Wednesday, February 26, 2014

When I Got Caught Shoplifting

“I left my money somewhere, probably in your wallet. Let me check.
” - Jarod Kintz, 

   When I was twelve, I was at the local grocer with a friend, looking through the candy isle. I had my eye on the row of Jelly Bellies, and I wasn't leaving without a nice bag full of the sweet goodness. Money? Pfffttt,, I didn't have the money for it. I was wearing an over sized army surplus jacked with some BIG pockets. I looked left and right, slipped the large bag of my score into the jacket pocket, and made my way out of the store. A young associate jogged up behind me and politely asked me to empty my pockets. I was busted, had to call my mom, and later explain to her and my father just what the heck I was thinking. I did community service, and didn't go back to the store for months out of shame.

   The topic of our children's future came up recently in a conversation with The Wife. A teenager in the family had been caught in an untruth regarding his evening whereabouts and it got us thinking about the personalities of our little ones. It was agreed that my 8YO is a terrible liar, but our 4YO might be a problem. While the eldest is sweet and kind, honest and innocent, our second child can fall outside of that. So we discuss how we can keep them on a path that doesn't land them in community service.

   When I was caught, my father had later asked me why I didn't just ASK for the money, since we most certainly had it. After a few shrugs and "I dunno", it came out that I'd grabbed some smaller items and was never caught. The items got bigger until my hand was "caught in the cookie jar". I knew stealing was bad, but tried it a few times and didn't look back. So what changed? I realized we didn't talk about a lot of topics when I was young. The Wife and I are trying to bring up a lot more than we remember hearing about. The world seems smaller and more intense than I remember it, and I think a lot of parents agree with that, no matter the age. So it is our charge to talk more to our children. Not just about stealing, but about everything. Talk and talk a lot, about a lot of things. When we open the lines of communication, great things can happen. Let us all just try.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

When Children Find Their Courage

"Courage is being scared to death... and saddling up anyway." - John Wayne
   We gave our 'Lil Miss earrings for Christmas just two months ago. She'd walked past the booth at the mall for months before, daring herself to get her ears pierced. Her ears were still soft and sweet, as we never got them done in her first year the way many people choose to. In the past year or two, she's asked more about it. When we gave her a cute set of colorful ear bling to get her started, there was no turning back.
   Our children are a perfect blend of their parents. The Cheeky Daddy is soft and emotional, while The Cheeky Mommy is determined and a go getter. So yesterday, walking past the booth yet again, she stopped her mother and said, "I want to get my ears done," After a quick chat, it was clear, she'd found her courage. She knew she was scared, and did it anyway. I got the image while working, and my heart swelled at the thought of my 'Lil Miss facing a dragon. I mean, to an 8 year old, that kind of impending pain is a massive, green scaled, fire-breathing, sharp horned, razor-clawed dragon, isn't it?
   As parents, we've been trying to help our children find their courage. "Don't be afraid to catch the baseball!", has been changed for my son to, "Be brave and keep trying!" It's working for sure, as my sweet young woman couldn't stop talking about how afraid she was before, during, and after the whole event. Yet, she found her courage, and I can't wait to see where that takes her.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Buying Our First Baseball Gear

"The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and that could be again." - Terence Mann, Field of Dreams 

   Our first born was a bouncy baby girl. I fell in love immediately. We've had the time of our lives ever since. She's shown a passion for so many things. We've done dance, tumbling, gymnastics, art, cheerleading, and she will start soccer soon. When our second born turned out to be a boy, we knew that there would be a few differences. While we haven't been able to sign him up as an army solider, ninja, or NASCAR driver, we hit the mark with baseball. He joined the local little league team, and we met the team and coach on Saturday.
   Afterward, we headed to the local sporting goods store that had the discount for the league and started looking for the gear we'd need. Helmet, check. Bat for home practice, check. Athletic supporter, ch-ch-check. We grabbed a soft ball used for his age group to practice with and wrapped up our trip. Having already had a glove, we were happy with our purchases. Once we were settled in the car, The Wife asked me, "So how does it make you feel, dad? Getting your boy his first round of baseball gear?" I smiled.
   I admitted that I had already found myself feeling a sense of pride. I never played baseball. I played some softball with the church boys, but never really played. Now I'm all giddy about teaching my boy and helping with his team. I keep picking up the ball we bought, rolling it back and forth between my hands. I find myself working the leather of his new glove, trying to soften it for his small hands. It's the beginning of his first season, and I hope the beginning of a fun sport for all of us to enjoy together. My 8YO 'Lil Miss is already asking about softball.
   Batter up!


Monday, February 3, 2014

Super Bowl Loss Reveals A Hero

Dad - A son's first hero.
   Super Bowl XLVIII turned out to be a little one sided. It was clear the Seattle Seahawks were going to dominate fairly early on. Things went from bad to worse for the Denver Broncos, losing the game 43-8 in the end. I think we all overlook the human aspect to winning and losing. While the Seahawks were celebrating, the camera caught the odd Bronco player, sitting in defeat on their sideline. It makes me wonder what they're thinking, and how they're handling it.
   Yahoo! Posted a touching story that answered the question. Denver's Shaun Phillips sent his son a message, "Sorry I let you down." The boy's reply puts everything into perspective. "It's okay daddy u r still my hero", was his reply. As I read the brief exchange, my heart was touched. I can only imagine the feelings that follow that kind of win, or loss. To be a part of a team that made it that far must be incredibly impactful. Children have a way of dwarfing that, and this message from a son to his father encapsulates this.
   We as fathers all know the rock star feeling of coming home to kids screaming "Daddy!!!" Let us earn the title of hero. We can be there more, spend more time, speak more kindly, teach more skill, and the like. There comes a day when we realized our fathers are human. I think we can still be heroes, if we focus on what is most important. That is my challenge to us all. While I can't get a t-shirt made up for all the dads in the world, we can all still put forth the effort that will gain us the title. Hero dad out.