Tag Archives: family

I Wish Life Was More Like Family Feud

Seriously, I wish life was more like Family Feud. I know your chuckling to yourself, but hear me out. Here’s my reasons.

1. Family is important

OK, I know the game show is called, Family Feud, but the importance of family is highlighted in the show. From everyone in sport jerseys to wearing the same color, families show their solidarity on the show. And they show support for each other, even with the craziest answers, by saying, “Good answer!” after each response. Many times, each family gets to share an important aspect of their family, like accomplishments or unique situations that defines the family in some way. Imagine what life would be like if families showed this kind of bond everyday.

Also, even though families compete against each other, they shake hands before each toss up question, then both families come out to celebrate the end of the show. Doesn’t matter where the families came from or what their ethnicity is. What would this world be like if we treated each other with that level of respect?

2. The show is fair

There are two aspects to this fairness. The first is when the judges make a mistake with a situation or answer the show brings back the family to play again. The show owns up to the mistake and makes it right.

But the show doesn’t let a family just win… How many times have you seen the Fast Money round end in 199 points?

It takes 200 points to win the 20,000 dollars. No extra help to get over that limit. That’s fair.

3. Laugh… a lot

The show is filled with laughter. Contestants laugh at themselves, laugh with each other and with Steve Harvey. There is some serious money on the line, or two strikes, but there is always room to laugh, to enjoy the moment.

And when a family wins, pure joy!

So, yes, I wish life was more like Family Feud: Importance of Family, Fairness, and Laughter… and 20,000 dollars would be nice.

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The Dash

I was doing some digital cleaning of my files when I came across the rough draft of an old blog post. Due to job changes, most of my original posts are lost or in rough draft form. This post was not in the usual folder I keep for my writing so I was surprised to find it. It was written December, 1, 2010. I have made some small edits, but decided to post it as is. I hope you enjoy, “The Dash”.


Yesterday my wife and I attended the funeral of a family member on my wife’s side.  We also went to the burial site ceremony. As the preacher talked, I could not help but to gaze at the headstone by my feet.  The person was born in 1905 and died in 1988. Eighty-three years of life. Now; two dates and the dash between (Yes, I know the poem “The Dash”).  I walked around after the services to look at other headstones. Some were so weatherworn that I couldn’t read the names, others had rings interconnected with wedding dates, and newer headstones had no death date.  Waiting for the occupant to die so that the death equation could be filled in:  Birth – Dash – Death.

It has been a hard 2010 for me.  I have had friends move away, coaching positions removed from me, a handful of students who simply do not care but thought it was my fault for their educational experience.

I have had some great moments in 2010.  Coaching a junior high girls basketball team that is simply talented.  Receiving awards and opportunities to speak or present at conferences. Taking seven athletes to state track.  Getting the opportunity to build a home. The continuing experience called Fatherhood.

2010 will be remembered on my headstone as a dash.

A dash.  That’s it.

Life will go on without me when I complete my own death equation.  Steve Jobs discusses this in his Stanford Speech: “…almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

Pearl Jam also expresses this idea in a simple line from their song “I am Mine”

I know I was born and I know that I’ll die
The in between is mine

But do we?

Do I?

Have I synthesized this information (reading strategy, I know. I am an English teacher)? Have I spent too much time in a bad mood?  Have I spent too much time waiting for tomorrow to be better? Am I where I am needed and wanted?

Are you?

I have been shown this year, in different ways, that life goes on without me. At the funeral service, the message was centered on the idea that our lives are our sermon to the world.  My life, my sermon, will be a dash on a headstone, but I hope it is felt in the hearts of my family and friends.

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The Balance of Fatherhood

Person standing on wood planks above a city

I am going to state up front that this blog post will challenge you. Plus, it will not provide any answers to help you, but I hope to provide an opportunity to spend time reflecting on the importance of your career and of fatherhood. The balance of both of these responsibilities is at the center of our everyday life. This balance deserves an opportunity to be talked about, to spend time thinking about, to find the correct balance. So, I am going to ask you to watch a TedTalk and listen to a podcast as we look at this balance. Ready? Let’s start with the video. This a great TedTalk, but pay close attention to the ending, at about 8:55 to the end.

First, let me agree at the moment with Larry Smith. He is correct that we can hide behind human relationships. We mask our own fear with the idea that we are at least being good people. He is also correct about that mask being false. How can we have great relationships if we are not being our authentic self? And our jobs, our careers, our passions are one of the ways we express ourselves to the word. So, Larry is correct in challenging us about pursuing our passions… but hold on. I’m not done challenging you.

