Funny How Things Turn Out Sometimes

Rambling about nothing important here; but maybe something that can be used as a lesson someday.

When I was in elementary school I was really quiet and most times stayed to myself. I wasn’t included in games when sides were chosen and I was too shy to ask to be picked on a team. My perceived lack of talent also didn’t help. I stayed on the sidelines and would usually stand and watch as others had the time of their life taking part in games and having fun.

I also wondered later when I got older whether they thought I was dumb. Or if they thought I had a learning disability. But that’s a topic for another post.

As I moved through my middle school years I beganplayground to break out of my shyness and actually developed a love of sports. I’m not sure when it happened but by the time I was 13 or 14 it turned out I was very good at sports. And maybe it was there all along and I hadn’t been given an opportunity to display those skills.

In middle school I was also much better with schoolwork and could usually get good grades when I wanted. Although it did seem I had an issue with staying focused and not wanting to do more than I needed. I also didn’t push or challenge myself too often and was satisfied with just getting a passing grade. In other words, I was just average. Or maybe I was just an average teenager.

By the time I got to high school I was much more advanced athletically and much to everyone’s surprise – those same friends from elementary school that wouldn’t allow me to play – I could usually out-play most of them. In any sport!

I remember a particular day after an (American) football game during physical education class my freshman year where I made some plays at quarterback that others were talking about the rest of the day.

Another day I was hoping to sit out a volleyball match but the coach insisted I play. He made me play because he liked the intensity with which I played, and because I think he enjoyed watching me spike the ball so hard across the net and hit one of the guys in the stomach or chest. Oh, the joy of getting even! But who holds grudges, right?

Yet another time the tennis coach stopped everyone at practice and asked that they all come over to tenniswatch a match in which I was playing. I actually lost this match, probably the only one I lost when I got challenged. (Challenged is the keyword here. When I played for fun then that’s all it was, fun, and the competitor in me was left idly standing by.)

Anyway, the tennis coach commented every time one of us used proper technique and I still remember her saying something to the effect of “this is how you play the game guys.” What a thrill that was for me, with my elementary days now a distant past.

In the classroom I had a few teachers that would rearrange seating assignments on Mondays based on grades we received the previous week. And although there was this one girl that usually got perfect scores – and she happened to be in a few of my classes – I got a lot of satisfaction getting the first seat every once in a while. If not, I was usually in one of the first few seats. And this was about getting back at the guys and not the girls, so I didn’t mind coming in second to the girls.

So later on in life I wondered whether those same friends remembered our dogbiteyounger days, and if they knew they provided extra motivation for me to succeed. Probably not, but I’d like to think they did.

~But to all those I say, “Don’t pick on someone you may think is weak as it may come back to bite you in that special part of the anatomy sometimes referred to as your ass!”

20 Things a Great Father should do

Having had some early struggles in becoming a father I think I’ve been able to appreciate having children more than most fathers do. Only when you go through a battle do you really cherish the reward.

I base this not only on personal observation but also from news reports from all over the world. How many times do we hear about absent fathers when a kid gets in trouble? Or about fathers who inadvertently forget about their children when they separate or divorce their spouse.

Regardless of life and career accomplishments a father might have, the only thing that matters is what kind of father and person he is. We should embrace the opportunity to be great fathers. It is a way of passing down our legacy to our children.

These are my own Top 20 things to do to show you’re a great father; I’m sure other fathers have their own things they do to make them stand out as great fathers.

  1. Be kind, always Seriously why wouldn’t you. Wouldn’t you rather they remember you for your kindness instead of that one time you were mean to them? Because they’ll remember the mean one way longer than you think.
  2. Be patient They’re little, they’re growing and sometimes they don’t know how to do things. Be gentle with them and give them a helping hand instead of losing your cool. Losing your cool is not good for anyone, especially not for someone who’s counting on you for help.
  3. Show affection Why not hug them and hold them close. It feels great to do this. And not just for them but for you too.
  4. Provide a sense of security Have a stable home life; have a stable job. Providing them security is one less thing for them to worry about in their little heads.
  5. Be dependable Always, always try to do what you say you will do. They’ll remember if you don’t. If you don’t think you can do something then don’t promise.
  6. Show up and be there Attend their activities even if they’re not doing something you like. Just being there will make them feel better.
  7. Be supportive When they want to do something you don’t agree with put yourself in their shoes and think of what your own parents would’ve said or done. If this elicits a bad experience then don’t do the same to them.
  8. Discipline them Yes, kids will do things that will earn them a timeout. When issues come up make sure you explain why they’re being disciplined. Don’t just say “Because I said so!” Make sure you do this with love and not any other motive.
  9. Make them laugh Be spontaneous and say something funny or silly. It’s okay to act up every once in a while. It’s just you and them and no one is watching.
  10. Be the role model You have no choice in this one. What you say and do will shape their minds. Be the best role model you can be and someday you will see the results and will be very proud.
  11. Greet them with a smile Kids notice human behavior and body language more than we realize. They don’t care if we’ve had a bad day at work, or that we got into an argument with someone. They just want to feel your love and there’s no better way to show them than to always greet them with a smile.
  12. Do the little things Even if it’s just spending time watching TV with them or sitting at the dinner table. Offer to help them with their homework; or just ask them how their day was. You’d be surprised with some of the responses you’d get.
  13. Get up early and make them breakfast Food is always a good way to bond with kids. There’s nothing better than to share some time in the kitchen and let them help make something for all to share. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant; anything they like  will do.
  14. Read with them Not only should you read to your children, but you should also allow them to read to you too. If they’re too young to read get an animal picture book and make animal sounds with them. They’ll get a kick out of that and will show them you’re comfortable being with them.
  15. Take them places Why not ask them to go with you when you run errands or when you need to go to the grocery store. The time you spend together in the car can be very valuable.
  16. Be a good husband; respect their mother Children need to know there’s stability in the home and how you and your spouse interact around the house will have a major impact on their lives. A son will learn how to treat women by how a father treats his wife.
  17. Know when to say no There will come a time when a request can be granted but saying no will be more important than giving them whatever it is they want.
  18. Don’t ever yell at your child, ever We are not Neanderthals guys; we don’t need to rant and rave. If you ever lose your composure and yell at your kids they have already won the fight because they’ll know what it takes to get under your skin.
  19. Listen to what they need Kids will usually verbalize what they want so this one on the surface doesn’t appear important. But it’s important to have a feel for your children so that you know what they might not be telling you.
  20. Love them with all of your heart Why wouldn’t you love them with all of your heart. After all, they made you who you are and have given you the greatest love in life. Your children will always love you no matter what and you should do the same.

