When our son Ari began talking to us about having an ‘army party’ for his 6th birthday we knew this was one for his dad, Josh, to take the lead on! Ari wanted to invite a small group of friends to his grandparents’ farm in Puhoi for a day of army drills, training and adventure. We pondered this for a while, talked about some of the realities of war and the modern military and eventually settled on inviting his crew to join the ‘Puhoi peacekeeping force’. Then we were away!
Josh was in his element! A registration table, army fatigues, face paint, army supplies and a van were just the start. Once at Puhoi, Josh (dressed in full army fatigues) took the troops through an army training obstacle course – a huge tug of war competition, and target practice with nerf guns (Ari’s request to use real guns was denied!). Some lunch and time inside with army toys was a well-timed rest after this.
But perhaps the part they loved the most was when Josh led the boys on a march around the farm where their imaginations could run wild and they could burn off any energy they had left! Whether we like it or not, there is something in a boy that wants to be the ‘goodie’ shoot the ‘baddies’ and be the hero of the story. This was exactly what Josh understood so easily and could bring to life.
Dads are great at pushing the boundaries and have an inherent understanding of the way boys think and act. However, some dads are never invited into the party space (or are too scared to enter) for fear that their ideas will be silly or they don’t have the requisite skills. On the contrary, given a little freedom, dads have much to offer to a child’s birthday party celebration. Their ideas might not be the tidiest or safest or most aesthetically pleasing but they might also be the ones that everyone remembers long after cupcake designs and matching trim are forgotten!
And if a dad can build with wood, then a dad can build with cake! In the end, this high-energy party was a perfect way for the boys to use their wonderful six year old energy reserves, feel like the ‘goodie’ in an adventure and create some amazing memories together. It also made for one very satisfied dad! The troops were returned to their parents exhausted, exhilarated and very, very happy.