My Journey To The Father Of The Year Award

Steve Perry, singer from the rock band Journey, poses on a boat at a shipyard where he is shopping for a boat. August 19, 1981 Sausalito, California, USA

When they hand out Father of the Year plaques this year, I’ll be getting one.

The lady had a beautiful voice. She was singing hymns and we were listening on an iPod one Sunday morning. As I saw it, it was the perfect music for us to listen to as we ate breakfast. My then four-year-old son saw things differently.

“Dad, put on some man music.”

I wasn’t sure what he meant by man music. I can’t remember what I put on instead. If I know me, I went with a selection from Waylon Jennings. Nothing prepares your heart for worship quite like Waylon Jennings.

It was then that I knew what I had on my hands. This kid wasn’t going to be one to settle for just any kind of music. He had a particular ear for a particular sound.

On Thursday night, it was that particular ear that let me know that I had done my job as a father well. Even if my son grows up to do something terrible with his life like rob banks or cheer for Auburn, I can live in confidence that I have at least raised him under proper musical guidance.

We had just gotten in the car after his soccer practice. When the engine turned on, so did the radio. It was playing one of those pop songs that sound like every other pop song. You know the type. Some woman was singing about how, “They can’t tear us apart.” Pop songs always sing about how “They,” whoever that is, can’t tear the singer and her significant other apart. What is it with pop musicians’ relationships that everyone wants to tear them apart? Anyway, that’s what the woman was singing about while a computer was making some sound that no actual instrument on earth could make.

This lasted for about 3.12 seconds until my son with the discerning ear spoke up.

“Dad, turn it.”

Man, I was proud. In fact, that moment is currently number 3 on my list of 25 Proud Fatherhood Moments. It’s right behind the time that he stuck his tongue out and booed when we drove by the campus of Georgia Tech and that time he climbed the wall and touched the ceiling while wearing nothing but a Batman mask and cape.

I obeyed my son’s request.

After a few minutes of flipping through the stations, the familiar keyboards of Journey’s Separate Ways boomed though our speakers.

“Dad, turn it up.”

Once again, I obeyed my son’s request.

And the rest of the way home, I knew that everything was going to be okay. Taxes might go up. They probably will. Someone will start a war with someone else for no particular reason. Those little green worms will eat my tomatoes. The Falcons will forget how to play defense in the fourth quarter. But my son will know the difference between the classics and the garbage.

Once we got home, I let the boys watch the Chiefs smack Peyton Manning around a for a few minutes before bed. When it was time, they reluctantly obeyed and found their way under their covers. I prayed over them and put on some relaxing music for them to listen to as they fell asleep.

Finally, their day was over.

Well, almost.

I heard the door to their room open and the sound of small feet pounding on the floor. It was my young son with the gift of musical discernment. He had one last question.

“Dad, can we listen to Journey?”

I said yes and sent him back to bed.

As he searched in the darkness for his favorite song, I leaned back in my chair and started thinking about the best place on the wall for me to hang my Father of the Year plaque.

image credit