Let Your Kids Fall

Let Your Kids Fall

From time to time you’ll pick up a nugget of truth that forever will revolutionize how you think about every situation.  Something that on the outside seems very simple, but the more you contemplate its meaning the deeper it becomes.  My latest nugget was “A baby cries because even the slightest discomfort is literally the most intense pain it has felt its entire life”.

On the outside this seems like a no brainer.  The baby is only 2 weeks old.  It hasn’t lived through much yet.  Only after a few days I started really applying this concept to life as a whole.

Want to know why the person at work complains so much?  It’s because they’ve never experienced true displeasure.  Want to know why that person breaks down in tears when confronted about something?  It’s because they’ve never felt real emotional pain.  People can only react to the level in which they’ve been tested.  The old saying a sword is only a sword after it’s been in the fire and beaten by the makers maul is the honest truth.  The more real life we experience and the more we try our emotional reactions the better we can cope with stress, loss, and pain.  This is why the military trains soldiers under very harsh and trying conditions.  To adjust their minds to working in subprime environments.

It was after this revolution I decided to no longer shelter my kids from life.  All too often I witness parents sheltering their kids from pain or grief.  Little things like giving in when they’re throwing a tantrum at the store for candy to small lies like the goldfish swam away instead of letting them feel grief on a small-scale.

Sheltering our children from the pain of life seems like a loving thing to do, but what happens when they’re on their own?  Without you?  Without anyone?  What happens when they get their first car, lock themselves out, and have to walk in the rain back home for a spare set?  Are they going to be able to cope with being wet, cold, and having to walk a few miles, or are they going to break down into a sobbing pile of pity and wait for someone to come rescue them?

I stopped coddling my kids.  It was a hard decision to make.  When they break a toy, lose a game, or stub their toe I make sure they know I love them, and if the situation requires real aid and assistance that I will be the first to be there.  I don’t coddle them and make it all better though.  Protect them, but let them fall.  The next time a similar situation occurs they will have developed the skill set required to handle everything life throws at them.

This seems cold and harsh, but it’s necessary.  I love my children unconditionally and work very hard to give them everything they need.  Money wont buy everything though.  Teaching them how to navigate life with confidence is key.

I employ you to do the same.  Just realize it will be harder on you than on them.

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Making Her Smile

Making Her Smile

I have 2 dogs.  Correction, I have 2 dogs, 2 cats, and The Chicken.  This isn’t any ordinary chicken, it’s The Chicken.  My wife, Harmony, and I had different ideas of how to live our lives while we were in the younger years of the relationship.  I wanted to live in a big city, drive an exotic sports car, and only wear suits that cost more than most people make a month.  She on the other hand wanted a chicken.

More specifically she wanted a farm.  Goats, horses, chickens, and the whole works.  There was a reckoning about 2 years after we started dating.  I came over to her mom’s house where her brothers lived and had goats they showed in the 4H fair.  I could see her blonde hair from down the road inside the goat pin, I assumed she was feeding them.  I was wrong.  She was in the middle of a very intense game of King of The Hill.  For some reason at that moment I realized I loved her.  It took watching her play with farm animals to understand that.  No.  It took seeing her be truly happy to understand that.

So that was it I knew what I had to do.  Make her happy the rest of her life.  Oh trust me it wasn’t for her, it’s a very selfish thing.  Seeing her smile so hard her eyes squint.  That’s what makes me happy.  Now that’s it.  We need some goats.

Fast forward 11 years and we purchase the home we’re in now.  It’s a real fixer upper.  That’s putting it nice.  A 3,800 sq-ft 3 story monstrosity that was affixed to the face of this world in 1906.  Have you ever meet a dog owner who’s furry friend is so ugly all you can say is, awww. how cute?  Well this house is very cute we’ll say.  It doesn’t come with much of a yard to house any real farm animals, but she also likes cats.  So cats it is.

That’s the beginning.  I had 1 rule.  Never have more pets than adults who live in the house to take care of them.  So we had a cat.  The rule didn’t work in my favor.  2 adults 1 cat.  We took a trip to pet refuge.  She picks out the saddest, most pitiful looking dog in the world.  Elliot, aka moose, is a half basset hound half black lab handful.  His belly hangs only 4 inches from the floor due to his incredibly short legs and his ears aren’t much higher up.  He’s a goofy looking thing and at 80 lbs the largest lap dog I’ve ever seen.  So now we’re at 2 for 2, but we’re not done.

After the cat passed away my wife longed for another feline companion.  I looked and looked for a fluffy gray cat.  Something sweet that would just lounge around.  I looked for a while for the perfect pet.  Then the phone call.  Honey?  When are you coming home?  I got something for you for your birthday.  My birthday was just around the corner and I knew she was up to something.  I get home to find a bulldog named Titus with a big blue bow on his head.  I’ve always wanted a bulldog.  He was cute, but now we’er in a predicament.  She still wants a cat and we’re at our magic 2 for 2 count, but she’s not happy.  I knew what I had to do.

