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Dedicated father takes family to Costa Rica

The Bickel Family: Ken, Colin and Jennifer. (courtesy of Ken Bickel)

Dedicated father takes family to Costa Rica

While many fathers will spend Father’s Day opening presents at home, maybe going to breakfast or enjoying a barbecue, Ken Bickel will be in Costa Rica with his family. Ken said they will probably be relaxing on a beach, but he hopes they will also zipline through the jungle, explore a lazy river and maybe visit a volcano.

Ken’s family consists of son Colin, a 12-year-old Marshall Middle School student, and wife Jennifer. They were scheduled to leave for their adventurous summer vacation yesterday, June 17. Their weeklong journey was not intended to coincide with Father’s Day, but they had heard good stories about Costa Rica from friends and decided to see it for themselves.

Watching Ken and Colin together is a picture of happiness. It’s hard to imagine a father more involved with his son or more excited about being a father.

Ken described finding out he was going to be a dad for the first time.

“It was very exciting and I felt like I passed a huge milestone event in life,” he said. “Also, having a son, I felt like, okay, there’s one more person, one more generation to carry the last name along … One child to help carry the Bickel name for another generation.”

He said that having good parents himself helped him look forward to parenting.

“I think it was always in me. I enjoyed my parents and always looked up to them and respected them and always felt it was something I wanted to do, to have kids,” he said.

Ken and Colin Bickel (courtesy of Ken Bickel)

Ken said his son was a Cub Scout for four years, and attending Scouting events with his son provided many enjoyable occasions. They went on trips in the outdoors and got to spend a lot of time together. 

But the biggest moment for Ken, out of all their father-son moments, was the day Colin learned to ride his bike.

“That first day when they can ride a bike without training wheels, you know, you’re running along with them down the street, you let go … That was kind of a great experience,” he said.

As a father, Ken has taught his son many lessons, but the biggest concept he has emphasized is developing a positive attitude.

“I keep trying to teach him to always look at the positive side of things, the glass is half full kind of attitude,” Ken explained. “If something went wrong, just try to find the positive side of it all. I think you’ll enjoy life more if you pull out the positive side of it. I think you’ll be happier.”

Ken definitely appears to be a man who practices what he preaches.

“That’s how I definitely try to be … It’s worked for me so I try to pass it along,” he said.

As positive as any person can be, there are still those difficult moments that are tough for any parent. Ken described the type of moments he finds most difficult as a father.

“Watching the child get frustrated. There have been times when there’s nothing I can do to really help, other than just trying to console him or explain what happened,” he said, adding that, as a parent, those moments bring about a feeling of helplessness.

Those moments, however, are greatly overshadowed by the best times, and looking ahead to a child’s future experiences and accomplishments.

“As a father, enjoying some of the past, memorable moments and just looking toward the future and spending time with him as he experiences high school and college and watching him get his first job. I think that will be kind of really exciting,” Ken said. “Just looking toward the future, there are a lot of possibilities. It will be just great to see him grow up and be successful.”

If you have a news tip or idea for a story, contact John Gregory: john@scrippsranchnews.com

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