Tag Archives: father

Why Love

Tilte with boy running with balloons

A simple question keeps running through my head lately; ‘Why Love?”

Why anchor my life on Love?

Why not money? Why not success or pride? Why not fame? Why not Hate? These things seem to work… watch TV or YouTube to see how many times these characteristics get likes or shares. The guy tailgating me has a nicer truck than me (and I’m even in the right lane going the speed limit). I still tip even when my family is treated like nobodies at a restaurant.

Really, why not instill a selfish attitude in my children? It would be easier to send an email to the school complaining about something instead of listening to my children, asking them how they can make it better or how to work through it. I can teach them to not care about teammates or friends. The feelings and aspirations of others are not their concern. If they are going to make it in this world they have to go for theirs and pity anyone that gets in their way. There is no such thing as loyalty or dedication…

But I don’t. I do my best to choose Love.

Why Love?

Over the next couple of weeks I am going to try to answer that question through a series of posts exploring how Love works in building an incredible life.

Why Love? Join me to find out why.

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Losing Hurts and that is Good

A last second basketball shot

The photo above is a last second game winning 3-pointer in the championship game… for the other team. My second son is number 15 in the red uniform. He has never lost a game like that before.

Teen performing a speech

The picture above is my oldest son, performing serious prose for Speech. At districts he got third in one round, but got sixth in another. He didn’t qualify for finals.

As a dad it was hard to lessen the pain my sons felt after each of these moments. Even harder to explain the benefit of losing (blog post from 2011). I want them to know that character is built on both sides of the coin, winning and losing. I want them to know that it is important to feel the pain of defeat because it means that their heart was in it.  And honestly, I think that is the most important aspect to success.

Anyone can participate in a sport or activity. Some are even successful without ever putting their heart into it. I mean that they can win on talent alone, but that isn’t the only reason to be involved in an activity. Finding out who you are and expressing yourself through that activity is the greatest achievement.

No matter if we win or lose we have moments that reveal who we really are in our pursuit of our goals. Putting our heart into an activity allows us to become ourselves, to understand who we are. To be great as a person. I know I am their dad, but I am proud of the men my sons are becoming.

My oldest son got his first main role as a third grader. He was Charlie in Willy Wonka Jr.

Boy performing as Charlie

This year he choose to perform Sweeney Todd, one of his favorite plays, during Speech season. Next year he hopes to perform an original piece, plus compete in Poetry. I am proud of his strength to perform pieces that are true to his heart and not sell out in hopes of winning.

My second son started playing basketball in first grade.

boy dribbling ball

He has worked hard, from that first game when he would not move from his spot on the court when he was on defense, to playing with the NBDA Bison Green team. I am proud of his work ethic and focus on achieving his goals.

I am most proud of both of them for feeling the sting of defeat, because it means their hearts are in it, win or lose. And if they keep pursuing their goals with their heart, I know they will succeed, especially in life.

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Greatness

Good morning. Or afternoon. Or evening. I don’t know when you might come across this post, but I wrote it for you.

Let’s cut to the chase, we need you to be great today. No, seriously. We need you to be on your game today. We need you to be a great mother or father, a great friend, a great person, a great writer, a great YOU.  Here’s why.

The world has enough average people. The world has too many below average people. The world has enough hate, disrespect, and coldness. What we need is you to be great.  To be strong. To live your life to the fullest at this moment.

I can hear some of you, life is too hard to be great. Thank you for proving my point. How is being less than your best helping make your life better? It is not. I know that it can be crazy getting the kids ready for the day. But being average, being rattled, being short and snippy at the kids does not make the moment better. Being at your best is not a guarantee that getting the kids ready in the morning will not be work, but it sure makes the moment better.

Life can be hard. I know that.  Which is even more of a reason for you to be great, to live your life to your greatest potential. Your life needs you to rise up to a higher level.

I can hear you, too. I’ve tried being better but it didn’t work. Yoda was right when he said:

Do or not do

The word TRY gives us an excuse not to succeed. To not be our best. It deflects the responsibility of our lives to an abstract idea or worse to another person.  You either live to your potential or you don’t.  Stop trying. We need you to BE GREAT. Your family, your dreams, your life needs your greatness. I know you you know it. Now live it.


Share this with anyone you know who might need a reminder that we need their greatness.

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Living by One Word

wordMany of you know that my family decided on one word to focus on for the year. Stories was mine. Having my first novel published is one of the highlights of living by my word, but is not the most impactful event. Focusing on the idea of Stories has made my dad decisions more enriching. Not easy for sure, but I notice that my relationship with my family has more depth. We have more stories to share.

As a dad many decisions come down to how much hassle is involved. Especially with six kids, we are not so spontaneous as we use to be. By keeping my word in mind as opportunities arise I try to make the decision that will provide the best story for us. To be honest this is not always the easiest. Sometimes the family actually gets separated and my wife and I do run around a bit. But there is an underlining vibe of joy amongst our busyness.