I found a young lady who had a black kitten.  She found her on the side of the road in a box, but couldn’t keep her.  Allergic.  The only catch.  She also found the kittens brother.  Take it or leave it.  I took it.  When I brought the kittens home for her just a few days shy of Christmas I saw that smile again, this time on both her and our daughters face.  Dad/Husband of the year award was won on that night.

So now we find ourselves at a 4 for 2, I’ve doubled my problem.  Then The Chicken.

My wife’s uncle moved in down the road from us.  He bought a small farm with cows and chickens and we help him take care of them and the garden.  It allows us to have farm fresh produce without having a big yard.  It works for both households, gives my wife the farm living feeling, and saves our grocery bill.  Win Win.  Once the weather turned cold her uncle was butchering the chickens and wasn’t sure if he wanted to have chickens anymore.  On one fateful night, a cold windy night, I believe it was a full moon.  Ok ok ok that’s not all truthful, I have no real memory of the night, but it was night.  While helping her uncle Harmony heard a noise.  It sounded like a baby chicken.  She opened the pen and there it was.  A little fuzzy chick.  No other chickens around.  They were all sent off to butcher earlier that day.  I guess there was 1 egg missed.  The 1 egg that housed the only chicken born on this farm.  It was  meant to be.  I would swear the chickens first peep was “peep…take me home…peep”.  She listened.  The Chicken, her name is nugget, makes Harmony happy.

The rule of 1 animal per adult human wasn’t as firm of a rule as I thought.  The Chicken was for selfish reasons.  I don’t like chickens, unless they’re smothered in BBQ sauce.  What I do like is to see Harmony smile.  Smile so big her eyes squint.

Man’s Biggest Fear, Other Men

Man’s Biggest Fear, Other Men

I learn something new every day.  Some days I learn about myself other days I learn about the world, but I always learn.  It’s a philosophy I adhere to.  Today is no different.

Today marks my wife and I’s 10 year anniversary and we decided to celebrate in an unconventional way.  Not by sharing gifts, we didn’t purchase a single thing for each other, but by sharing memories.  After all what can you buy for a woman who has everything she needs and almost everything she wants.

We made a pair of reservations for a couple’s hot stone massage at a therapeutic day spa and for dinner at our favorite tapas restaurant.  I didn’t go into this attempting to learn anything, yet I did.

During the check in process for our massage we were informed there would be a male masseur and a female masseuse.  We will be in the same room with each other the whole time, but did I feel more comfortable having my wife massaged by a man or by myself receiving his services.  At the moment I thought nothing of it and replied “I’ll take who ever does a deeper muscle massage, she’ll take the lighter one”  It was only when I put my face in the hole of the table did I start to learn.

It ate at me for the first few minutes.  I kept asking myself why would I care?  Then I realized what I learned.  Men are so unsure about their own masculinity the massage parlor felt the need to ask.  It all came rushing to me at once.  Men who inflate their chests and strut around like a peacock when confronted are not “tough guys” they’re insecure.

Think about it.  When professional athletes injure themselves they have a massage.  Most professional athlete masseur are male.  Do you think Drew Brees minds?  How about Kevin Durant?  I don’t know these two men, but for some reason I doubt it.

Men now a day are so unsure of themselves they will freak if you touch their hand by mistake when handing back change at the store.  God forbid you put your arm around another guy if it’s not followed by some sort of college fight song or when you’re shouting SALUTE!!! at the bar.  It’s odd for me.  We look at each other as direct competition in every form.

Men, this is a calling.  Be sure of yourself.  If you’re the muscle-bound testosterone junky or if you’re the computer wiz who has no clue what he can bench press because quite frankly you have more important things to do than move heavy things from one place to another be sure who you are and own it.  Stop trying to impress yourself and start being yourself.

Thanks For Having Me

Thanks For Having Me

Here it is, the first post.  I’m guessing everyone reading this has also had 1st post anxiety.  I’ve deleted that line more times than I can remember, so now I’ll just keep it.  Here’s me in a nutshell.

I’m a Dad-  I have 2 wonderful children who keep me extremely busy with their school, soccer, and taekwondo.  They are very rambunctious and get into a healthly amount of trouble.  They keep us on our toes and I love spending time with them.

I’m a Husband- My wife and I are celebrating our 10 year anniversary soon (15 years together 10 married).  I love her to death and would do anything to see her happy.  She’s truly a special person that sometimes can really push my buttons.

I’m a Man- I do not apologize for being a man, but don’t see why men feel the need to be Mr. Tough guy all the time either.

I’m painfully honest- I wear my thoughts on the front of my face for the world to see.  I don’t know how to hide my emotions from the world and the concept of just deal with it means nothing to me.  If I don’t like something I’ll say it.  I laugh, I cry, I fight, I scream, I love.  That’s what being a man is all about.

We will get to know each other very well as I share my life experiences and we can learn together how to work with everything life throws at us.  Follow me and leave comments.