Who Would Have Guessed Homework Might Turn Out So Great?

IMG_0969My middle son, Cal (who turns fourteen in four weeks) asked me to proof read the Encomium he had been writing throughout the day this past weekend. I didn’t even know what the word meant, but I soon found out. Apparently an Encomium is a text expressing high praise. That was his assignment for his writing class. I read it over and was surprised by what he wrote. Even though he gave me permission to post it, I still feel funny about doing so. I’m not sharing this to ask you to think well of me. My hope in sharing this is to encourage you about how easy it really is to be a hero to your kids. Reading what Cal wrote completely warmed my heart and reminded me how relatively easy it is to love our kids in a way that makes a big difference.

Here’s his Encomium.

“Any man can become a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.” Let me tell you why I think my dad is so exceptional. My dad, Keith Zafren, is a proficient author and an inspiring speaker and a great father. He sometimes travels all the way across the country to speak. He is also a successful businessman; he founded the Great Dads Project, a fruitful organization that has helped many fathers become great dads for their kids. He founded the company in September of 2010 for the purpose of helping dads everywhere become better father figures in their children’s lives.

He is a loving and caring father, as evidenced by the many times he has helped me in life. Once, when I played goalie for my soccer team, the opposing team destroyed our team. After the game was over, feeling extremely frustrated and angry towards my team, I walked off the field toward my dad. He comforted me, saying that although my team was terrible, I had done a great job during the game.

My dad is a great dad. He cooks breakfast for us every morning; he helps us with our schoolwork and takes us to play tennis or soccer almost every week. Our dad takes us to soccer tournaments as far away as Pennsylvania or St Louis. He plays Ping-Pong with me in our garage. He sometimes takes us bowling or to get ice cream. Once he even took us to Kings Island, an exciting amusement park, for my brother’s birthday. We are very close, my dad and I; we have gone to soccer games, to the NFL hall of fame, even to the Great Wolf Lodge together. He travels with me wherever we need to go. He is the best dad in the world.

Cal told me I should put this in my next book. So I asked him if I could share it with you here for now. What a loving kid. The thing I love most about this is that it doesn’t point to any big experiences or grand events or magical fathering moments. He just details the most normal, simple kinds of things that make him know and feel how much I love him. What a relief for dads to hear that. These are the kinds of things that any of us dads can easily do for our children, even if we don’t live with them full time, which I no longer do. When you’re with your kids, love them like this and you will be bonding in ways that last a lifetime. 

Look at the difference it makes. You can do this. Go for it!

Great Dads Shape Great Kids. Be a Great Dad Today!

To read more from Keith, take a look at his book:

Large Book with Outlineimages


6 thoughts on “Who Would Have Guessed Homework Might Turn Out So Great?

  1. What an awesome story! It must be great to have received that sort of praise in addition to hearing about your son getting the commendation at school. I hadn’t ever heard of an encomium before. I think that any school pupil who knows what it is without looking it up in a dictionary or online deserves to be given one instantly! 🙂

    • I couldn’t agree more, Jonathan. And believe me, I will praise him for this. I will be with him this weekend and I’m planning to show him your comment here and the other comments that have been posted on my Facebook page to encourage him by letting him know how his writing has encouraged other dads. I think he’ll feel quite appropriately proud of himself and happy. I sure am proud of him. He’s such a good writer, too. I love this kid so much. And I sure do feel loved by him. I want every dad to experience this.

      • One thing that I love about this whole story is that your son’s piece of writing and your blog post show a sort of mutual appreciation in terms of what you do and why. When I was thinking about it after reading your reply, it really struck me that you’re both taking a lot of pride in each other. It sounds like you may have a future dad blogger on your hands!

      • Thank you, again, Jonathan, for your thoughtful comment. You’re right, I think we do have our own mutual appreciation club. And I think that’s a big part of what father-son relating ought to be about. It’s affirmation at work big time! And you’re definitely right about Cal’s writing ability. He’s amazing. He is writing his own fiction story right now and it’s remarkable how creative and articulate and imaginative he is. He asked me to proof read it a couple of weeks ago and I was blow away at his writing. I think he will become whatever he sets his good mind on. Right now, it’s to be a soccer professional. Perhaps at some point, writing will be part of his life’s work. Whatever he wants. Thanks for your comments, Jonathan.

    • Thank you, Graham. I know you know exactly what that feels like. The reward of devoted fathering, I suppose. Love attracts more love. Let’s keep spreading the word. You’re right about the unprompted part, for sure. What a nice surprise.

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