Editors’ Note: We have left this blog post *as is*. As such, we have not corrected the original flavor of the author (incl., grammar, spelling etc) although we do cop to advising the author to make a minimal change in word usage.
I’m sitting in Florida with no shoes on smoking an unfiltered Camel. I’m being serenaded to a symphonic blend of the water in the fountain in the garden below and my family laughing in love inside mom’s apartment. Townes Van Zant is talking about his favorite type of flowers.
There’s a song by the Drive By Truckers I love- “Little Pony and the Great Big Horse”. Most music is pretty much open for interpretation. For me, this song resonates with the relationship between a father and son. At first, the Great Big Horse is this towering, colossal giant to the Little Pony. His old eyes have seen the world in a different way and the Little Pony knows this- that there’s a mystical place beyond the world he knows. And how small the world Little Pony sees really is.
And so their relationship goes as most father and son relationships do. The Great Big Horse tries to keep Little Pony in line. In turn Little Pony tries even harder to follow Great Big Horse’s every giant, powerful. That’s parenting in a nut shell. That’s being a father, a leader and a boss. At first we follow out of fear, then we follow out of want and finally we follow out of respect. Before long, the Little Pony is up the hill before the Great Big Horse.
The lyrics are a great metaphor for how time passes. We spend so much time trying to keep our world, the one we know, that before we realize it it’s no longer ours. It’s our children’s world. It’s changed us without our consent. You either let go and join the flow of life or try to grasp to the dying embers of a long burnt out star.
I am not the man I was at seventeen, twenty-one, or even last week.
It’s unbelievably important to regulary take time to remember my place as the tiny microcosm I am within the eternal mosaic of love and life we all are a patchwork of. I’m here to teach the boys, help elevate them to their own success and then finally to take a rest when we go on that great big run. To enjoy the beauty of two Little Pony’s becoming their own Great Big Horses.
So how the hell am I supposed to do that?
Well, I have to remember what is important. Sometimes I have to let it all wait a few days. All the bills, reports, and urgency of being a “man” has to be put on hold to refresh my soul by just being. A tourist in Florida with his two kids and wife and family and beard. Not the boss or breadwinner. Just Dad. Only Zach Allen.
Other times it’s leading by example. When I feel like taking a day off to stay in my bath robe and crocs and playing Call of Duty all day- I go in anyways. Speaking softly, with love and helping the man who has nothing to offer. Explaining why you tip at least five dollars. And telling them to go with the wave. To close their eyes, open their minds and shake their ass when the music plays. That is life.
This doesn’t just go for being a parent, either. There have been probably a hundred men and women through out my life who filled this Great Big Horse role. Like the two guys who convinced me to roll the dice with this trip. Thursday night I threw in the towel and said forget it, there was too much adversity. They said no. So, in the middle of a huge snow storm, with one open seat- I took a shot.
And here I am now, going over pictures of a life past with my wife- a part of me she knows very little of.
Remember to give the kick in the ass when someone needs it, because it will help you remember it is worth it. Your kids or employees or friends will sometimes need that reassurance that no matter what it’s worth it. If you never sit down at the table, you’ll never know what it’s like to win big pot. Even if it doesn’t work out and you just spent two days or two years working toward a failure, you are better for the experience alone of trying. Sometimes trying and failing is even more valuable experience than just reading risks.
Cause Simon and Gafunkel is hardcore.
There’s a video on YouTube (http://youtu.be/o2FkHUgTw9U) promoting my one friend’s band and my other friend’s tattoo shop. In it we all dance like a bunch of idiots. Someone pulled me aside after the first take and said “Dude, you look like a politically correct lumberjack statue. Let loose, shake your ass. If these guys see you doing it- they’ll do it.”
I took his advice. It was hard to let my guard down and show everyone my sexy moves in public, but we had a blast on the second take. It was one of those experiences you float away from- high on endorphins and going over and over in your head. If Steve hadn’t put the boot in my ass, though, I would’ve just remained a politically correct lumberjack statue. Which is cool in normal circumstances, but this was my chance to showcase what God gave me.
So who do you want to be? What do you regret not doing?
Well, your kids will probably be saying the same shit twenty years from now if you don’t lead by example right now. Before we know it they will be up that hill before we can blink our old eyes and looking out at the city lights on their own. If you have never bluffed with a crap hand and shown them the reward of taking risks, they’ll go through their own lives afraid to dance. And dancing truly is good for the soul.
One must still have chaos in oneself to give birth to a dancing star. — Friedrich Nietzsche