I Try

When they’re young, how do our children see us? When I look at my kids, I am in awe of the love that I feel emanating back from them. When you think about it, we are their world. They look at us for guidance and leadership. They trust that we will never let them down or hurt them in anyway. When I see the love in their eyes, I’m in awe. It’s a feeling that you can actually sense radiating from them. The term “unconditional love” doesn’t even begin to describe it. I have no idea what to call the way that they must see us, but that’s ok. I think a label would only cheapen it anyway.

Every day, I’m amazed by their love. When they wake up in the morning, the first thing they want to do is crawl into our laps and cuddle. When we leave to run some errands, they always want to go with. Even when we have to punish them, they don’t hold a grudge. Within 30 minutes, they are back. They want to play Candy Land with us not because they like the game, but because they want to play with us. They want us to be down on the floor and in their world. As much as we may want them to play by themselves for an hour, all they want is to be next to us.

Think about that for a minute. Think about the love that small person has for you. They don’t love you because of how you look or what you drive. They don’t care about what kind of car you drive or if your hair is grey. They simply love you because you are thier parent. That’s it!

Think about the trust. They don’t care how many mistakes you’ve made. They don’t know how many times you’ve failed over the years. They know, without a doubt, that you will do the right thing. They believe, to their core, that you will take care of them.

Wow… How do you live up to that? How do you even come close to being the person that they think you are? How do you become infallible? How do you pick that child up, look him or her in the eye, and say, “Yes, I am your daddy.” How…

If you’ve read this far thinking that I have the answer, I’m sorry to disappoint you. I’m just like everybody else. I’ve failed many times. I have made plenty of mistakes. I haven’t always been a good person. I’m as lost as you are. I can only tell you what I do.

I try

I try to be the person that they think I am. I try to be a good enough father to deserve that love that they show. I try to earn that trust that they give me. What else can I do? There’s no magical elixer that will make me a good father. It’s hard work, and it’s often painful.

I still make mistakes all the time. There’s no way that I am the person that they think I am, but I’m trying. I doubt that I will ever become that great, but hopefully, I’m a little bit closer today than I was yesterday. Maybe, I’ll be even closer tomorrow, or maybe there will be a set back. Either way, I have to keep trying.

After all, what else can a guy do….

Love Thy Neighbor

I want my children to grow with love. To grow with kindness. To be genuine. To be full of heart. I see it in their eyes. It glows through their skin and radiates through their smiles. It shines in their laughter, and their shenanigans and goings on.

I had an experience tonight that quite frankly scared the shit out of me. I’m not going to go into detail on it, but it was all too similar to a year I had in high school. That year, through loss, I learned how to truly value your friends. Tonight, through grace, there was no loss. But the memory of the fall of 1999 is still too close to the front of my mind. It still hurts. But tonight, I cry mixed tears. Tears of joy and relief. And tears of sorrow and regret. And I thank God that I am able to sit here and write this through blurry eyes.

And I do some serious thinking.

What are we doing to teach our children about the value of another person? What are we doing ourselves to seek out the value in other people?

What am I doing not being the example of one who does these things?

I want my children to grow with love. To grow with kindness. To be genuine. To be full of heart. I see it in their eyes. It glows through their skin and radiates through their smiles. It shines in their laughter, and their shenanigans and goings on. That is what I want them to live in. I don’t ever want to see that light and that love fade.  Yet, I know where life can bring us to at times, and how that light can burn too strong, for too long, and eventual begin to fade.

The power in life is knowing how to truly cherish that kindness, heart, that laughter, and those shenanigans. How to carry that light to the darkest of places, knowing it will always light the way. I really don’t think it can be that simple. It’s not just a capability we develop as we grow older It is a test of our strength and our weakness. Of our souls, our hearts, and our minds. It is an epic battle of sorts that we must fight from time to time. It’s a battle we fight for our fellow man, woman, child.

I think I lost the last skirmish.

But tonight is that turning point. Tonight is when I sharpen the swords, rally the troops, and prepare for the surprise attack at dawn. How far will I let the darkness blind me in my walk? Or, will I choose to kindle the flame that burns so brightly in my children’s faces? I can see it in them. I know it’s there. And I know that it is my duty to protect it at all costs, and to no end. That duty calls for me to show that same light in myself.  A journey I think I am ready to take on once again. I am willing to fight for my fellow man, woman, and child.

The world is in pain. The world is in vain. The world is losing that light from the inside out. As we grow older, it is a fight that our children will inherit from us. An environment that we will create. The question now remains: How are we prepping them for battle? Are we just playing defense? Or are we going to start the revolution?

