Father’s Day

Build a Model...Build a Bond

I was tasked to write something about Father’s day and the joy of modeling, sharing this wonderful experience with your kids and grandkids. An easy task they said – but that is only partially true. Especially for me since I never mastered the skill of siring a male heir to the Verswyvel throne.

Although I have no son to share the fruits of my modeling existence with, I did have front row seats to all the drama two daughters could muster until adulthood and beyond!

However, when I dig deep into the far corners of my memory, there are moments I can fondly look back to or reminisce about. Those moments were with my father.

It all started more than 50 years ago when I was about seven or eight. My mother had bought me a bagged plastic model airplane on one of her trips to the store.

When she gave it to me, I honestly did not know what to do with it. Neither did she, but on the header card was the colorful picture of an airplane and the attached bag, contained bits and pieces that looked like something that could occupy me for a few hours. And that was all she bargained for.  She could have bought me a cigar box full of yarn; it would have had the same effect.

Better wait until dad pedaled home from work on his bicycle. He would know. My dad knew everything!

Well, I was wrong. My father looked at the kit the same way I did and you could see by that look, we were related. Nonetheless, he was going to find out. So we placed ourselves at the kitchen table and opened the instructions. These things didn’t help much because neither of us spoke nor read English!

After a while he figured out that you needed a knife and glue to be successful. Now I got intrigued! I had to wait until the next day for mom to get me that stuff. The following evening I was already outside the house on the lookout for my father to come home and help me with putting this “thing” together.

My very first kit that me and dad bonded over

My very first kit…a great bonding experience with my dad!

That was the first time I remember really bonding with my dad. My father was the greatest man. Very gentle and patient but building a model was not his cup of tea at first. For hours we sat at the kitchen table gluing and painting this small airplane, him doing most of the work. From that moment on we built a dozen more until he let me fly solo and I am where I am now.

Knowing him, I’m not sure how much he really liked building models–but it was not until many years later and after he was long gone, that I realized he did it for me. He quickly understood the importance of spending quality time together where he could teach his kid to be constructive and finish a project; where he could share the sense of accomplishment and at the same time learn share valuable learning.

That’s the message I want to bring forward to today’s generations. This hobby deserves more credit than it usually gets. It is the perfect tool to sit down with your children and teach them that there is a lot more out there than computer games or TV. It shares history, expands knowledge, craftsmanship, patience but most of all – the connection with each other where father and child can communicate on the same level while at the same time having accomplished a conversation piece that is visual reminder of that bond.

You're building more than a model...you're building a bond.

You’re building more than a model…you’re building a bond.

The lack of these types of experiences is what is wrong with the world today. We are all too occupied with our own song and dance and becoming less and less patient when it is easier to just let the kids do what they want to do so it doesn’t interfere too much with our own agendas.

So this is a call to arms to all fathers, grand fathers and Uncle Gus out there. Take a moment out of your busy schedule and use it as quality time with the kids. Show them that building models can be more than just fun. Demonstrate that by actually constructing something, there is a significant sense of achievement that will make them better people now….and in the future.

I still thank my father for it every day.

Cheers!

JV

Question: How have you bonded over this hobby? Be it with our father or grandfather or others. Please share your experiences in the comments. 

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Jack Lynch

    JV – You really hit the nail right on the head! I have been building models since I was 5 years old because it was something that I did with my father. He always made time to come downstairs after dinner and spend the time helping me with a model or working on a train layout or any other number of hobby related activities. Little did I know how much these memories would eventually mean to me when he was gone. I always encourage friends to spend time with a youngster doing something constructive and nurturing that “bond” that can’t happen any other way. Thanks for reminding everyone how important it is to spend one on one time with our youth!

  • John Lyons

    My experience was a bit different but same outcome! We were a family of 9, 6 boys and 3 girls. Papa was pretty busy, but he did build an occasional model. He was an avid history reader. As I got around 6 years old I was a devil! I would find his plane or tank or my brothers car and play with them.100% of the time they ended up pretty destroyed. So Papa finally decided it would be better if I destroyed my own creations and a lifelong hobby was born. I do not remember my first kit. There have been too many.