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?