Keeping the Holidays Spirited

The world does not have enough compassion, enough love, enough hope. Remember the hopes and dreams you had as a kid? Somewhere, we have lost sight of the joy and the peace these hops and dreams bring. But it was never just us. This holiday season, teach your kids that it is never just us. There is a whole world of people with hopes and dreams.

The holidays are always such a magical time for children. There’s the lights, the sounds, the enthusiasm. Kids all over the world are celebrating many different holidays around this time of year. In our house, we are getting ready for Christmas this weekend. The presents are wrapped, the tree is lit up, and the kids absolutely cannot stand the fact they still have a few days left before they can open presents.

I remember when I was a kid and the excitement that the holidays brought. I would sneak out of my room early in the morning to take a peek at what Santa had left me. Then, of course, there was the night I did just that to find my parents sleeping on the living room floor, waiting for my early morning arrival. There were also Christmas parties, caroling, church activities, and riding around to see the lights all over town and at the zoo. It was true magic at the time.

Growing up, I never would have known if we were rich or poor. To this day, I really can’t answer that question. But then again, it never mattered in the first place. My parents made sure that we knew that the holidays were not about the gifts we wanted or the gifts we got. In fact, it wasn’t about the gifts at all. We were always reminded of why we had these holidays, their meanings to us, and what the true spirit was all about. Gifts are nice, anytime of year, but there is a bigger focus to be looked upon during these holidays.

In an age of instant gratification and material excess, it becomes ever more important that we teach our children about the true spirit of the holiday season. Religion doesn’t matter, tradition doesn’t matter, and the gifts don’t matter. This is a time to be reminded to think about our fellow humans. It is a time to remember that we all have wishes, we all have dreams, and we all have that hope that life still holds magic, and is still ours to grab by the horns.

This holiday season, it is my hope that we will draw just as much attention to these facts as we do making sure they get what they want. It is my hope that our children will exit this holiday season with a sense of others. The world does not have enough compassion, enough love, enough hope. Remember the hopes and dreams you had as a kid? Somewhere, we have lost sight of the joy and the peace these hops and dreams bring. But it was never just us. This holiday season, teach your kids that it is never just us. There is a whole world of people with hopes and dreams. There is a whole world that desperately needs compassion, love, and less self. Let’s fill this world with these things starting by filling ourselves with a senseless heart, and passing on the sense of others to our children.

Their Lives Will Not Be Like A Movie Romance

Emulating health relationships is important for our children, as most kids today get something of a warped sense of how relationships work as they watch movies, reality TV and the like. Even through billboards, magazine ad and articles and other such material, our children today are being immersed by a plethora of images that somewhat skews their sense of what does and what does not constitute healthy relationships.

Emulating health relationships is important for our children, as most kids today get something of a warped sense of how relationships work as they watch movies, reality TV and the like. Even through billboards, magazine ad and articles and other such material, our children today are being immersed by a plethora of images that somewhat skews their sense of what does and what does not constitute healthy relationships.

 

As this image portrays, one would believe that Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara were the perfect couple (that is until you watch more parts of the movie – beyond this scene that is). Thus, though this may look very real in a young it is in fact much more complex than one might see on the big screen.

 

This imagery starts when they are young with movies that are geared for kids such as from Disney such as: Cinderella, Snow White, Beauty & The Beast, The Little Mermaid (all favorites in the Divadom). While I am not saying these movies are bad examples for kids, I am saying that our children are exposed at an early age to the idea that in relationships everything works out in the end and there is little strife or work that has to occur in regards to relationships. While children may not understand the complexities of relationships they will understand the concept of They Lived Happily Ever After” and as parents it is difficult to help them understand that this does happen, but not always. It becomes our job as they get older to understand the reality of life that surround them in regards to relationships and help them to see what a healthy relationship truly is.

 

Hopefully they are seeing this on a daily basis within your own home between parents or between other family members. In some homes though I know that there may not always be healthy relationships occurring. These are the children that I end up worrying about.

 

On the following site I found a breakdown at what constitutes healthy versus unhealthy relationships. They stated that:

Healthy Relationship

The signs of a healthy relationship include:

  • Loving and taking care of yourself
  • Respecting your partner’s right to be himself or herself
  • Having a life outside the relationship, with your own friends and your own activities
  • Making decisions together, each partner compromising when necessary
  • Resolving conflicts through open and honest communication
  • Having more good times in the relationship than bad

Unhealthy Relationship

The signs of an unhealthy relationship include:

  • Focusing all your energy on loving and caring for your partner
  • Trying to change your partner to be what you want them to be
  • Dropping friends and family or activities you enjoy
  • One partner makes all the decisions
  • One partner yells, hits, or throws things at the other during arguments
  • Having more bad times in the relationship than good

 

In thinking about and researching this, I found the following links that I wanted to share with all of you:

 

So today think about the relationships that you have within your life that interact with your children. As you are thinking about these answer the following questions:

  1. Are these relationships healthy for my children? Why or why not?
  2. How can I make my relationships healthier for my children?
  3. How can I help my children understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships?

