Category Archives: Life

Everyone has a favorite

Think hard.

Who’s your favorite person? I’ve asked myself the same question and have my answer.  I’ll wait while you come up with yours…

(5 mins later)

Is that your final answer?  I wonder why you chose them? Which of their qualities stood out?  The way this person has influenced you has caused them to win a seat of affection in your heart. The peculiar thing about the person you chose is that they are more than likely someone else’s favorite too… for the exact same reasons you listed. Consider the qualities that you admire most about those you are most impacted by.  Mirror those qualities in yourself.  Excel at it! Be intentional about it. You can do it!  You will soon become someone else’s most favored person…  Your circle of influence will grow and your opportunity to affect change will increase.

TL;DR – Become someone’s favorite person by treating others with the same love you’ve been influenced by. You will more than likely become a favorite to many.

 

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Be a Yes Man!

No

Sometimes I wonder how my 2-yr-old finds the will to wake up in the morning. Imagine waking up, minding your own business, reaching to touch those pretty holiday decorations when all of  a sudden, “No!”  Oh, ok.  Well I’ll just stick my hand in this porcelain bowl full of cool water.  That should be refreshi- “No!”  Wha?  Ok, well… these walls look awfully drab.  I should decorate them with the colors of the rainbow using these magic waxy sticks!  That should brighten everyone’s da- “NOOOOO!!!”

I wonder how much it would take to finally break a child’s sense of wonder and curiosity.  What would it take to make him content with all he knows so that he isn’t trying to figure out what happens when you stick a fork in an outlet.  (PLEASE don’t be that kid who puts a glow stick in the microwave. What a ding-a-ling.)  All joking aside, it’s certainly reasonable to create boundaries for our children to live in.  At the same time, giving your children opportunities to hear you say “Yes!” is one of the most empowering things you can do.

I routinely set up situations that allow me to say yes to anything my children ask for.  It doesn’t take much.  Take them out to an empty field on a rainy day.  DAD! Can I climb that hill?  “Yep!”  Puddles! Can we jump in puddles?  “YES.”  Mudballs! Can we throw them at you?  “N..Nnnggh… Nnnn… ugh… yes.” After giving them permission to be who they are, take note of how they respond to life the next day.  They are more content, less irritable, and trust you when you tell them things like, “maybe later.”  This practice isn’t reserved for children but for anyone who looks to you for leadership.  If you’re a manager, have special meetings where people are able to share ideas and make a concerted effort to not shut them down. If you lead any type of creative group, create moments where people are allowed to step out of the box without being discouraged.  People are willing to follow leaders who aren’t afraid of their people’s mistakes.  A person who practices saying Yes will not lose people the moment they have to say No.

TL;DR –  Create moments that allow you to say Yes.  It inspires those around you to dream and adds weight behind moments when you have to say No.


I know you love me

Things got real the other night during an outing  with a few of my guy friends.  It started off casually enough but before the evening was over we were sitting around a table sharing heartfelt stories and life-lessons.  I’ll admit, it was probably my own estrogen level that tipped the scale. While most of the fellas there would chalk it up to cigar smoke and dusty vents, I’m sure I saw a few eyes glazed over as thoughts were shared.  All kidding aside, I was recalling the memory of my father who passed away on September 1st of 2010.  In all the years that I’d known him, he must have told me that he loved me thousands of times.  That was comforting enough while he was still with me, but on this side of events, what I wouldn’t give to have heard him say at the end, “Son, I know you love me too…”

It wasn’t until after saying goodbye to him for the last time that saying, “I love you” wasn’t enough for me.  I needed to know that he believed it!  To be sure, I was absolutely obnoxious growing up.  I’m quite positive that I gave my father every gray hair he ever had.  I wasn’t prepared to think that somewhere along the way my affection might not have been clearly communicated.  Being caught off-guard and a little surprised by this emotion, I now choose to make it a point to tell my children from time to time, “No matter what happens, always know that I know you love me.”  I let them know how much it encourages me to know they care for me.  They need to know their love for others is effectual and appreciated.

TL;DR – It strengthens others when they know their love is received.


Sissies and the Men Who Fear Them

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These belong to my 2-year-old son.  Why?  Because he loves Disney’s Frozen with reckless abandon.  As soon as I get home from work:  “Can watch Leddy Go, Dad?” I’m sure Disney backmasks subliminal messages into the main song. There’s no other explanation. Yes, my boy loves Elsa and Anna and I support him in his obnoxious obsession.

He plays with girl toys?! Some dads fear this would cause their boys to grow up effeminate. Some refuse to let their sons join ballet or sing in choir because these activities aren’t manly enough… meanwhile the mother, who has an absolute passion for the arts, is robbed of the opportunity of seeing her sons exercising their inherited talents.  The rationale varies, but the most common objection I hear is, “I don’t want my son growing up to be a sissy.”

Please realize that it’s not your child’s interests that measure the man, it’s your child’s heart.  Does my oldest son have an inherent desire to play with Barbies?  Nope.  Would he play with them for his sisters sake?  Yep.  Would he “man-up” and deny that it ever happened?  Absolutely not.  He’s altogether confident in who he isThis boldness is what wins the respect of his peers! He’s a defender who stands up for others and doesn’t distinguish between the outcast and the popular.  He’s learned to appreciate the interests of others and I couldn’t be prouder as a parent.

You can force your sons to play with G.I. Joes, but inwardly they’re pelting the world with frozen snowballs.  Give your kids the freedom to be honest about their interests… otherwise, they become the living embodiment of Conceal – Don’t Feel.  In my estimation, there’s no greater definition of weakness.

TL;DR – Prohibitions that are more about saving face than protecting innocence will inevitably lead to true frailty.


I want to hear you say it!

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There’s a reason why this image absolutely crushes me. It’s a short exchange between my daughter’s iPod and my iPhone. The twist? I wasn’t a part of this conversation. She texted me and when I didn’t respond in a timely manner she found my phone and responded to herself.

Anyone who knows me realizes that there are no deficits of “I love you’s” between me and my children, but there are moments when they need to hear it at precisely the right time. I went and whispered this in her ear while she was sleeping but what I wouldn’t give to have sent this at 8:01 PM. This was her way of saying that she wanted to hear from ME and I intend to let her know that I’ve heard her loud and clear.

All that being said, If my son ever catches wind of this he’ll start texting himself from my phone with things like, “Hey, more video games!” I’ll need to play this carefully.

TL;DR – Pay attention to the ones you love. Gauge their love tank and make sure to fill it regularly with things that are meaningful to them.


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