I want you to listen to the podcast, “Family Snapshot” from the memory palace. The podcast is based off of Charlie Duke’s book MoonWalker. (Which is on my reading list.)

Next time you are outside at night, look up at the moon and think about how cool it is that there is a family portrait on the moon. I will admit, as a dad, that idea is cool! But at what cost?

Now, the focus of the rest of the post will center on the balance of fatherhood and careers. I will state my opinion a little later, but want to work through the idea first. So let’s connect a few dots here.

Larry Smith makes a great argument about why we need to pursue our passions. I agree, but I think he simplified the father-son/daughter relationship to a moment of giving advice. Which I agree with, too. Fathers (and mothers) are the first examples for their children about pursuing goals. We also help them deal with failure and a range of things that deal with careers, but a relationship is more complex than that moment, and a father-child relationship may be the most complex relationship in this life.

So, that brings us to Charlie’s story (at least what is shared on the podcast), an absent father that walked on the moon, who in a unique way, will have his family live forever in a picture on the moon.  Imagine when someone finds that photo, thinks about the people in the picture, standing and smiling, a happy family. Another type of mask. Charlie’s relationship with his family was tested, if not actually present.

Balance

Responsibility

Goals

Career

Family

Fatherhood is a balancing act. Yes, I do believe you can pursue your passion, reach your personal goals. Yes, I believe that nuclear family relationships are the most important relationships we have. What is the balance? How do you find it? I don’t know. If I did, I suppose I would be the famous author I dream about. But I hope that this post got you thinking, reflecting, and moving forward toward your goal, and when you come home your children run up to you with a hug, glad to have you home because it is a beautiful day and they want to play outside.

Let me know your thoughts in the comment section. Share this with anyone who would enjoy it.

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2018 Word of the Year

Happy New Year!

As we have done for four years, each person in my family has decided on a word for the year. My word is:

Ferris Wheel with the caption, Center Word for 2018

This one is unique in the sense that it encompasses many different parts of my life, yet brings everything to a central point (yes, I know what I just did there).

I am not sure what the next year will bring. I have goals I want to achieve. But this year I am concentrating on my center. I think that this work will have a domino effect on the success of my goals. When I think about my word, obviously, a wheel comes to mind, but it is a true metaphor for what I want to accomplish. It seems like all the action is on the outskirts of a wheel. It is there that you see the movement. The turning. The center seems to not move at all, but without a strong center the wheel can not move. Ever see a wheel when the axle is off center? How it wobbles, how hard it is to control.

A strong center is needed for a wheel to move, to spin, to make progress.

I have goals to meet this year, but I am only going to make it by strengthening the center… What is your word for this year?

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Blueberry Muffins: Update

Last night my iPhone alerted me that there was an iOS update. I set my phone to update during the night. This morning as I was preparing to make blueberry muffins my phone alerted me that it did not process the update because the phone was not connected to a power source.

I started to think about that alert message as I got out the mixing bowls, muffin mix and other ingredients for our Sunday breakfast. Could not update because it wasn’t connected to a power source.

As so often happens I started to think about life. Maybe it was the early hour of the morning or that I had not had my coffee yet, but that alert message got me thinking on a deep level.

Could not update because it wasn’t connected to a power source.

Isn’t that true for us?

Let me explain.

First, updating or improving ourselves. Whatever we want to improve; our health, attitude, the way we treat people. It is an act of updating. Updating ourselves to a new level. As coaches and teachers, we ask our students and athletes to do that, to become the best version of themselves.

Second, a power source. This is where my thoughts got deep… Because isn’t this the truth? That we can’t truly update ourselves unless we are connected to a power source. What that power source is, is up to the individual. It can be God, Love (as I have blogged about in my Love series), personal standards, goals, or other sources that provide a WHY for our lives.

Be honest, think of the times you tried to change something in your life… why did you succeed? Why did you fail? I bet the difference was because of your power source, your why. As I thought about my own kids, my past students, and athletes, I succeed at helping them be their best when I could articulate for them why it was important or tapped into their power source. Change takes time, it is difficult.

We can try all we want to do things better, but without a power source we will always get the alert that the update could not be completed.

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Open Letter To My Younger Self

I have become a fan of The Players’ Tribune. A couple of my favorite essays are from Danny Woodhead and Ray Allen. (Not to mention the recent essay from Isaiah Thomas, but his doesn’t fit this blog theme). Danny and Ray write a letter to their younger selves. I wrote a blog similar to this idea, “Staying True To My Younger Self,” but it focused on my writing.

