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Foxy Stories

Foxy Stories

An old high school friend of mine was writing a book called “Dad-Verbs” and asked for things others did with their children that made them a better father. The following was part of my reply.

Even as a kid I suppose I was an entertainer. So, for me this kinda just came naturally (and maybe that is the real key to being a good dad – just be yourself!). When my second son was born, we were given a stuffed animal, a fox, for him. I suppose, at first, Foxy just sat with Micah in his crib, but pretty early on I began to "talk him." Sort of like a puppet, I suppose. Foxy had a slight lisp and a "larger than life" sort of personality. He was always going on adventures and getting in trouble for doing things he shouldn't. He had an attitude. When our children were young, they always begged for Foxy stories. So, off the top of my head, I would tell an elaborate tale that often included input from other stuffed animals or make-believe villains like the evil, but stupid, Farmer Fred. Each story was new and fresh. The telling was often at night and included actual events from my children’s day. Occasionally, there was a moral to the story, but most of the time it was strictly for entertainment. 

Foxy was always there to cheer them up when they got hurt or sick. He was what made our many long furlough car trips bearable. He was also someone they could take their frustrations out on with a good punch or a throw across the room. I would guess that up until our youngest turned 10, our children had heard more words come from their father’s mouth in Foxy's voice than in the voice of their dad.

My only regret was that I never recorded or wrote any of these stories down. I remember sometimes while wrapping up a 45-minute story, I would get chills because of ways God allowed the story to all come together in the end. A few years ago, I heard someone ask my daughter Lydia, who is studying journalism, about “Foxy Stories.” The biggest smile came across her face as she said, “They would often tie in almost-forgotten events from stories Foxy had told the previous week or even months before. They wove in real-life events with an incredible make-believe world. They were just incredible.” 

I suppose Foxy may have been at times therapeutic for my children, but he was probably more often therapeutic for me. Even now, at times when this old, empty-nester dad is all alone and thinking of his son, who literally lives on the other side of the planet, I just say a few sentences in that lispy, attitude-driven, Foxy voice and let the tears flow.