Politics, Camping, and McDonald’s: Happy Birthday to Todd

Politics, Camping, and McDonald’s: Happy Birthday to Todd April 25, 2013

Todd, my oldest child, turns 13 today.

Todd is my thinker. When I am trying to get him to make a decision, his thinking can drive me crazy.

Todd is also an observer. He wants to know what is going on around him. In the mornings, when I drove him to school, Todd and I would listen to NPR’s Morning Edition together. He would just suck up the information.

During the 2012 GOP Presidential Primary it drove him crazy that they were constantly focusing on the Republicans. At the same time, he also honed his critique of those same figures.

Once in the summer of 2011, Todd and I were sitting on the back pew at church. We came in behind the rest of the family and some visiting family members and there was not enough room for us to sit with the rest of the family.

One of the speakers that day is a very vocal conservative. I expected some anti-Obama allusions, but instead she went off on a Skousenite rant about the founding of America and the evils of today.

Todd loved it as I gave him a play by play critique of the rubbish coming from the pulpit. I very much enjoyed sharing it with him.

However, at some point…I couldn’t take it anymore…and I got up and walked out. Right on my heels was my boy. He LOVED it. This was the most fun he had ever had in sacrament meeting. When he later had the same lady for as his Sunday School teacher, he loved reporting back how socialism has worked into the lesson of the day

Todd is a brilliant boy. He is a great student. He runs cross-country. He loves learning Latin. He has good friends and he is a good friend. He is using his gifts and talents in ways that make me proud.

On his first Boy Scout camp out as an 11 year old, I accompanied him because 11 year-old Scouts were required to come with a parent. It was the yearly winter camp out on Casper Mountain. There was a lot of snow and the temperature was at zero and going down. Todd never complained. I was shocked. It was miserable. As older boys went home rather than stay the night, Todd never once asked to go.

The next morning, the small group of boys contemplated whether to participate in the day’s activity of a sled race. A number of the older boys pointed out that they did not have enough Scouts to compete with the other units. Might as well go home.

“We didn’t come here to just quit and go home,” chimed in Todd, the youngest boy there. He also knew that another 11 year old was coming up who couldn’t stay the night before because of his family situation. Todd was worried that the other boy would be disappointed if he came up the mountain only to be told that they were going back down.

They finished the sled race that day. I was not only proud of Todd, I was amazed. He had shown leadership skills at a time when nobody was expecting him to be the leader. But he stepped up. He shined.

Todd and I share a love of debate. We also share another love. A love of McDonald’s. With that comes a shared love of Jim Gaffigan’s interpretation of McDonald’s. In honor of Todd, I share with you today Jim Gaffigan on McDonald’s:

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