It’s a question we all get asked at various stages in our lives. We always have an answer for it. Sometimes we can give a half hour presentation complete with PowerPoint slides and spreadsheets; detailing education plans, internships, interview strategies; the whole nine yards. Sometimes we just shrug our shoulders, mumble something we think the person who asked will accept as a reasonable answer and quickly change the subject.
We get asked this question at various stages in life. It will start out innocently; usually at a very young age when responses like “Spaceman!”, “Cowboy!”, or “Unicorn!” are deemed appropriate answers. As time goes on and we get older; the question will often come with a different tone of voice, or perhaps a raised eyebrow. Answers often come a little more slowly; sometimes accompanied by a deer in the headlights look. The nature of the question also changes with time. When we ask young children what they want to be when they grow up we are often really asking how vast their imagination is. When we ask teenagers we are often curious about what their passions are and what goals they have. When the question is asked to those about to graduate high school or are just beginning college; the question becomes a bit more sober. We are often less concerned about an answer full of hopes and dreams. The “what” in the question has taken a subtle shift towards “who”. Who are you going to be? Our vision of ourselves and others is so often attached to our career paths that what we do and who we are can often be confused.
I started this blog with some pretty grand ideas. I would entertain the masses with cute, heartwarming stories of my children. Commiserate with my hundreds (thousands! Hundreds of thousands!) of readers about the frustrations and sorrows of parenthood.
Well, it has been a little over three years now and this is my twentieth post. Not exactly the outpouring of creativity I was hoping for; and most of those few posts were quick, off the cuff posts I knocked out in 15-20 minutes with little editing or rewriting. It’s not that I’m not proud of the things I have written. When inspiration hits me I feel like I can write fairly well; but I wanted this to be more. I was hoping I could find some consistency here, find my “voice” I suppose, and give people a glimpse into my life as a father, a husband; a place where I can make sense of a mind that is often messy and a bit confusing. As much as I wanted this to be something for other people; I need it even more for myself.
It seems impossible these days to look at the news without being overwhelmed with negativity. Any positive stories seem to be buried underneath mountains of tragedy. Wars, shootings, abuse, natural disasters; people killing people or people unable to get the help they need to survive. It is not just reports coming in from far away places either. Almost everyday there is talk of a shooting nearby; and it is usually not hard to find a connection to you or someone you know that has been affected by some tragedy.
So often, it seems our only available response is sadness. We post the same encouraging platitudes to social media that everyone else does, change our profile pictures, and make sure everyone knows that we are sending our “thoughts and prayers” to those who are in the middle of it. Most of us don’t see a way to do any more than that.
The sad truth is; most of us aren’t going to change the world. There are many people out there, from all over the world and from all walks of life, that are doing great things and making discoveries that will change the world; but for every one of them there are thousands that sit discouraged, wondering how they can make a difference.
I LOVE the internet. I’ve learned new cooking techniques and recipes, discovered new music, movies, books, and random trivia that might someday prove useful; and I probably love social media most of all. I can keep in touch with family and friends, reconnect with old friends, make new friends, stalk my favorite celebrities, and commiserate with other parents going through any and every imaginable situation with my children. The internet is hands-down one of my favorite things.
But the internet isn’t all unicorns and cat videos (that’s probably 80% of it; but not all of it). There are dangers to the internet; plenty of ways to get yourself in trouble, and plenty of people looking to take advantage of your wallet, your innocence, or even your life. This isn’t about the dark side of the internet; but it is about an issue I’ve noticed that seems to be becoming more and more prevalent as more people continue to use social media as a form of communication.Read More »
In the grand scheme of things three years is a blink of an eye; and in so many ways it seems to have gone by that fast. But so much has happened in those three years. Your sisters became teenagers (one is even old enough to drive now!), new jobs for me and your mother, some projects on the house have been completed and even more are being planned, we even traveled out of the country! How much more will happen while you are growing up? Your older siblings will be graduated and (hopefully) on to bigger and better things than our little family; maybe you’ll even have a cousin or two to play with! Maybe all the home improvement projects will be finished and I’ll have my kitchen and home office to spend my time in. Maybe your mom will be a world famous cosmetologist, and maybe I’ll finally finish a story or two and be a published author (or at least someone other than family will read this blog)! I know your mom says she is done having kids; but we both know we have plenty more love to give so you might even have one (or more) adopted siblings to play with.Read More »
Let’s be honest; I wouldn’t be here to have this dad blog if it wasn’t for women. Mothers, sisters, grandmothers, daughters, in-laws; I can’t turn around without bumping into a woman. So to celebrate this day I thought I would write about some of the women who have inspired me and taught me valuable life lessons and continue to do so to this day.
What kind of person would I be if I didn’t start with my mother first?
Well, it is the middle of November. Thanksgiving plans and menus are being finalized, the last of the leaves (hopefully) are being raked up; and for some of you savages, the Christmas decorating is underway or even finished. Often during this time of year our thoughts turn toward those who may be less fortunate than us. Maybe those who have nowhere to go for the holidays, family or friends we have lost, or just those struggling to provide a happy holiday season for their families. These feelings of giving and compassion are one of my favorite parts of the holidays.
But there is a group whose struggles are often brought to light during this time of year, specifically during November, who are often forgotten, ignored, and ridiculed. Yes, I am talking about the men who cannot grow facial hair. No Shave November, Movember; many men enjoy taking part in these, and there are even some good causes that are supported through them. However, many men like myself have a difficult time getting through this month; through no fault of our own. We are constantly reminded of our inability to provide a natural coat for our faces as the temperature drops and the cold wind attacks our cheeks and chin. We see post after post on social media from hirsute gentlemen documenting the progress of their majestic chin curtains while we stare forlornly in the mirror; praying to the god of the lumberjacks to bless us with the gift of a manly face forest of our own.Read More »
I thought I would have something to say today; but I’m too tired.
I don’t believe we saved our country last night; and I don’t believe we doomed it. Things are going to change, they always change. But things won’t change the way anyone wants them to until we stop relying on politicians to legislate our version or truth and morality and realize that we are the ones who will make change.
All the laws in the world won’t change a person’s heart. You wan’t change? You want the world to be a better place? Then start living a life of love. You don’t have to agree with someone’s politics to love them. You don’t have to like the way they look, the way they talk, their religion, their sexual orientation; you can disagree with them in every way and still love them.
And you can teach your children to love. Teach them that love is bigger than politics. Don’t just tell them, show them. Show them that love can be grand gestures full of sacrifice; and it can be a simple smile or kind word. Love is a home-cooked meal for an ill friend, it is giving up your favorite toy, it is a smile or a hug when a friend is feeling down. Be an example of love to your children and to everyone else you come in contact with. Live a life so full of love that other people can’t help but to emulate you. I know it won’t always be easy; but it will always be worth it.
I don’t know what is in store for our country; but I do know what is at stake. There are no sides to choose, this isn’t a war, there is no enemy. Once we finally realize that, then we can begin to heal.
So whether you woke up today celebrating and full of hope, or mourning and full of fear; we all have one thing we can do, love.
My current project at work is leaving me with plenty of time during the day to browse the internet. Some of the guys in the shop were talking about the cop in South Carolina that was fired for what happened with the student. I had heard about it but not read anything or watched the videos and decided to read up on it. I read multiple news sites and blogs; and watched the videos multiple times.Read More »