Matthew's Mind

Your wings already exist. All you have to do is fly.

Last year I wrote a post titled “Trust the (Cake-Making) Process” and received overwhelming, gratifying feedback from it! It briefly chronicled my 2+ hour journey making a “healthy” cake, and why I did it…

So consider today an informal Part 2, where I’m asking you to “Trust the (Fort Building) Process”. Another journey, another result and a lot to be learned alongside my boys…

A couple years ago we constructed a play set (or a “fort” if you ask the boys) in our backyard. Swings, slide, climbing wall, monkey bars, lookout tower, the works. It’s awesome. They’ve played on it plenty, meaning you could start to see all the wear and tear. This baby needed some love.

Fort Before

But before I put some “love” into it (think staining), I got to thinking. I did this wrong to begin with!

When I bought the fort, it looked intimidating. Literally hundreds of pounds of lumber, bags and boxes of bolts and instructions that had me contemplating the next 15 weekends of my life and what those were going to look like. So I did what any loving father would do. I went for it.

Yes. I Google searched “Play Set Construction Lawrence, KS” and called the first legitimate looking website! And they got it done in one day. It was clean, efficient and to the point. Like I said, it worked – and my boys love playing on their fort. But I regret not having done it differently.

Because while my sons love having it, they never enjoyed building it.

And I missed an opportunity for them to appreciate the hard work … the process. So just a few weekends ago, we did the next best thing…

Noah (7), Evan (4) and I headed to Home Depot. With the entire paint section in front of them, the boys were given permission to

“Pick any paint colors you want… go crazy!”

and they did.

Paint

A rainbow spectrum of paint colors later, we were walking out of the store with a power washer, half gallon paint cans, stir sticks, brushes, rollers, drop cloths, masking tape and two boys smiling ear to ear. They thought this was going to be quick and fun. I knew we had a process in front of us. But none of us were really prepared for everything that came next.

Over the course of that weekend, and the next, and the next, and the next (about a month in total), we got to work. Power washing, sanding, taping, painting, and a lot of smiling.

Power WashPower Wash 2New Fort Painting 2paint

What started as a couple-year old redwood fort, that sadly needed to be stained again, turned into something magical. And it wasn’t stopping there. We’re ordering signs to hang, stickers to stick, spray paint to spray and flags to fly. What might look like an eyesore and monstrosity to some, is now a beacon of brotherhood in our backyard.

Fort Sign

We not only have something, we built something.

Finished Fort Pic

What do you have? What have you built? And which do you (and our loved ones) appreciate more?

Time to go build something great.

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