Friday, May 8, 2009

In the Head and Heart If Not the Hand

While it is true that you add nothing to "golf" to make it "goof," it is also true that occasionally an important life lesson can be discovered among the links. From the case of Paul Goydos, comes the lesson that geographical proximity is not the determiner of how close the bond is between father and children.

Goydos, a single father since 2003, has two teens and also a career as a professional golfer. Although he did take a year off the tour to homemake for his girls after the divorce, work takes him away for many hours, days, weeks. However, he is also close enough for them to see him in all parts of their life. As his younger daughter says of his growing influence, "I definitely talk to my dad about a bunch of stuff,” she said. “I used to not think I could tell him anything. This past year, I was thinking to myself, I shouldn’t be afraid of talking to him at all." And in return he takes them to work with him (at least in his head) every single day.

Taking your kids to work in the head turns out to be much more valuable than simply dragging them with you ... at least as shown by John Douglas Cartlidge Sr., a Pennsylvania gent who picked up a trade and tried teaching it to his son. Unfortunately, the trade he picked up was robbery — he was at a vocational institute, prison — and he and his son are now on the hook for burglary, criminal conspiracy, theft, criminal trespass and receiving stolen property. The son rolled on the old man pretty quickly after the cops came calling.

Keeping your kids in your head even seems to lay a foundation for bonding when thousands of miles and no communication separates a father and children. Such is the lesson from the reuniting of Cleveland's Michael Culp and his two Brit sons. He was an American soldier and was married to their mom before circumstances separated him from his boys for a score of years. He kept thinking of and searching for them. They were thinking of and searching for him. Andso, as in the case of Goydos — and in direct contrast to the experience of Carlidge — it's all about the thinking about and caring for the children, not just about making them an accomplice in your life.

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