April 27, 2013
[www.ravictory.blogspot.com] ~ Yes, we live in a modern age full of
smartphones and YouTube tutorials, but
there still is no substitute for hands-on
learning through participation and repetition.
After all, father-son bonding through oral
traditions goes back to the dawn of time. My
boys love to hear about how I spent my time
as a kid in a pre-cable, pre-internet, pre-
gaming world. And they love even more
hearing about the skills I learned in my youth.
1. How to Skip a Stone: There are two key
elements to successful stone skipping: the
rock and the throw. Ideally, the rock should
be flat and smooth on both sides. I personally
favor a rock that looks like a paper football
(triangular). Once you’ve found your rock,
you’ll need to master the throw. Grip the
rock between your forefinger and thumb.
Aim to throw the rock straight, facing out
from your palm, so its flight is perpendicular
to the water’s surface. Flick your wrist on
release (like you would a baseball), and
watch your rock skip! Ten skips is impressive;
anything over 20 is exceptional.
2. How to Climb a Tree: Much like skipping
stones, how you choose your tree is crucial.
Novices should select a tree in which they
can reach up and grasp a branch while still
standing on the ground. They will also want
to make sure branches are within arm’s
reach once they’re off the ground. An
expert tree-climber will take the Tarzan
approach and hug the tree’s trunk tightly
while placing his feet heel-to-toe until he has
reached his first branch. Most important:
Make sure any and every branch will be able
to support your weight. A good tip: If the
branch is the size of your arm, stick as close
as possible to the tree’s center where the
branch and tree connect. A branch the size
of your thigh or bigger should be able to
hold you sufficiently farther away from the
3. How to Do Laundry: Teaching your son to
wash his own clothes will go a long way.
Different clothes can require different
handling. These days, most washing machines
are as complicated as your DVR remote, but
there are two basic rules of thumb: 1) Wash
whites in hot water; and 2) Wash colors in
4. How to Scale a Fence: You never know
when you’ll need this skill—it might even be in
a dream!—so it’s a good one to have. Fences
come in different shapes and sizes. Wooden
split-rail fences are best conquered by
grasping the top rail with both hands and
then stepping on the bottom rail with your
lead foot. Lean back with your body weight
and then explode up off your foot. Shift
your shoulders and hips—in parallel formation
—over the top rail. Your momentum will get
you over. As you cross the top rail, let go
with your hands, and bring your feet
together as you land. As with trees, the best
techniques for other types of fences will
depend on what you can reach and how
much weight it can support. Always make
sure there’s a place for at least one hand
and one foot on the fence at all times for
optimal support of your body.
5. How to Cook a Meal: Like laundry, cooking
doesn’t have to be as intimidating or
confusing as some people make it seem. If
you can read, you can cook. Seriously. All
you have to do is follow the recipe. Two
important things to remember: 1) Salt and
pepper are your best friends (they will bring
out the flavor of almost any food); and 2)
Cook to taste (too often people don’t eat
something because they don’t like the way it
tastes). So if you can make a grilled cheese,
then you can make a quesadilla. Try adding
some of your favorite meats or veggies to a
quesadilla to spice it up. And if you can boil
water, you can make pasta.
For both work and play—holding down the
home front and hitting the road—
Silverado helps you get life done.
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Greg Barbera of DadCentric is a dad
blogger, beer magazine editor and the
singer/bass player for the punk band Chest
Pains. He lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
You can follow him on twitter @gregeboy,
Tumblr, Facebook and Blogger.