I’ll turn 46 in a few weeks. And this thought about what advice I would give my younger self keeps storming my heart. So, I thought I would get the idea out onto paper…

Dear Younger Me,

It is amazing to think that I am just over the halfway mark of this life. The first half seemed to take so long to happen, all the change and growth and heartache that has occurred in these 46 years is crazy to think about. But, the years seem to be gaining speed, and life is going by way too fast. The oldest son is a junior in high school and the youngest daughter just turned four. I have had five different professional positions. We have a minivan with almost 100,000 miles and still a few months to pay it off!

Be ready, you are going to need to work on a few things. This letter is going to be tough to write, I hope you understand it when you read it.

First, forgive them. Everyone. Do it now because if you don’t, each day adds weight to your heart and it becomes harder to forgive. In fact I still haven’t. I can’t seem to let go of the pain and disappointment and the what ifs. Ironically, part of the problem is the work you will do to create a better life for yourself and your family. I’m not father or husband of the year, but the dinner table is often filled with laughter. There are hugs and bedtime stories. Movie nights with too much candy and simple moments of joy that take my breath away. But I haven’t forgiven certain people. You know who I mean, so forgive them as soon as you can. You can still live your own life without them, but your heart won’t be burden with the weight of anger and pain.

Second, I hope you read this in time, but don’t quit football. Don’t make that mistake. It will be your greatest regret.  Also, write more, push to become the writer you have always dreamed of since elementary school.  I’ve learned that the door of opportunity only stays open for so long before it closes. And when you choose to close that door, it can get locked and you have to let a dream die. Football. Other dreams can still be achieved. Writing. But you have to find an unlocked window to climb through. And sometimes that window is on the forty third floor. You have to struggle more than if you would have truly pursue your goals when the door was open.

Third, tell people thank you and that you love them. Let them in. Not everyone. But the people who are helping you, sometimes believing in you when you are not. You might think you will have time, but you won’t. Mr. Holt will pass away before you can tell him thank you for believing in you. There are others, like the Hudsons, Scott, and Mrs. Lane, who you will take for granted while you grow up. Let them know you are grateful, today. “Thank you,” might be the hardest thing to say in life because it reveals how you were affected by someone else.  For that moment you allowed someone into your life with an open heart and you are letting them know that by saying thank you.

And finally, stay true to who you are. I know you will do this at times, you will make hard choices because deep down you listened to the quiet but strong voice. Other times you will feel lost and hurt and wonder why life is so dark. That happens when you lose your focus, when you let others decide your future. Your path will be clearer if you continue to make choices that align with who you are (and what your goals are).

You are going to make it. At the halfway mark of life you will be amazed at how far you’ve come (and that you have driven two minivans as a dad). It won’t be easy, but I hope you take my advice so that when you arrive here you would have experienced more joy than heartache. But even if you don’t take my advice, you will look ahead to the second half of your life and you will know, even though the years are speeding up, that they will be filled with love.

                                                                                             Sincerely

                                                                                              You at 45

P.S. Remember this song?

 

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Why Love: Joy

Two hearts with confetti

Do you remember the first time you fell in love? Or had your first serious heartbreak?  Both of these moments highlight the second answer to Why Love, and that is Joy.

Without getting too deep, I am going to touch on the magical aspect of love but also reveal the importance of why choosing love allows us to feel joy.

So let’s go back in time to that heart pounding time when that certain someone made you see the world in a whole new light. Falling in love. Do you remember how your priorities changed? How even rainy days were awesome? How you were awestruck by their eyes and totally lost any sense of time when you were with them? Life was so good.

Just for a second, let’s deal with the heartache. How dark and painful it felt. I know the argument that love breaks your heart, but that is wrong. People break your heart, not love.

Quote with roses on rocks

Falling in love and sadly the pain of heartbreak reveal the strength love has in revealing joy in our life. I use romantic love because many of us have been through this roller coaster of emotion. But joy comes from all aspects of life. My children have brought me to tears of joy as I watched them play with bubbles. I have lost the sense of time sitting on my patio with a cup of coffee. I have jammed out to a favorite song on the way to work. Life has been so good.

And yes, life has beaten me down. I have had serious dark days… but that is the crux of this answer. I believe that when we choose Love, it allows us to see the real beauty of this life. By seeing and acknowledging that beauty leads us to feel joy.

No, Love does not remove the hardships of life. Two years ago I wrote about the strength it takes to feel joy. This reveals how connected the choice of Love is in our life. Love brings us success in our life, it builds strength, it brings us joy. It is a cycle that creates an awesome life that can handle the hardships we encounter. But in the next post I am going to reveal the most important reason to choose Love. And I read it in a book…

Below is the song that I quoted earlier in the post.

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