The author of a new book topping Amazon’s “Fatherhood” book category says he’s just that: a dad. “I’m not an expert. I’m not a perfect dad– I still have lots of questions–but I’m trying and I want other dads to try.” Mark LaMaster says kids will notice that effort– even if the initial attempts to connect feel a bit awkward, “I think we can help get God’s message out there and will become closer to our son either way. If we embarrass ourselves that might be even better than anything else that we do.”
Mark LaMaster’s effort to connect on a deep level with his 10-year-old son Lincoln is not only impressive– it’s paving the way for other dads to do the same. He collaborated with his son to create a road map for fathers to follow in his book “Friday Night Lights for Fathers and Sons: Schedule a 10-Game Winning Season to help develop your son into the man God intended him to be.”
Each of the ten “game days” are structured to help fathers and sons spend quality time together creating fun memories– and prompt conversations that will help them build an even stronger relationship.
One of his favorite game days deals with an issue that many kids and parents struggle with: developing true contentment rather than a sense of entitlement. As part of the “pre-game” preparation Mark uses a story from his own teen years describing how his basketball team made do with old uniforms and less than ideal circumstances, yet worked hard enough to elbow out a team that had the “coolest” uniforms available (complete with tear-away pants). Telling a story his son can relate to is part of his effort to help illustrate the concept of being content in any situation as described by Apostle Paul in the Bible.
The “game” gets into the fun for a 10-year-old boy— a chance to pick out his “dream car” and take it for a test drive. Thanks to help from a car dealership owner Mark was able to take his son out in a Corvette— then dad picked out the second car they drove, “It’s the worst the ugliest the rustiest car in the lot.” Mark says, “And the point is that they both get you from point A to point B and you’re not entitled have a Corvette right when you get done with school. It’s something you need to work towards and that the purpose of the vehicle is to get you from point A to point B. It’s not to impress other people and you should be content and thankful that you have a car because there’s people all around the world who don’t have cars.”
Mark says that practical— and fun— object lesson provides the perfect springboard in the “post-game” interview to start talking about the material things in our lives, “We just started talking about some of the things that we have at our house and he started thinking about how the stuff that he has versus some of his friends have and he says, ‘Oh that’s why he might think that.’” He says, “We just started digging deeper we started asking more questions and kind of went off script. This game plan is not to be followed step-by-step my hope is it will go even somewhere else or dads don’t even expect it to go, but we had fun driving the car. He thought it was cool and told his friends the next day.” Most importantly he says, “We shared that moment… he knows what the Bible says about contentment now and he understands the word entitlement they he shouldn’t just expect to have everything spoon fed to him.”
In addition to the book with instructions for ten complete game days and a post-season award ceremony, Mark plans to build a Facebook community for like-minded fathers in 2016. He says he, like many guys, needs to work on his male friendships, “We don’t talk about, ‘So what kind of things are you doing to really get to know your son better?’” He says, “It’s kind of weird we don’t want to admit that we’re struggling with it so I want to create a community like that to give them some tools and also give them a community to bounce ideas off of each other I’m looking forward to learning from it too.”