I am not recommending that you have to decide on one word for the year. I am not recommending that you have to do everything your children want. What I am recommending is that if you want a story to tell tomorrow you will have to write it today by the decisions you make.

 

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Blueberry Muffins 2015

The last time I talked about blueberry muffins was 2013. A lot has changed since then. This morning I made the muffins while the rest of the family was still asleep. It has been a rough couple of years, for many different reasons. As I reflected on different aspects of life, fatherhood kept coming to the forefront of my mind.Muffin Mix

The teenage years are hard. I know all about the chemical changes my sons are going through. I know they are facing peer pressure. I know they face issues with people calling them names, or asking them to compromise their values (I do think this generation is meaner and angrier then when I grew up, but that is for another post).

Then throw in social media, girls, and just discovering their own path in this world to create a confusing time for them and for me and my wife. I don’t know when they will be silently moody or sit and talk to me for half an hour about their frustrations (as highlighted by my second son who didn’t speak a word to me when he first got up this morning).

But it is Sunday morning and I am making blueberry muffins.

Like many parents, we have dealt with dishonesty, the heavy sighs when we ask them to clean their room, the issues all parents have dealt with. But as I mixed in the blueberries in the batter, I thought about how I cannot actually control my children. I cannot make them think, or feel, or believe anything. As teenagers they are in the hard process of deciding who they are. What they stand for. What future they will create. This is knowledge that is hard for me to deal with. Some lessons do not need to be learned the hard way.

As I put the muffins in the oven I understood one thing. What I could do is make blueberry muffins every Sunday morning. As a family we will sit around the table and talk, or at least nod our heads in agreement if we didn’t feel like talking. What I can control is the example I set for my family. The lessons they learn about life come from our home; this is their foundation. I know there will be rough spots to come. I know my heart will ache with the decisions they make, but my wife and I will be here to love them and to show them the right way.

Got to go, the timer just went off. The blueberry muffins are done. Time to gather the family.

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Why do we have walls?

While I was washing dishes, my third daughter, now five years old, peppered me with questions.

“Why do we have toothbrushes?” she asked.

“To help keep our teeth clean,” I said.

“Why do we have a nose?” she asked.

“To smell things,” I said.

“Why do we have chairs?” she asked.

“So we can sit down,” I said.

Junk Drawer

She even went to one of our junk drawers and drilled me on why we needed everything in the drawer. I was having fun coming up with answers while she kept asking why we needed things, even asking why we needed walls. That took me a second or two to come up with an answer, “So, that we have rooms.” She seemed content with my answers. But she hit me with a question that made me pause.

She was on a roll asking about the body. Why we needed elbows, knees, and why we had a tummy.

 

Then she asked, “Why do we live?”

I couldn’t think of a quick fun answer. I did think of a deep philosophical answer, but knew it wasn’t right for the moment. How could I provide an answer that she would appreciate?

Without a clear answer in my head I said, “We are alive because it is a gift, an opportunity for us to see what we can do with our lives.”

“To go to the zoo?” she asked.

“Yes,” I chuckled, “but to do other things, too.”

“Like make brownies,” she asked, “or to be a dad?”

I turned from the sink to look at her as she sat at the island playing with her My Little Ponies. He finger still in a splint. And a smile that made her eyes shine.

“Yes, like being a dad,” I said.

What is your answer to the question, “Why do we live?”

 

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Mixed Cereal

“Can I have mixed cereal?” My daughter asks.IMG_3775

“Yep, what kind?” I reply.

“Reese’s Puffs…”

“And…” I try to drag out the second cereal for the mix.

“Reese’s Puffs and…”

“How about Apple Jacks?”

“Yeah, Apple jacks.” She jumps up from the couch and heads to the kitchen.

This conversation is from a few days ago with my four year-old.  Lately, my three older girls have started to eat mixed cereal.  Simply put, mixing different kinds of cereals in the morning or at snack time.

My oldest daughter first asked for this about a month ago one morning as I was getting her cereal ready.  When she asked, my first response was going to be, “No.”  But before I said it, I wondered to myself why I was going to say no.

Time? It would take all of 20 seconds to open another box and pour it into the bowl.  But life falls into routines, and a change in that routine makes us think about how it will affect our time.  Every morning I say something like, “We got to go.” Trying to get the kids to hurry so that we stay “on time.”  But time wasn’t a good enough reason.

It is odd. Who ever heard of mixing cereal… (let alone pop). I really caught myself on this idea.  Was I really going to tell her no because it was different?  But I started to wonder how many times did I do that.  How many times do our kids get a knee jerk “NO” from us simply because it is different?   I take certain sense of pride for thinking outside the box, but this moment challenged me.  Showed me how fast we can react to an idea that is outside the (cereal) box and shut it down before we even consider it.  How many ways to can we actually crush creativity?

Since I couldn’t think of a reason for her not to have mix cereal for breakfast, we started a trend in our home.  It is a simple act, but a tasteful one.

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