“It was hunting season. The weather was perfect and Pete and Joe set out on their latest trip, excited for what they would find. They were “loaded for bear” and hoped to have a good hunt. They went deeper and deeper into woods until the daylight seemed to turn to dark because of all the trees covering the sky.
They heard a noise.
“What was that, Pete?”
“Oh, probably nothing. Let’s keep going.”
They kept on walking, just talking and laughing together when all of the sudden as they looked ahead into the darkness, they saw two glowing eyes staring out at them from the bushes. . . “
And these were the beginnings of the stories my husband used to tell our boys . . . before bed . . . when they were little!
At the end of almost every Pete and Joe story someone was eaten, lost a limb, killed a bear, was killed by a bear, or experienced something that was somehow graphic, gruesome or generally gross. Miraculously, they always survived, with complete healing in time for the next story. And our boys loved it!
Today, at almost 26 and 22, they still talk about their dad’s Pete and Joe stories.
Years ago, when I first suggested to Tim that he could spend some quality time with the boys before bed telling them stories, I envisioned fables, virtuous tales or maybe a Bible story or two. Trust me; I did not ever imagine stories of Pete and Joe having their legs eaten off by Sasquatch!
Which is probably a good thing!
But the fact remains that Connor and Trevor both grew up with their dad passing on to them the legacy of storytelling. They couldn’t know it at the time. At the time they were just exciting stories of adventure, friendship, faithfulness and courage. Pete and Joe are a part of who they are now, and are a part of some of the precious memories they have of their dad. These stories, or at least the idea of these stories, are tucked away in their parenting toolbox for the day that they have children of their own.
Even more than just stories from their dad, they had their dad. They had his undivided attention, and he had theirs. They had the man. They had their man, and he was teaching them what it meant to be a man, and a husband, and a father–in just about 20 minutes a night.
Thankfully, Tim didn’t tell them these stories every night. Great day! There probably would have been nightmares as a result. But he did take the time to tell them as often as he could until the boys had grown up past the telling of the stories of Pete and Joe to living them (well, they never lost limbs, or were eaten, but they did sit out a tornado while fishing, walk back from the Mississippi River after a breakdown, hunt snakes in Arkansas, go flood tubing in college, take a Polar Bear Plunge, and try to see as many football games together as possible.)
Through storytelling, Tim instilled in our boys the stuff of fables, virtuous tales and even the truths of more than a few Bible stories. He just did it in his own way.
Dads, that’s kind of what it’s all about. Take who you are and share that with your children. Share with them the things that were part of your childhood. Tell them true stories about your adventures and your friends or make up stories that will not only teach them, but reach them with your time, your love and your heart, passing on more than just a legacy of storytelling, but a legacy of you!