Like Father, Like Son

IMG_2494This week’s post is extra special because it is a tribute to my father and to my son. My dad is known to many as Dr. Bostic, Mr. Bostic, Ron, or even Sweet Ronnie B. But to me, he is just dad. By trade, he was/is a college professor, and by most accounts, and excellent one. If you have a teacher in your family, you know that the traits that they have in the classroom inevitably spill over into other aspects of life. And that certainly happened at our house. He has taught me so much, but there are three distinct teachings from him that I hold so dear. First, whether he knows it or not, there is one piece of style advice he gave to me a long time ago that still resonates with me today. For any special occasion like Father’s Day, I would ask him what he would like as a gift. And he always wanted a new tie. After the 7th or 8th tie, I told him this was getting a little crazy and asked why he kept wanting new ties. He said very matter-of-factly, “People get tired of looking at the same thing.” That was 20+ years ago, and that one statement still influences me today. Second, as to the point as that statement was, my dad had a brilliant way of teaching something without actually saying it. He wanted me to figure it out myself. Try it this way. Trial and error. He would guide me but never tell me, and that was so valuable. He is a music teacher, and I can’t help but think that he wanted me to have a little creativity in my decision making. A little art with my science. Look at it from different angles. And lastly, as a part of his job, he would go to one or two music conferences in major cities every year. And each time, he would take me out of school, and I would go with him. We road-tripped to Madison, WI, seeing the Midwest and chatting nonstop along the way. We went to Chicago. New York City multiple times. He would have conferences throughout the day, and he would just let me roam these places by myself. I’m sure most parents thought he was crazy. I thought it was exhilarating, and quite frankly taught me independence, culture, diversity, grittiness, and so much more. When I was a teenager, I walked straight into The Plaza hotel in Manhattan by myself, got a table for 1, and had the best steak of my life. I think most of his students would agree with me that he was a good teacher in the classroom, but an even better one outside of it.

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When my son came into the world two plus years ago, I had no idea what was going on for the first year. I was now a father, but had no idea what that meant. I had no idea what my role was or what my new identity was, and luckily I found it at some point. Banks Douglas Bostic is the single greatest thing that has ever happened to me. He makes me laugh. He makes me smile. And he does something to my heart that is like nothing I’ve ever felt before. If you’ve met him, you know a few things about him: he’s always smiling, he has personality for days, and he already marches to the beat of his own drum. I feel like he’s already developing that individuality, uniqueness, and self-confidence that I hope he can hang onto throughout life. He loves wearing his pajamas to school and out on the town. He likes to wear his sunglasses upside down. He flosses his teeth it feels like six times a day. Rain boots are his jam, and he sometimes prefers to wear them on the wrong feet. He wears his mom’s makeup and jewelry. And depending on the time of day that I catch him, his hat may be forwards, backwards, or even sideways. Just depends on his vibe. As little as I knew about being a father in year one, I think I have figured out what my role is for Banks, and it is pretty simple. To try and help keep that beautiful smile on his face for as long as humanly possible!

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I’m not going to talk much about outfits and clothes today, because today is more important than that. It’s about the two most important guys in my life, and the love that I have for each of them. One is 67 and one is 2, but they are both still constantly teaching me about life and style, whether they know it or not. My dad taught me the importance of a tuxedo, and bought me my first one in high school. He said my tie should never show under the back collar, and my shoes should always be clean and polished. And if I am not careful, people will get tired of looking at me. Banks was sick this week, and so I took him to the doctor. After the tests came back, the doctor looked at him and said “You have strep.” And Banks turned straight to me and yelled “This is awesome!” What an attitude! My son also taught me that it is okay to wear a combination of rain boots, pajamas, flannel, sunglasses and a hat out on the town. And that if you walk into Starbucks with a smile and a swagger, people will likely smile back!

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Cheers to all of the wonderful fathers out there, and have a great week.-Benj

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