Boys to Men

I took Ben on his first college tour yesterday, a day trip from Brooklyn up to SUNY Albany and back. The weather was perfect, expectations, none. We listened to the school pitch. We enjoyed a tour of the campus. We scarfed huge submarines at Di Bella's on Western and they were very good. We listened to a Yankees day game on the ride home. Not so good. But mainly, I got to listen to my son flirt with his dreams and aspirations as he viewed the prospect of college from the passenger seat (for now!). We returned the rental car in the city and stumbled upon this. 

 (Photo by Ben Carlton)

(Photo by Ben Carlton)

A day after the violence in Baltimore, Ben snapped a bunch of photographs of this peaceful demonstration and shared his views on what has been transpiring on the streets of America. He asked the excellent question that is on all of our minds: If not for the ugly scenes that keep unfolding, would anyone notice? After a little while, we jumped on the Q train home from Union Square. It was hours later, on the evening news, when I saw what transpired in this very spot, moments after we left. 

Just a few nights ago, Ben's 9th grade brother Matty  got home kind of late from LaGuardia. Always a diligent texter, he apologized for not keeping me abreast of his whereabouts. "Sorry Dad. Me and some of my friends attended an anti-violence rally in the city." As a father who very deliberately moved his kids from an idyllic village on the northern Massachusetts coast to Brooklyn, what was I supposed to say besides, "Hungry for dinner?"

Passages share real estate between fathers & sons. While my boys are busy finding themselves, I wonder every day, how I'm doing? Have I taught them anything worthwhile? Will they grow up a reflection of any of the values I hold dear? This week provided a few answers. And it's only Thursday. I'm excited for their future. Seems like they're asking the right questions.

 Admissions Building, University at Albany.

Admissions Building, University at Albany.