Herein begins a fatherly tale of intrigue, steely determination, and masterful skills. Only dads with strong character, ruthless nature and cunning creative talents can survive. This is about a cruel test of endurance to win the ultimate prize: the crown.
No, I am not talking about that Netflix show, although The Queen does feature in this parenting story.
What's it all about then?
Like all good dad tales, this features an innocent child, a sharp pair of scissors and a glue gun.
A sparkling, fake jewel also plays an important role in determining the outcome of this story. Don't get me wrong. This wasn’t a complicated heist, an assassination attempt on a monarch, or even an episode of Casualty.
A School Competition
What I’m actually talking about is a competition at my son’s school a few years ago. A competition in which only a select few would emerge victorious. It was a bit like The Hunger Games, only more violent and extreme.
The premise was simple enough. Each child was to come to school wearing a crown, to take part in celebrations to mark The Queen’s 90th birthday.
It wasn’t only a fun day to walk around wearing a crown though, oh no... These school things are never that simple, are they?
You see, the school was going to award prizes for the best crowns in each class.
The words prizes for the best crowns, leapt out at me from the school newsletter, you know, like double bacon cheeseburger and fries on a menu. My creative juices started to flow. Bring it on, I thought, I can do this. I’m the best dad in the world! There is nothing I cannot do!
I became a man on a mission, a dad with a destiny, or a father on… no, I can’t think of any suitable F words either. A father on fire? A stay-at-home-dad on steroids? Either way, I had the determination to win the crown for my son, like in Game of Thrones.
It took determination. It took grit. It took nerves of steel. It took me a good half an hour to rummage through our recycling box to find the materials I needed for a crown.
The ingredients: yoghurt pots, a box, foil, ribbon, staples, scissors, a glue gun, felt, and one fake jewel.
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In the wrong hands, what would these ingredients produce? Most likely a big mess of spilt glue, a broken stapler, and piles of cuttings all over the living room carpet.
But in the right hands (i.e. mine) I tried to produce a magnificent crown. One that any king or queen would be proud to wear, either during their coronation or simply to open a new Sainsbury’s.
Shooting The Glue Gun
My son enjoyed helping to make the crown. He held the yoghurt pots in place while I glued them on, and picked out the fake jewel. We made a mess, and I almost glued my fingers together with the glue gun, but in the end, it all worked out very well, thank you.
My son liked it because there was something robotic or futuristic about the way it looked. It was most definitely an impressive crown, even if I do say so myself.
The Queen's Birthday Parade
Well, the big day arrived, and all the children went to school wearing crowns upon their heads. My son’s crown added a great deal of height to his small stature.
At the end of the school day, all the children paraded around the playground, in full view of their parents. It was time to announce the winning crowns, starting with the youngest class.
What a thrill when the head teacher announced my son’s name! He stepped forward to collect his prize; a jar of sweets. Now, he was very happy with his jar of sweets, whereas I was very happy that he’d won.
Although my son was the official winner in his class, we all know that the true victory was mine, and mine alone. The glue gun had been my weapon of choice, and I had triumphed. I must admit, I enjoyed revelling in all the glory.
So what’s the moral of this story?
This Dad Can… get crafty with the recycling and make an award-winning crown. Oh, and don’t mess with my glue gun. Ever.
Never underestimate your creative powers. I now have a box of recycling materials in our living room at all times. My two sons love rummaging around in that box. They make all kinds of fantastic creations, with toilet rolls, plastic bottles, bubble wrap, and empty boxes. It is wonderful to watch them let their imaginations run wild.
So next time you are stuck with nothing to do, grab the recycling and see what you can make. I can't promise you will win a competition, but you'll have lots of fun with your kids.
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Matthew is a member of the This Dad Can community. He is mostly a stay-at-home-dad to his two sons, but he also finds time to work part-time in a library and volunteers in the local community. He writes a blog about his life and is working on his first novel.
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