Omar Pedrosa said he frequently likes to play sports with his sons, Javier, 13, and Zeke, 11. The sergeant first class who is assigned to the 1st Theater Support Command, said he also sometimes favors a simple outing such as going for long drives with them.

In an effort to sharpen parenting skills and to help reintegrate with his Family following deployment to Iraq, Pedrosa took part in the Father-Son Weekend, April 28, at Watters Center.

“In this environment — we’re in the military and we deploy. It’s important to spend as much time as possible with our children because they are the future,” Pedrosa said.

It is the job of fathers to provide the shoulders on which their children may stand and to prevent them from repeating their fathers mistakes, said John La Noue, also author of “Walking with God in Broken Places . . . and Lessons I’ve learned Along the Way!,” a book about experienced gained while providing religious support worldwide. The father should be the nurturer and leader of the Family.

Being the leader begins with the all-important task of reading the Bible to one’s children, La Noue explained.

“Read daily in your home. If you don’t do that, you need to start,” he said.

La Noue, a father of two, shared with Soldiers a letter of thanks his son once wrote him for being loving and encouraging, even when it was undeserved.

Children need a daddy’s love to free them to be anything they want to be in life, said La Noue, who surprised his father, he said, by becoming a Baptist preacher.

Just like Jacob blessed his sons (see Genesis 49:28), fathers should speak a blessing over the lives of their children, La Noue said. That blessing should include an encouraging word, asking for forgiveness if the father has not been consistent with the child, a clear statement of unconditional love, a vision that speaks to the child’s potential and a prayer for the child.

Richard and Stephan Cope, father and son respectively, attended the event. For Richard, it was important to do so, he said.

“I haven’t spent enough time with my son lately and it was a good opportunity for me to do that — just to get one-on-one time with him,” said Richard, who is assigned to Company A, and is a 13-year veteran, originally from Huntsville, Ala.

He said he received good feedback from Stephan following the event.

“He was really excited about them (the pros) working with him on catching pop-up flies and working on his hitting,” Richard said.

Stephan agreed.

“I like that you learn how to play baseball; how to use a bat, and my favorite team is the Marlins,” said the seven-year-old. “It’s kind of cool.”

One father (name withheld) who attended said he did so because he was eager to gain information about parenting, but also eager for his son to take advantage of baseball tips from the pros.

“We don’t do enough, just him and I, and this is his first year of t-ball, so I thought it would give him a chance to up his game,” the father said.

He added, “The relationship you build with them (children) will be everlasting.”