That’s it! That’s my list. Very simple and not difficult to do at all. But if you do have trouble with one of the items on this list don’t give up and say you can’t do it. Just improvise and come up with your own alternative. The important thing to know is that we are heroes and sometimes even idols to our children and we should act accordingly.

A Father’s Day Letter to my Father

Hello Dad! It’s now more than 45 years since you’ve passed and even though I think of you often I‘ve never taken the time to say things to you. There have been many times I wished you’d been alive to see the things I’ve done. Like when I decided to join the military just like you did. It turned out I did well in the Army and that gave me the confidence I needed to accomplish more things in the future. I thought you’d want to know that.

There have been many things happen in my life, as you can imagine, and most have been good but there have been a few bad ones that I deal with to this day. It’s been the difficult times that have led me to a life of empathy, compassion, strength and respect for others.

The things I’ve accomplished have been mostly through hard work and dedication but others by pure luck, or by being at the right place at the right time and others simply by choosing not to quit.

I’ve also failed many times Dad, for various reasons, but I haven’t let those setbacks stop me from moving on and living a productive life.

Dad, I want to tell you that even though I wasn’t quite seven years old when you died I learned a lot from you. I learned from you to share with others and learned how simple gestures of kindness can leave a lasting impression on someone.

Specifically, I remember the times you were home from your fishing trips and you would load the kids in the car. And not only your children but our friends as well. You would take us to the drive-in to get burgers and fries and ice cream. And you’d always pay for everyone and you did it happily!

I did that when my own children were young often taking them and their friends out for pizza, or to the movies or for a game of bowling. If I hadn’t seen you do that I don’t know if I would’ve known any better. I learned that from you Dad!

I also want to tell you about something I found out long after you died that made me appreciate you even more.

While I was going through some papers that Mom gave me a few years ago I learned that you sent her money from wherever your fishing trips took you, even half-way around the world it seemed. I have some deposit receipts from the bank stashed away somewhere. I was truly impressed by that but I shouldn’t have been surprised because you provided well for your family. I remember that about you Dad.

I found some other documents that showed you started working in the fishing industry at a very young age and that you didn’t stop working until your health got to be too bad. I admire you for that Dad.

Dad, I want you to know I’ve been steadily employed since I graduated from high school. I go to work every day and I have you to thank for showing me that I need to provide for my family just like you did for yours. There have been times when I’ve wanted to quit or give up but I have you as an example and still to this day look back on your life and get strength from that. Thank you Dad!

And Dad, I also want to tell you that because of you I love the ocean. And I love seafood just like you did! I remember you bringing fresh seafood home when you got back from a fishing trip and remember you preparing it for us. Thank you also for taking us fishing at the boat ramp. It was a thrill to see all those blue crabs when we pulled the bucket out of the water. And we would go home and again you’d prepare them for us to eat. Thank you for doing that for us Dad.

A few years ago I visited Biloxi because I wanted to see where you grew up. jw-1968I noticed that the house you lived in is very near the ocean. When I retire from work I plan to move back home and buy a small house near the ocean too Dad. And I’ll spend a lot of time fishing, just like you did. But I’ll do it for fun and not for work like you did. I know you’d like that for your youngest son.

Dad, Happy Father’s Day! I wish you were here so I can thank you for all that you taught me. And maybe you would be proud of me for the man I’ve become. I think I’m becoming more like you each day. And I am very happy about that.

Your son who has never forgotten you.

A Cold and Rainy Day, I Yearn

You can take a walk I know;
On a cold and rainy day;
And when a tear may somehow fall;
There’s nothing they will say.

Wind blowing icy cold;
And your face is feeling numb.
The pain will go away;
But someday I say it come.

The walk is done for now;
I know I must return.
The reprieve is gone as well;
The next cold and rainy day I yearn.