Walking together to school, the 1&onlyD found a late season conker on the pavement amongst leaves and horse chestnut shells. I asked if the kids had ever played conkers and, when I began to explain it, found escalating interest. That evening, I punched holes in four conkers with a hammer and drill bit. In the garden, after a quick demonstration, we began a mini-competition. No.1 son and No.2 son’s match progressed quickly with the younger boy’s conker cracking, exposing the off-white kernel and later ricocheting into his face.
The matches continued the next morning. The 1&onlyD stood poised to receive my conker swing, with eyes closed and face pinched. In both matches, each successful hit was followed by close examination of the conker and commentary on bruising, cracking and denting – much of it imagined and all enjoyed.
And this, in turn, reminded me of my post on Out-sourced Parenting. The conker fights were a rare, albeit trivial, example of my children learning from me something tangible, if of no practical utility. I was proud at the time. Silly, I know, but it was a fleeting taste of active, interventionist fatherhood.
I’m taking the little two to school tomorrow. I wonder if they can be excited again to hunt for and choose conkers with which they will do battle.