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This is the start of a new TTP series on Mondays entitled The Father-Son Adventure.  It will be intermittent between additional editions of our Keeping Your Sanity series.  It’s frankly to enable me to finish my book with the same title, and I really hope you enjoy it.

We begin today with a short Dedication, Prefatory Note, and a setting-the-stage episode too short to be called a chapter.  Next week will be Chapter I: Four Words That Changed My Life.


Jack Wheeler


To Rebel, my wife, my life partner, my best friend, and mother of our two sons.  I could only have taken our boys, starting when they were so young, on the extraordinary series of adventures we had together with her approval and encouragement.  Rebel so deeply understood the life-long value of what these experiences would mean to them.  It is with the deepest gratitude, appreciation, and love that this book is dedicated to her.


Prefatory Note

I am a father blessed with two sons.  As a man, I can never be a mother like my wife, and we never had a girl, only our two boys.  I would encourage other fathers with either boys or girls, and mothers with sons and/or daughters, to write of the adventures with their children.  This is the story I have had with mine.  It is written in the hope of inspiring all parents to make of their life with their children a thrilling adventure.



Our Magical World
October 1999

When our youngest son Jackson was seven, I took him and his schoolfriend Parke on a hike.  Near our home in McLean, Virginia there was a small stream called Scott Run that spilled down to the Potomac River.  It was a beautiful bright day, the air crisp and clear, the forest exploding in fall colors of yellow, orange, and red.  Scrambling down the trail along the stream, we took a break perched on a large rock.

“Do you guys believe in magic?” I asked them.  They looked at me quizzically.  “What do you mean, Dad?” Jackson asked in return.

“Well, I don’t mean the tricks of a magician in a circus – you guys know he doesn’t really saw the woman in half, right?”

They nodded and laughed.

“We’ve been hiking down this little path, talking and having fun, but now let’s notice something.  Look at the water in the stream above us.  Look at how the sunlight comes through the leaves to sparkle and shimmer bouncing off the water like a thousand twinkling stars.  Listen to the water trickling towards us through the rocks, to the rustle of the leaves in the breeze.  Smell the fresh air and pine trees.

This is a moment of magic.  We can see and hear, smell and feel magic in the world because we can look at the world in a magical way.  Let’s not say anything and just enjoy it.”

The boys were quiet, soaking in the scene before them.  Finally, Jackson softly exclaimed, “wow.”  They looked at me.  “You felt it, didn’t you?”  They both slowly nodded.  “Now you can see magic in the world anytime you want – because…” I touched my fingers to my chest… “real magic is in here, inside of each of us.  You understand, don’t you?”  They nodded again.

This took place over twenty years ago.  Jackson tells me he’s never forgotten it to this day.