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The Parade Lesson

Teachings of a Child

by Hal Evan Caplan
December 18, 2010

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The Parade Lesson

     My child is my teacher and I learn lessons from him on a regular basis, even when I am positive at that moment a lesson certainly will not present itself. Of course when I think along those lines, that is the exact instant that I am "smack in the middle" of a lesson without realizing I am in the first place. He is my teacher for a reason and situations like this just prove that. Luckily, I am open to learning these lessons.

     On Thanksgiving morning my teacher and my wife were watching the Macy's Day Parade in the living room. I enjoy watching bits and pieces of the parade but it is difficult for me to watch the entire thing. I don't have anything against the Macy's Day Parade or any other parade for that matter; it's just difficult for me personally to watch on TV. Now, being in New York City in person, that is a completely different story. I do enjoy the live viewing of the parade because of the energy of the crowds, the breath taking shapes and sizes of the floats and of course the interaction of the parade participants with the bystanders.

     Because I couldn't sit and watch the parade any longer, I decided to go up to the office and relax. Well, come to think of it, maybe the term, "hide" would be more appropriate. Hide from what you may be thinking. That is a good question, and the answer is simple, at least to me, and that is to get out of watching the entire parade. Now, take in mind that my teacher was commentating throughout the portion of the parade that I did see. My teacher and my wife continued to exchange thoughts and comments about the dancers, musical artists and their songs and of course the floats. The Spiderman float was my teacher's favorite.

     Once I got in the office I sat in the recliner chair, kicked my feet up, turned on the TV and found something of interest for me to watch. Within minutes of my "disappearing act", I was being summoned by my teacher. He was still down stairs in the living room and I was upstairs in the office mind you, so his calls boomed throughout the entire house. As he called out for me, I reluctantly responded expecting that my teacher wanted to go play outside or something along those lines. Shortly thereafter, I heard the loud "thump-thump-thumpity-thump" echoing from the stair case alerting me that my teaching was on his way up to find me. He flew into the office, out of breath, and began...

     "Dad, it's still on you know."  He blurted out.

     "What is still on?" I questioned, hoping to avoid my teacher dragging me back downstairs to watch the parade.

     "Oh, you should have seen it!" He roared.

     "What are you talking about?"  I asked.

     "It was your favorite song." He expressed.

     "What song? Where?" I uttered.

     My teacher was going a mile a minute as he described a play-by-play details of the situation at hand.  At the same time he was pacing back and forth as if he just finished an entire pot of caffeinated coffee.

     "But it wasn't U2 actually singing." He declared.

     "Ok, ok, ok slow down." I requested.

     "It was some other guy, on a float." He explained.

     "Back up for a second... what song are you talking about"I inquired.

     Then, out of the blue, he broke out in a song and dance as if he had a spotlight on him.

     "It's a beautiful daaaaaay, don't let them take it awaaaaay, if you don't have now, you don't need it anywaaaaay..." He sang.

     The words were not really correct compared to the actual song, but I knew exactly what he was talking about... singing about. The actual song he was attempting to sing is titled "Beautiful Day" by the artist U2. And yes, for the record U2 is my all-time favorite musical group.

     "Now I know what song you are talking about, thank you for serenading me." I whispered hoping this would calm him down a little. But it did not. What I did not know at that moment was that he had put the lesson I was to learn in motion.

     "What is sarning you mean?" He asked.

     "It means to sing to someone and in this case that someone is me." I explained.

     Now take in mind, from the time he raced into the office, the show I was watching continued on the TV behind him. My teacher noticed that I continued to look past him towards the TV. He didn't like that. He didn't like that one bit. He was supposed to be the entertainment at that very moment, not the TV.

     My teacher turned towards the TV and he noticed the TV was not tuned into the channel where the Macy's Day Parade was being broadcast. He immediately seized the TV remote from the arm of the chair and changed the channel back to the parade.

     "It's Thanksgiving dad!" He bellowed.

     'Obviously, I know it is Thanksgiving, son." I replied.

     "It's the law that you have to watch this parade on this day!" He pointed out.

     Then to ensure I would continue to watch the parade and not change the channel back, he did not return the TV remote control. As quickly as he barged in, he was gone. Before I actually realized what was happening, he raced out of the room and back down the stairs; with the TV remote in hand. The worst part is he knew I was relaxed and comfy in the recliner. If I didn't know better, I was sure I heard him chuckle as he did this.

     I watched the parade for a little while as I sat comfy in my chair. I was caught between a rock and a hard place because I really did not want to get up in order to change the channel. Eventually, I could not take it any longer. I got up and changed the channel and returned to the comfortable position I was just in. My teacher must have had a channel-changing-radar or something because as soon as I changed it back to what I wanted to watch and sat back down in the chair, my teacher re-appeared, in the ready to change the channel again, back to the Macy's Day Parade. My teacher had the luxury of having the TV remote.  He would fly up the stairs and from the hallway leading into the office; he would change the channel back to the parade. Like the wind, he would be gone. This happened on several occasions.

      Finally, he came into the office and asked me to scoot over from where I sat in the recliner chair. I made room from him next to me as he pulled the covers over himself. My teacher looked my direction and I noticed he was grinning ear to ear. I knew what was coming next. Yes, he did it; he changed the channel back to the parade.

      "You have to watch the parade dad; it's the Thanksgiving law or something." He blurted out, again.

     "Whatever." I shoot back.

     We sat there together in the recliner chair, watching the Macy's Day Parade. The parade really wasn't that bad, I guess. But, the real reason I stayed in that chair watching the parade was because of the special moment I was having with my son.

     "Well, we just need to hang out and be together more." He declared.

     "But we do hang out and be together all the time." I reminded him.

     Then, as in true teacher form, he hit the nail on the head.

     "Then we just need to do it more, that's all." He announced.

     In a nutshell, the lesson that I was reminded of that day was: It is so important to spend as much time with your child as you possibly can, especially since they grow up so fast.

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Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke
Published September 28, 2010

A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

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