Southern Rock and Winning in Dadhood

Gibson Guitar

By Gibson (Gibson) [GFDL (

The biting yet soulful sounds of an electric guitar hammer out of the car speakers, bemoaning tragedy and heartache.

A seedy, wise-beyond-its-years voice spins tales of drug abuse and friendly caution.

I hit the gas pedal.

My lip curls, and my head nods to the beat of the music. I check the rear-view mirror. There he is–A 5-year-old image of me, snarling and bopping just like his old man.

“You’re playing the drums. I’m playing the guitar,” he instructs.

“Ok,” I say, and we assume our respective air-rocking positions in the band.

Under the driving rhythm, I hear mumbled and mis-heard lyrics when finally we get to the chorus. “Ooo-ooh, That smell. Can’t you smell that smell?” belts out from the back seat.

We are listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd…for probably the 150th time. I love it. He loves it. All is well.

Ever since I can remember I have had an abiding love for Lynyrd Skynyrd’s music and an avid interest in their history as a band. As soon as I could, I tested the waters to see if my son would love it as much as me. He took to it immediately. But what pleases me is not just a simple musical connection.

I won’t dote too much. Each of us has our “thing.”  But what I have discovered is that I can take my love for a band and unfold a few lessons of life over the course of  many years.

Right now, my son understands the driving tempos and the rockin’ guitars. Someday, though, I will tell him what it feels like to be stereotyped as a man from the South, and that these people knew that challenge too.

I will show him how Lynyrd Skynyrd’s music is filled with great social commentary on issues like race, civil rights, and gun control, and that it  came at a time when our nation was in turmoil over these things. They weren’t afraid to step up, be men,  and say what they had to say, and that’s a good thing.

I can pass on my love for all things music and show him how this band helped define a musical genre and carved out a place in music history by working tirelessly at their craft. He’ll hear that hard work and dedication are what results are made of, but that life can be cut short in an instant.

You see, I’ve found one of my channels of male bonding with my son. Some men do it with sports, others with cars or carpentry. I’m not good with most of those things, but I know this. When it is time for some one on one time in the car with my boy, he will be learning lessons of life in rock ‘n’ roll style, and to me, that’s winning in Dadhood.

How do you bond with your children? Is there a passion you can share with them that will help them along their way?




The Beginning
About Jared Tullos

Husband and Father to 3. Doodler, Tinkerer, Stinkerer. Regional Standout in Staying Alive the Goodest.

As a Southern country boy living in the city, I have experienced both the horror of gridlock traffic and the hilarity of seeing a chicken eat a snake.

Courtesy HAAP Media Ltd.

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  1. Lol. The only thing I can think about right now is how my 5yo makes me put on “Shine Bright Like a Diamond” by Rhianna every time we leave the ice rink (yes I introduced him to the song) and the contrast between you and your boy listening to Skynyrd.

    But what I really enjoy most about this story are the lessons behind the music that you plan on teaching. Kinda related: When playing board games as a family, I’ll always draw attention to the fact that we let mommy go first because it’s polite to let ladies go first. Then one day I came home after his grandmother was watching him and found out that she was all tickled because he let her go first when playing a game, siting “ladies go first.” Proud dad, to say the least.

    • LOL! I didn’t know that song until now. I can certainly see the humor in the contrast. I’m sitting here laughing my butt off. He’s pretty persistent about what he wants to listen to. It’s usually either Skynyrd or Collective Soul. I’m wearing him down though. If I can get him listening to the Smashing Pumpkins (my other favorite besides those two) we’ll be doing just fine. That’s good about “ladies first.” We’ve been working on that too!

  2. James Hudyma says:

    Big Jim’s been drinkin’ whiskey… I love Lynyrd Skynryd. I love guitar. I’m also a songwriter and music is the passion I share with my kids.

    On a side note, a band I played in back in the late 90s played some classic rock festivals with Lynyrd Skynyrd and a few other bands. I got to hang out backstage with the band. It was awesome!

    • Nice. Sad that there’s only 1 or 2 originals either still around or alive.

  3. Jared! Brother! Bonding over Rock n Roll is one of my favorite pastimes with my 6 year old son. Music stirs a lot of memories with me, and those memories prompt opportunities to share life lessons that I’ve learned.
    This was one of those unexpected posts today that makes me smile in agreement. Loved it.

    • Gosh, looking back on life and rock ‘n’ roll moments, who doesn’t have at least a tale of caution, HA! It’s awesome how music unites people on such a deep and universal level.

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