This past weekend I got on a bus to Cincinnati, Ohio with my brother, a host of old friends, and some new acquaintances. Through my job, an approximately 35 person bus trip was arranged to take a ride down there on Saturday in the charter, enjoy a nice evening in a comfortable hotel, and take in the Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals football game on Sunday afternoon.
Well the prospect of this trip seemed perfect to me, since I had not laid eyes on my son in about a month. I am sure that it also seemed perfect to my wife, as she has watched me mope around the house for the last 4 weeks. Our son is a freshman in college, in Cincinnati, where he has been for the last month. So, I immediately signed up for the trip and asked my “43 year old” little brother if he wanted to hang out for the weekend. He enthusiastically agreed.
This post is not about how hard we partied or that I am an eternal and die-hard fan of a dismissal football team.
Instead, it is a post about how people can come together, be considerate of each other, share in a good safe time, and create a memorable life experience. The experience for me had an added measure of significance due to the fact that I was able to see and spend time with my son.
After just 30 days, he seemed different, just a bit more mature or older. He carried himself with a different type of confidence, perhaps brought on by making his own day-to-day decisions on a wide range of issues from things as simple as when to eat, to as critical as when and how to study for an economics exam.
In a very mature sort of way, he was also very reflective over the course of the weekend. He told me how great it was to be “reunited” with me and that this weekend reminded him of just how much he missed his mother, sister, and me. He spoke in some detail of how much his family meant to him. I could not have been happier or more proud as we shared this wonderful weekend together, with a group of really nice, thoughtful, and fun-loving folks.
After the game, the entire group was considerate and thoughtful enough to allow me on the way out-of-town to return my son to campus in the charter bus. It saved me the worry of an expensive cab ride and leaving him at the stadium after the game to work out on his own getting back to campus. Yeah, I know he is 18 but…he is still our son! In fact, we dropped him off right in front of his dormitory in that huge bus. As a group, the people on the bus participated in a prayer for my son that God protect him and that he achieve successes in his schooling, as they wished him well in the days ahead.
As the days pass in the future, when the naysayers and the pessimists offer up their dim or sad view of the world, or of people, I am going to remember this trip. I will remember how a group of old friends and some new acquaintances came together for a great weekend full of fun and laughter, without a single cross word, or criticism. I will think about how people seemed to treat each other like they wanted to be treated. I will also reflect on just how easy it was to build consensus when a decision had to be made.
Most importantly, for me, I will also remember how a new family memory was created for my son, his uncle, and me, enhanced by the company of all of these very nice folks. This weekend experience allowed me to see my son’s continuing growth first hand, for an all too short weekend, right before my very eyes.
This weekend was one of the best “Family Meetings” that I have ever had!
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