How would you answer these questions for yourself?

 


Cat’s in The City

Readers, I sense an uneasiness in the air. A feeling that many of you may be concerned for the state of Dad Blogging. After all 2010, proclaimed far and wide as The Year of the Dad Blogger, is quickly drawing to a close. In fact, at the time this post is published, there will only be one short day remaining before all Dad Bloggers from Seattle to Shanghai unceremoniously turn back into pumpkins only to be dropped from 3rd story windows onto sidewalks below.

Readers, I sense an uneasiness in the air. A feeling that many of you may be concerned for the state of Dad Blogging.  After all 2010, proclaimed far and wide as The Year of the Dad Blogger, is quickly drawing to a close.  In fact, at the time this post is published, there will only be one short day remaining before all Dad Bloggers from Seattle to Shanghai unceremoniously turn back into pumpkins only to be dropped from 3rd story windows onto sidewalks below.  Right?  I mean you might have noticed that the posting has been a bit, um, scant around here recently. 

Not to worry. We here at Dad Revolution like many of you I suspect, have been a bit caught up in the rush and hum of the holiday season.  We will still be here once the clock strikes midnight Saturday morning and Old Lang Syne courses steadily across the country like The Wave swallowing up fans at a local sports stadium.

And, even though I am officially off work this week, I am not imune to the time constraints that this time of year ushers in.  With that in mind, rather than a new post today I am going to repost one of my favorites from the past year over at my personal blog ‘Luke, I am Your Father’.  It is from July, titled Catch 42, and is about father and son bonding.  It will also be included in a best of the year post I plan to publish there in the next couple of days. 

So, forgive my laziness.  But if you enjoy it, leave me a comment with a link to one of your favorite posts from the past year. I would love to read them.

My son turned three just the other day
He said, “Thanks for the ball, Dad, come on let’s play
Can you teach me to throw?”, I said
“I got a lot to do”, “but…that’s okay”

 And perhaps he thought, “I’m gonna be like him, yeah
You know I’m gonna be like him”

My apologies to Harry Chapin, but just the other day – Lukas’ 3rd birthday – we were recovering in our living room from the Pirate party we had had earlier that afternoon. My parents were also here and we were all pretty exhausted. In fact my dad was starting to doze off on the couch.

Lukas, on the other hand, was up from his nap and looking for fun. After playing with a few of the toys he had received earlier in the day he got up and ran off to the foyer. When he returned he was holding a baseball and two gloves, one just his size.
“Baseball!” he exclaimed, holding the mitts over his head.

“Do you want to play catch Buddy?”

“Yeah”

“Okay, in one minute. Stay here”

And with that, I walked to the foyer myself and returned with another adult sized glove. I tossed it to my old man, who had perked up upon hearing the interchange. A smile crept over his face at this. At this point, with new life breathed into us, we all made our way to the back yard for our very first three generational game of catch with a baseball.
Lukas was pretty excited, and seemed to be doing pretty well with his throws, but still needed some work with keeping the mitt on and catching with it. However, what he lacked in polish, he more than made up for with enthusiasm and creativity in his goofy wind-ups while preparing to throw the ball.

In between the short throws and catches to Lukas, my dad and I were able to stretch things out to a longer distance and begin feel the zing of horsehide smacking leather. It was, after all, my dad who taught me to throw and catch a baseball. Probably at around the same age that Lukas is now. It felt really good. It always does when we can work in a game of catch.

“You do realize this is my Little League glove?” I said to my father, holding up my mitt as we exchanged tosses. “Really?” He replied. “Yeah, I won it that year for selling the most candy bars. I think you told all the vendors who stopped by the farm that they had to buy several bars or you wouldn’t do business with them anymore”. And at that we both laughed.

I’ve always had a great relationship with my father. He is an exceptional man who has always been there for me. He still is. And though we have good conversations on those occasions where we are not too busy going about our busy lives, some things most often go unsaid.

It’s funny. As a grown man I can say three words 10 times a day to my 3 year old son, but still feel awkward about saying the same three words to my own father. That’s where baseball comes in handy.

Because between a grown father and son, nothing says ‘I love you’ like a hardball tossed back and forth from 60 feet away. At least that’s what I’ve found to be the case.

And as I hung up the glove it occurred to me
He’s type of dad that I want to be
I’m going to be like him, yeah
You know I’m going to be like him