By JEFF JOBE
As I climbed into the dunking tank for what is quiet possibly the last time, I immediately had three young boys lining up to take their turn at drowning me.
The boys were probably between the ages of nine and eleven and I have known them from the restaurant and brewery I own and spend weekends. They are a handful and as a father of three children it is impossible for me not to speak with children. I honestly find myself chatting with kids more than the parents and I’m told many of them like coming because I do.
I try to be a friend of the family, direct the boys into well behavior and actually believe the attention of adults in positive ways is good for children. They react well and in turn it helps fill a void for this empty nester dad.
These three reminded me of my son. They are the epitome of the phrase “hard headed boy”. I say this with love in my heart and it means nothing but being tough, determined and aggressive, but a loving boy like my own son Wyatt.
Wyatt has made it his life’s purpose to train, be strong and strive to save lives. The military training, paramedic training and long hours of focus for physical fitness has him positioned to someday legalize his dreams of saving lives in some of the most horrific circumstances.
As these three boys threw several balls, probably $5 worth, they were getting frustrated and I could pick up on it. They were about to give up and I know they wanted to dunk me so badly. With each throw they were getting closer. I knew with a few more throws they would hone in on the target. Seeing their parents and knowing another $5 wouldn’t hurt them I began to taunt the boys. I almost said, and it may have begin to roll off my lips, “You fellas are throwing like little girls.”
But as the words began to form or release, I immediately pictured my own little girls and I knew if I said these words, even in jest, I knew in my heart I would be wrong.
I have declared for years the strength of women. My knowledge is from personal experiences. A strong grandmother, a single mom who raised three children on her own, a wife for 18-years who clearly was more intelligent than me in so many aspects of life and now having two strong, independent daughters.
I feel for me to make that statement would have went against what I have spent my life as a father trying to instill and witness. All children are equal and they can do whatever they want in life if they set their minds to it. It was a cold and solemn moment for me, as I sat there on display waiting to be dunked into some of the dirtiest water one could imagine.
How could I get so caught up in a moment that I would for just a single minute forget my daughters and their accomplishments? I have two of them. The oldest Reagan is at this moment studying abroad in Vienna, Austria. She is 20-years-old and in her junior year at Transylvania University. She is well on her way to have an education from a very accredited school, world experiences and confidence sure to be the foundation for a strong future.
While McKenna is a Brown Fellow at the University of Louisville, she too spent the summer abroad with study; she traveled Europe on her own as well. McKenna since, she was old enough to talk, spoke to me as an adult and I’m excited about the contributions she will bring our world.
I am nothing more than a mere man and sometimes the words that roll off my tongue are long gone before I realize my mistakes, but on this day I am pleased I had time to catch them.
I believe it is important for adults to take caution what they share with children even in jest, and as for me, I’ll pay very close attention from now on.
Now don’t get me wrong, I still wanted to challenge these little stinkers and I did. I said to them, “Go get your sisters and let them show you how to throw.” Their parents smiled. Their sisters smiled. Soon they came back with more money, and I think you know the rest of the story.
Jeff Jobe is founder and CEO of Jobe Publishing, Inc. His commentary reflects his personal views and does not reflect the views of personal or professional associations and affiliations. Reach him at email@example.com. Read his previously published commentary at sckentucky.com