry…
ME: Not to me.
My son looked very uncomfortable. His friends were staring, but not in ridicule, it was more like fear. My son looked around at them, then me, then very slowly at the Nativity scene. He figured it out.
SON (facing the baby Jesus): I’m sorry.
ME: Sorry who?
SON: I’m sorry baby Jesus. (Then he faced me again).
ME: Are you forgetting somebody? (His eyes whipped around but seemed lost).
ME (taking a deep breath first): If somebody was attacking you as a baby, how do you think I would feel?
ME: That’s right. I think Jesus’s Mother is standing right there?
SON (turning a bright shade of red): Dad?
ME: Do it.
SON (turning towards Mary): I’m sorry, um, Jesus’s Mother.
My son’s friends were silent the entire time. I think they figured they might get out of this if they were quiet. The problem is, what happened would be very difficult to keep quiet. I would be bragging about the punishment (C’mon, it was funny!) and the kids would have no choice but to talk about it with each other. Embarrassment can sometimes be the best teacher.
Now, I mentioned earlier how this son would own up to things he did. His sense of responsibility was contagious, or he had some loyal friends, or both, but later on in his childhood, he got caught doing something again. This time by the cops.
We were living in Olympia, Washington at the time and my son was out hanging out with friends by the Middle School. They did this often, usually playing basketball or riding bikes or other kid stuff…or so I thought. This particular night was apparently crime night. I knew I should have read their schedule a little closer…
There was a knock at the door and I opened it. Standing before me was my son with two policemen shadowing behind him. Great…
POLICEMAN #1: Mr. Dazeodrew?
POLICEMAN #1: Your son was caught stealing valve stem caps off a car near the school.
ME: Huh? Valve stem whats?
POLICEMAN #2: Mr. Dazeodrew? Can we talk to you in private?
ME: Sure. (I let my son in and went outside with the policemen).
They explained to me what had happened. Apparently, the police were just driving by when they saw kids surrounding a car and squatting by the tires. All the kids ran when they saw the police, except for my son. He owned up. The crazy thing was that when his friends saw he owned up, they all returned to stand with him. This behavior surprised the policemen so much that they weren’t going to pursue anything. They just wanted to let me know what kind of son I had and how loyal his friends were…and put a little scare into the kids to prevent it happening again.
All of this is silly now, but it truly did show what kind of man my son would become. He’s still one of the most honest people I’ve ever known, so honest that some people call him a saint. He seems to be loved by everybody, even ex-girlfriends.
Of course, all my kids grew up to be very good people, I couldn’t be more proud.