The Fence-Jumping, Battery-Changing Dad

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About Josh Tyson

Josh Tyson is a husband, father, author and musician (sort of) living in Denver. His extensive word collage explores everything.


  1. Lisa Hickey says:

    This is great Josh. I mis-read a line describing your own dad, I thought you said he was “a psychotic JUGGLER who usually left the house well before anyone was out of bed, and later, burst wheezing into the kitchen covered in sweat and snot while we were eating cereal.” I pictured your dad furiously street-performing during breakfastime — juggling at lightening speed, to work up such a sweat. A man after my own heart — doing whatever it takes, passionately.

    The striking thing about your story is that it doesn’t take much to be a great role model for our kids. Talking to them, taking actions, setting a good example. And wearing the occasional fedora. Thanks.

  2. Josh, I really dug your article. I, too, have enjoyed (if that’s the right word) fame and admiration from my boys for mundane things I did (and hopefully, most other dads do too). My 8 year old still talks about a snowball fight he observed when he was 4, where I hit my neighbor Johnny squarely in the head from across the streat. My son still thinks that’s amazing. And my teenager still talks about a time I prevented him from falling in a (very shallow) tide-pool in Oregon when he was five or six and thinks I’m the bravest, live-saving-est superhero he’s known. It’s all awesome. And weird. Sometimes I wish I could see myself from their perspective (and sometimes, I don’t), because it would probably do wonders for my self-esteem (or might crush it utterly.) In any case, great piece. I think you hit it on the head with this paragraph: ” I want my boys to have an elevated and open interpretation of what makes a man. I want them to know that, at its core, being a real man is just being a good person. And I realize the lion’s share of that responsibility is on me.” I agree. That’s the tricky part. That’s an adventure to shake even Indiana Jones’ confidence.

  3. My sons do not admire my typing, though. “streat” is obviously not right, meant “street”. Sigh.

  4. Psychotic juggler. Now an image I can’t get out of my head. Hilarious.

  5. Tom Matlack says:

    Okay here’s the thing with little boys, they love bathroom discussion. My son Cole, who is 5, has this daily routine. I generally make the family dinner and get all five of us at the table with hot food set before everyone. We say grace and then just about every night Cole announces that he has to go to the bathroom. And he needs my help. So I leave my hot plate of food, steaming into my nostrils, to sit on a sink while my boy reviews his day and asks me various questions about life (“Who is batman’s scariest enemy dad?”). It is his most talkative ten minutes of the day. Nevermind that the rest of the family is enjoying dinner while I am watching my kid relieve himself. Recently I have drawn the line at assisting in the post poop wipe before returning to the table. He is big enough he can do it himself.

  6. The bathroom has become an increasingly holy place for two reasons: 1) I can read there in peace for ten minutes and 2) what Tom said.

  7. Kerri Wall says:

    Thank you Tom! Once again you speak the total truth (my son was/is the same and I’m his MOM) and you gave me a great laugh!

  8. “I want my boys to have an elevated and open interpretation of what makes a man. I want them to know that, at its core, being a real man is just being a good person.” How beautiful is that?

  9. These are great stories. Bathroom talk is interesting… Kids also love to talk to us while we’re shaving. I remember talking to my dad while he shaved and he would replace the blade with a piece of cardboard so I could scrape the shaving cream off my face and pretend to shave with him. Car trips wtih just one kid in the car are great too… I call this windshield time. The challenge with car trips is keeping the kids attention from their electronic gadgets.

  10. My oldest son learned quite early on that the bathroom was a magical place with the capability to free him from any uncomfortable situation. For example, my brother-in-law’s wedding. When it was boring him, he just shouted “I GOTTA GO POTTY” at the top of his lungs and the entire wedding stopped and watched as daddy took him out of the room. Only to have him tell me at the potty that he didn’t actually have to go.

    So in we went again and again he shouted “I GOTTTA GO POTTY!!!” This time, he stayed out. I missed my brother-in-law’s wedding ceremony and he got to play with another little boy who was out of the ceremony. Magic accomplished!

  11. Ordinary Dad says:

    I’ve wondered the same thing myself. I hope my kids will see how hard I tried to be a good dad, even as they learn my weaknesses.

    Great post!

  12. Great read. What still impresses my kids most? When I kicked a soccer ball over our house. They still talk about it. It’s the little things …

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