A father and son trip away sounds like it should be a doddle but can be paved with hidden traps. Diplomatically getting you and your son alone without other family members wanting to join and not feeling left out is an odyssey in itself. After that malarkey, there are the pitfalls of the actual event. In a way, a day out with the boy is a bit like dating his mother back the day. You need to balance excitement with periods of conversation, intimate but not too much- you already embarrass him in the changing rooms at the sports centre. You ned to be active, but not too much as you’re getting a bit creaky in the joints while he’s probably at the tender age where things like drinking, driving and girls are starting to befuddle him. It’s your job as a dad to guide him though these perilous paths and so begins the epic father and son holiday.
Football Away Days
You can choose your gender, your nationality and your hair colour but you’ll never be able to change your football team. Passed down from father to son like a receding hairline, your football club is no more a choice than what size feet you have. Even if your team is a terrible one, you stick with them through thick and thin. Of course, this trip isn’t just about the match. It’s about the trip down, the matching scarfs, the pint and pie and the crippling disappointment as you travelled for four hours in a smelly coach to see your team concede in the last minute on a wet and windy Saturday afternoon in the arse end of somewhere. Well, at least it’s character building- just like that time you made him bury his dead hamster.
What could be a better way of gaining your son and heir’s respect than a good old business trip? Once you’ve lied to his school about his grandmother dying the rest is easy as you expense his whole trip on the company credit card. After a morning of meetings in a dull copper wire factory in a depressing industrial estate just outside a seemingly third-world mill town, the rest of the day and night are yours! It may be boring for you, but his eyes will light up in awe as he sees his old dad isn’t just a prat who needs a bib to eat spaghetti, but is also capable of being direct yet charming and a go-getter who gets results. Ok, this is a bit of a risky one but life’s about taking risks, son. Anyway, the pros should definitely out-weigh the cons as it’s cheap and leaves your weekend free for more pressing matters like the sale at the garden centre or the Grand Prix. Ok, you could do those things with the boy too but why not kill two chores with one stone, eh?
If the lad is usually on his Xbox and his smart phone while you’re out walking the dog at the weekend, there’s nothing better than a father and son jolly to a muddy field burning things and getting stung to get you both out in the fresh air. While camping, you can teach him the most important aspects of being a real man; how to open a beer bottle without an opener, how to start a fire and cook the perfect steak and how to play the chords to Wonderwall by Oasis perfectly- even though it’s February and your fingers are numb. Out here in the wild there are no gimmicks and it’ll teach him that life is a cruel game of cold, hard survival. Just make sure you don’t go too Bear Grylls though and things get out of hand, the last thing you want is to be soaking wet at 3am and huddling together for warmth. Take it too far and you go past bonding and into the muttered zone of ‘talk of this to no one’ like Uncle Bryn and Jason on Gavin and Stacy.
If you’re looking for some father and son bonding where you have hours to chat and pass the time, walking through tranquil gardens or discussing the finer points of life in an art gallery probably aren’t your cup of tea. You’d go to the pub but he’s not old enough yet and after his cousins’ 18th it’s best you stay away from alcohol for a while. What place could give you hours of conversation time?Queuing up for rides at the theme park! Just think about it. You talk and bond for twenty minutes then have five minutes of intense thriller action and then dizzily walk off to the next one. When you think about it, theme parks are perfect- just maybe wait a bit after lunch before getting back to the action- it could end up like his last illegal trip to the pub!
In terms of all the great aspects of the above, a skiing holiday should tick all the positives. You’re getting back to nature, traveling, chatting about life and the universe (or how much you both can’t stand the wife’s sister) on the ski lift and most importantly showing the boy his old man’s still got it at Après ski. If he can’t ski, you can show him the poles and he’ll think you’re the man. If he can, maybe he can show you a few tricks the kids are doing nowadays. Just don’t go too hard at first or the holiday can quickly go downhill. No one wants a repeat of the day out to ice-skating that saw you being carried off to A+E after ten minutes. Even when you bonded over battle scars in the waiting room, the coffee from the self-serve machine blistering the roof of your mouth was the final straw.