What I’ve Learned

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There were many things that I’ve seen
but none could be more important than
what was in front of me
My DAD worked hard
to provide us with everything,
so I’ve learned to be…
RESPONSIBLE
My MOM tended to
my illnesses and injuries,
so I’ve learned to be…
CARING
My SISTER had a severe handicap
and dealt with ridicule
so I’ve learned to be…
TOLERANT
My WIFE gave hugs with a smile
through all the good and the bad,
so I’ve learned to be…
LOVING
My DAUGHTER was friendly
to everyone she met
so I’ve learned to be…
KIND
My SON sought out things
that were unfamiliar and unknown
so I’ve learned to be…
FEARLESS
My DOGS kept me company
when family was not around
so I’ve learned to be…
LOYAL
My FRIENDS were there
to hear every problem and gripe
so I’ve learned to be…
a good LISTENER
My FAMILY and FRIENDS
have been with me
through every step of my life
so I’ve learned to be…
SUPPORTIVE
These people that I’ve encountered,
made me who I am today
and I’m grateful
for the lessons I’ve learned
through their
unselfish actions.

Mid-Life Reflections #8

With my son graduating 8th grade yesterday and my daughter set to graduate from high school this Saturday, I look back with fond memories of them when they were just mere babies to who they are now and what they are becoming.  I am literally amazed at what they can do and what they can accomplish.  Granted my wife and I gave them the tools to navigate their way through life but they managed perfectly using their own sense and sensibilities.  Everything that they’ve achieved so far was due to their unique personality and innate traits; their exterior demeanor belies their true potential.  It is because of this that I cherish being a parent.  My children’s vim and vigor, no holds barred quest to grab a hold of what the world has to offer and run with it, is truly inspiring.  It keeps me on my toes, anxiously waiting to see what unfolds for them and how they’ll astound us.  Reflecting on my children’s journey into adulthood overwhelms me with pride and joy and is one of life’s gifts that I am truly honored to accept.

You’re Grounded! Write Me A Story!

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The other day as I was walking through the local mall, I saw a mother unabashedly scolding her son.  He looked like he was about 9 or 10 years of age and completely embarrassed by the staring eyes of the mall’s patrons.

When the mother’s tirade ended, she forcefully grabbed her son’s arm and stormed away.  This scene was reminiscent of my childhood and all I could think of was what was in store for the boy when he gets home.

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I remembered whenever I did something bad, my parents would give me a good scolding and ground me.  “YOU CAN’T GO OUT AND PLAY AND NO TV FOR A WEEK!” is what my mom usually bellowed.  Back in my time, this was painful; I didn’t have the luxuries that the kids have nowadays.

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Being “grounded” meant just staying in my room doing nothing.  At that time there were no such things as cable TV, cellphones or video games.  All that I could do to pass the time away was listen to AM radio stations (because there weren’t any FM at that time).

Now whenever I did something “REALLY” bad, like playing with matches and burning things, I got a healthy dose of spankings.  My mother would get “the belt” and teach me an unforgettable lesson.

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Please don’t think bad of my mom; she’s the most kindest and caring person in the world.  Some of the terrible things I did as a young boy were REALLY BAD…trust me.  Remember, I grew up in a time when this was perfectly acceptable or “PC.”  Your neighbors and even teachers were allowed to do the same if you got way out of line…boy how times have changed.

As I was growing up, I wondered how I would discipline my children if they ever did something bad.  Well, cut to present day…as a parent of two, I decided to go the unconventional route.

When my children were young and did something bad, I made them write me a story and then read it to me and my wife.

“Don’t worry about grammar or spelling, just write me a story” is what I would tell them.

“What do you want us to write about?” my children would reply.

My answer, “Anything!  Just write me a story!”

For some unknown reason, this punishment really stressed them out.  Secretly I think that they would have rather been scolded or grounded.

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For the longest time, they would stare at a blank page and wrack their brains to come up with anything.  Their stories were simple at first but in time, they got to be more and more creative.  Their speaking skills improved as well.

Don’t get me wrong, they still got a good scolding if they did something really bad but I felt that I wanted to try and bring out their creativity at an early age.

This punishment benefitted them during their early school years and were recognized by their teachers whenever we had our annual parent-teacher conference.

Now that my kids are teenagers, this punishment is way too easy for them.  I need to come up with a whole new game plan.  Maybe I’ll make them come up with a dance choreography…yeah, I’ll do that!

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Happy Father’s Day

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Father’s Day is once upon us again and I for one always look forward to this day.  Why you may ask?  It’s because I cherish the homemade cards that my children give to me.  Their words of appreciation and love are truly priceless and beats any material gifts that I receive.   a7

Being a father is by far one of the “BEST” jobs that I have.  When I’m not disciplining my children for something bad they may have done, I’m their adult buddy.

That’s my excuse for going to the toy store and perusing shelves of toys to my heart’s content.  It’s my chance to purchase awesome “action figures” (I call them that because calling them “boy” dolls are totally not cool at all).

I also am afforded the opportunities to do things like hip hop dancing, playing video games, being up on the most current social media app, learning how to navigate my phone, all the stuff that kids nowadays do.

Don’t let my “over the hill” appearance fool you; inside this battle-worn body is a goofy kid that’s willing to make a fool of himself as well.  There are even times when my kids join in my tomfoolery; more often than not, my kids are slightly embarrassed at some of the mischievous things I tend to do in public just for a laugh.  My wife often says that she has not two but three kids and the “oldest” one is the most immature.

