By Mike Jennings
When I was younger I didn’t think a lot about fatherhood.
I mean, what woman was going to marry me, much less produce offspring? Then it happened. I met “the one,” and now here I sit trying to figure out how to get two kids through college. I’m not sure how good of a husband or father I’ve ended up being, but I thank God each day that at least I got the chance to try.
Like most fathers my age, I have been through the tee ball, taekwondo, Little League, guitar lessons, travel ball, orchestra, football, etc. Some required coaching, and all required cheerleading. At the time all these activities seemed so important, but in the blink of an eye, they were done and life was off down a different road.
I am not one to give advice to fathers. Life just sort of happens and we all just face it, do the best we can and move on from there. You will always worry about your children, and my only solace has been prayer and the belief that someone better than I is controlling their fate. But if I had to give one piece of advice to fathers it would be simple: Enjoy every moment with your children, do not underestimate the importance of your involvement in their lives and understand their childhood will be gone much quicker than you can imagine.
Doing things with the kids is pretty easy when they are young, but finding activities to do together becomes much more of a challenge as they get older. For that reason, those I refer to as “smart parents” introduce their children to activities that they can enjoy together regardless of age. Fishing, tennis and hiking certainly fall under that category and are fine as long as both parent and child are enjoying them together.
But for me personally, I do not think you can beat golf as a lifelong activity for you and your child to be involved in together.
Start off by looking at the benefits of golf for your child. It is played outdoors, involves walking and exercise, takes place in a safe environment and can be done at their own pace. The costs are reasonable, the sport can be played on a team or as an individual, it offers equal opportunity for boys and girls and can open many doors to foster new relationships and even career opportunities. When you combine that with the fact golf is an activity you can do together regardless of age and/or ability, you really have a great sport you can enjoy with your children for years to come.
So if you want to be one of the “smart parents” get your kids out to the golf course. And don’t just drag them out and drop them off or sit around and watch. Jump in there with them. Have fun together, improve together and enjoy the experience together.
I will just about guarantee you golf becomes a really important piece of your relationship with your children and a tie that will bind you together once they enter adulthood.
Mike Jennings is the head golf professional at Pine Oaks Golf Course. For more information on instruction or events at Pine Oaks, call (423) 434-6250.