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Hail! The Boy King.

By Ben Burton


At the lake I saw a young daddy teaching his kids to fish. Just a boy, really, but in his eyes of his young children, a king! The scene flashed me back in time to another young father out with his children. For I, too, was once a boy king.

For a moment I envied the young father this priceless time and privilege--a time like this when my children knew that I knew it all, that I could do anything and everything. What a crowning feeling! But what an obligation! Like this boy, I was unaware then of the latter.

How can any father misuse this defining moments in his children's lives? For them, even the tiniest fish, a trophy; even the weakest and most selfish father, a king. Isn't this young man conscious that he is weaving lifetimes here? His every attitude a warp; his every inflection a woof. No, I conclude, the boy/man is unaware of this greater role.

Trouble is, this young father, though "king" to his children, still has a lot of boy in himself; a boy seeing his own trophy, hunting his own crown. Nevertheless, he is molding his children's memories and attitudes and lives--and their own parent skills right now.

I decide that I don't envy the young father his imposing responsibility after all--nor begrudge him his numbness to it. Not knowing that he isn't yet up to this awesome job, the boy is eager to keep at it. All the while, his children see him as the best king ever.

Nature is merciful that way; compensating both ends of the budding parent-child relationship. Patient, too.

The boy/king will need much practice and faithfulness. And luck. Didn't we all? The key is that he, with his boundless exuberance, is here, this day, with his children. And that alone is a beautiful start.