Aside from all the fun things that I get to do with my kids as a dad, I’m also there to provide guidance and strength in crucial moments in their life.  I’m a father first and my family is my world…my everything.

I try my best to be the best father I can be and I can honestly say that it’s not that hard to do.  I had a good role model in my father; he took a vested interest in my well-being, gave sound advice and made me into the person I am today.  A4My father’s quiet strength, extensive knowledge, vast experiences, quirky sense of humor, gentle kindness and champion against all forms of danger belied his gruff, stern exterior.  No amount of thanks will ever be enough for what he’s done in my life.

Yeah moms are given all the honor and glory that they rightfully deserve but give dads the same as well.  So this Father’s Day, if you’re fortunate enough to still have your father around, spend time with him and cherish it with all of your heart.  If you’re a father, be with your kids and love them for all their worth.  Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there!!!

A Birthday Poem

 

As I sit here pondering what to write, I reflected for a moment on my life.  I saw my daughter’s baby picture situated on a shelf off to the left of my computer.  I soon realized that my little girl will turn 17 this year…in a few more years, she’ll be 21 years old.  Geez, where’d all that time go?!

I wondered what would I say to her once she gets to that age.  A poem came to mind, so I figured I’d write a poem for my daughter’s future self.  This is what I came up with:

“Happy Birthday Chloe

you’re finally 21,

You’re at that age

where you can enjoy illegal adult fun

Remember when you were young

when you dressed up and pretended to be old

To be a full-grown woman

was to be daring and bold

As time passed on, 

you played the game of life

The need to be an  adult woman

was joined by the desire to be a wife

You’re finally a woman,

with many birthdays gone by

The youthfulness is still in you

as the clouds are in the sky

Age doesn’t matter

so don’t let it bother you

Just be yourself and in the end

to your heart you will be true

Be cheerful, be happy

you’re now 21,

Happy Birthday Chloe

and many more to come.”

 

 

How Time Flies

Today as I am writing this blog, I am in complete shock at the fact that my daughter is turning 16 years old today (AND also at the fact that I’m someone’s dad).  I truly cannot believe that my first born child is slowly growing into a young woman.  This is the very child whom I cradled in my arms in the wee morning hours trying to get her to sleep. 

Yes I know that it’s inevitable, but I’m amazed at how time flew by.  It’s as if I’m in a water tube slide and the laws of physics temporarily sped up; all the events that I shared with my daughter were merely subconscious flashbacks appearing before my eyes as I descended to the bottom. 

 “WOW!!!” is all I can say.  To see this strong, intelligent and ambitious girl attaining goals and dreams that I would never dare to do is completely mind-boggling…maybe I’m awed at that fact that I share DNA genes with her.  Every day I am surprised at what she is capable of doing and am truly proud.

 I guess the whole point of this post is just me reflecting on the past and how I relish my experiences as a parent with my children.  I’m not the best parent in the world but I’m definitely not the worst by any means.  I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way and grew as a person, but I feel like I did an okay job.

 I look forward toward the future and am anxiously awaiting for my daughter and son to astonish me, whether it be something big or something small.  It is because of them that I am inspired to do things and explore things that will surprise them as well.  Hopefully along the way I can slow down time and defy the laws of physics to savor every moment.

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So You Think You Can Dance

Dance7 In an earlier post I had talked about my daughter wanting to learn how to dance…more specifically dance “K-Pop” style.  Well, it’s been three months since I started this quest to help fulfill one of my daughter’s dream and it’s been going quite well.

 We’re not quite where we want to be but I’m proud of the fact of how far we’ve both come along.  I’m not a professional dancer by any means but I think we’re getting the hang of this style of dancing. 

When my daughter wanted to learn how to dance, I originally anticipated her asking me about break dancing or popping.  I was ecstatic and brushing off the cobwebs in a portion of my mind of all the old routines I used to do back in my heyday when I was a B-Boy (I wasn’t the best but I clearly wasn’t the worst).

 Like I said earlier, when she wanted to learn “K-Pop” style, my mind went blank and I had absolutely no idea what that entailed.  “Where do I start?” and “How am I going to pull this off?” were the only things that ran rampant in my mind.

K-Pop dancing has very intricate moves; it’s almost as if you are doing synchronized choreography.  Dancing by yourself is one thing, but doing it at the same time with another and hitting your marks at the same time is DAMN TOUGH!  These kids nowadays have much more rhythm than the kids I grew up with…simply amazing.

The things that helped me to get over this hump was the fact that she wanted to learn a routine from a specific Korean pop song and YouTube.  YouTube is simply the best because you can learn just about EVERYTHING and ANYTHING on that site.  I knew that can find a lot of stuff on YouTube but…WOW!  Where was this when I was growing up?!

 There were tons of tutorials and people doing dance covers that truly enlightened me as to the style that me and my daughter were about to learn.

After endless hours of watching the tutorials and clumsily mimicking the moves, we were inching our way towards our goal.  Man, for someone my age, this quest is daunting.  Not dancing since my high school and college days also added to the challenge.

 Doing something like this with my daughter, however, is priceless.  I was glad that my daughter took an interest in dancing, something that I LOVED to do when I was her age. 

 We got a lot of work ahead of us to complete our goal.  And…“How long will that take?” Your guess is as good as mine but I take solace in the fact that we’ll get there.  AND when we get there, I know we’ll get that sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that we were striving for.  Hopefully it’ll be soon so that I can upload the video to my blog to show you the results and make you see that we can REALLY DANCE!