As I watch my young grandsons growing up (ages 6, 3, and 1), I’ve found myself observing my son and the way he is with them.  

I’m kind of subconsciously reliving my days as a dad when I was his age.  My goodness, where did the time go? 

As a parent to my son and daughter in their growing up years, I tried to glean the best parental qualities of my own mom and dad and incorporate them as my own. I feel my son is doing that as well.  

It’s gratifying to see the way he coaches his oldest son Chaz’s basketball team much the same way I did with his teams. Being an encourager, not a screamer; an edifier instead of a criticizer. Teaching the kids to just have fun and play the game for the game’s sake and how to be a good sport and unselfish teammate. 

As I recently told my son, for the next few years, your boys will look up to you not only as a father figure, but as a hero.

I can remember the time my own dad became my hero. I was 6 years old and the family had gone to Possum Kingdom Lake for a summer outing. I had gone fishing and had put my baited hook between the cracks of the floor of the boat dock. 

Sure enough I caught a big bass. Now how in the world was I supposed to reel in that whopper through the dock flooring? 

Daddy to the rescue! He quickly surveyed the situation. Tossing modesty aside, he stripped down to his boxer shorts (in front of everyone – drastic situations call for drastic measures), jumped into the water, swam under the dock, cut and secured the line in his hand and emerged with fish in tow. Biggest fish I ever caught. 

A six-pound bass for a six year old and worthy of a picture in the Odessa American newspaper. 

Now I was mighty proud of that bass for sure, but I was even more proud of my dad, my hero. 

I recently told my own son that he will be revered by his sons as their “hero” for a season. That is very special, and the way it’s meant to be, and that these times are fleeting because most likely in the coming few years of adolescence and beyond, that will change. 

There will be big challenges ahead, but through the parental foundation that he and his wife are laying now, perseverance, prayer, family support and counsel he will get through those turbulent times. 

Then, Lord willing, that child he once held in his arms as a newborn baby, will within a decade or two become his friend, admirer and confidant. That’s also the way it’s meant to be. 

I heard a song called “My Dad” on oldies Radio by a guy named Paul Petersen. He actually sang that song for his “dad” on the old Donna Reed TV show.  As I heard it, I couldn’t help but tear up a bit thinking about my own dad, and my son too. 

At lunch in Fort Worth recently, as we stood up to leave the table, my son said to me, “I don’t think we’ve ever been closer.”

What gratifying words to hear. I’ve done my job.

Charlie Norman has lived in Somervell County since 1994. He and his wife have two adult children, who graduated from Glen Rose schools. You can contact him at