March 28, 2012 - I keep being told by all the smart people that young people don't read newspapers anymore.
I guess if it ain't electronic and entertainment driven it ain't worth the paper it's printed on -- and since I always believe what I am told by the smart people, I guess it's okay for me to be somewhat proud of eldest son, Shamus, in print.
Since he and his friends are teenagers, he and his friends are officially "young people" and therefore they won't read this.
And, since he or his friends won't read this, he won't be embarrassed when I write about him.
There comes a point, I reckon, in every dad's life when he can breathe (if only a little) a breath of relief.
So it was for me this past weekend.
I think Shamus might be okay.
He accepted some responsibility by accepting a job from a local business to "clean up" in back of the shop.
I dropped him off with shovels, rakes, clippers, a sled to haul stuff around, gloves and a canteen of water at 8 Saturday morning.
I went back to check on him around noon, and found him red-faced, dirt-smudged and sweaty.
I'll admit, I smiled as gave him one of Dad's Famous Peanut Butter and Strawberry Preserve and Banana triple-decker sandwiches.
"Dad," he said as he chewed (we're still working on table manners), "I need to sweep up here. Do you have a broom?"
I had a big shop broom, but the handle was busted.
"No, son. We'll go to the hardware tonight and you can finish it up tomorrow. Go give the folks your hours and tell them it will be swept clean before business starts on Monday."
He did, got paid. We packed up the Great Escape 2008 (my new ride since the demise of the Racing Sonama) and went home.
He bathed and went to watch a high school play.
I bathed and emceed Ortonville DDA's A Nite at The Races. And, by the next morning I was on to that day's schedule and chores.
Sunday, 9:30 a.m.
"Uhm, Dad," Shamus asked, "When are we going to the hardware so I can finish up sweeping?"
Hallelujah and Praise be to the Big Kahuna In The Sky! I had forgotten but the kid remembered and wanted to complete the job he'd been paid for. Hot damn!
I know, I know. It is only one example of accepting responsibility and following through on it, but it's a start. Parents worry about their kids.
Moms have their worries, dads have their worries and together parents have a whole other group of shared worries.
One of the dad worries is that your son will be a slacker; a playboy type who just drifts around aimlessly instead of seeing value in doing a job "right" regardless of how hard that might be.
I know at 14 years of age, Shamus has plenty of time to fall down, forget, make mistakes and to fail.
Hopefully he'll be able to pick himself up, dust himself off, learn, grow and move forward.
Just like any parent I will hold my breath, cross my fingers and pray like a sinner at a tent revival meeting both Shamus and younger brother Sean turn out to be the fine young men that they can be.
Their destiny is theirs for better or worse. I guess I will worry until I cannot remember who they are.
Now, if I can only get Shamus to clean his room, remember to turn in his homework, brush his teeth and comb his hair in the morning . . .
Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org