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.

Mid-Life Reflections #7

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We live in a hustle and bustle world where every minute of our lives is bombarded by things left and right.  There are times when chaos ensues and others that leave us completely dumbfounded.  Usually at the end of the day, we are completely exhausted both physically and mentally and end up sleeping it off only to continue with the hubbub the next day.

I’ve learned that too much exposure to all this commotion can sometimes cause us to  freak out and wonder “What the hell?!”

“Is this how it’ll be for the rest of my life?”

“Will it ever end?”

“What is my purpose in the scheme of it all?”

“Things have to get better right?”

All these questions must’ve popped into our minds at one point in time.  We’re either just starting to experience this, in the process of it or finally getting over it.  Whichever one we’re in, just know that in spite of everything, we need to stop and catch our breath.

Look around and take delight in your children, your pets, your siblings, your parents, your grandparents, your friends; just watch them and know that you are what you are because of them.

Watch the sunrise or the sunset; by doing this know that you are lucky enough to live another day.

If your life is not to your liking, change it.  It’s as simple as that.  Have a job that sucks, quit.  In a relationship that’s horrendous, end it.  Want to try something new, be fealess and go for it.  That cliche “Life is too short” is really true.

You got to where you are because you endured a lot and overcame obstacles that seemed insurmountable.  You can go much further and better yourself and situation if you just have faith in yourself.  Life is precious…so dare to be bold and custom life to your liking!

 

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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The Love Of A Child

The love from a child

is most meaningful to see

What comes from their soul

is beautiful and carefree

Their love is unconditional

straight from the start

It’s unwavering and bountiful

warm the cockles of your heart

Their innocence, their laughter

their unabashed delight

Their huge, beaming smile

a pure treasure at first sight

The emotions you get from a child

sensations so pure and true

They wear their heart on their sleeve

on full display for you

So when a child comes to you

and gives you their all

Accept it post haste

be at that child’s beck and call

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There Is No Bond Stronger

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As I was growing up, I never really got the full grasp of what it was like to rely on family members for support; especially that of the emotional kind. 

 I was always off on my own, or with my friends, involved in insects, cartoons, action figures, video games, comics or remote control vehicles of the fast kind. 

 When I wasn’t squeezing every ounce of free time for my personal pleasure, my head was preoccupied with school.  So as you can tell, it was either trying to finish that super complex homework, study for zillions of quizzes and tests or what to do first when I had free time; those thoughts took up most of my emotional journeys.

 Nothing major happened to the point where I needed to consult my parents or siblings for advice.  A lot of my life’s lessons came either from trial and error, mostly HUGE ones, or talking with friends.  Life was simple, there were no worries.

If it didn’t involve school or play (or girls) then it completely fell to the wayside.  That, however, took a different turn as I got up there in age and started a family of my own.

 My focus adjusted and my eyes began to really “see” the value of having family around you.  I could have a bad day at work, a traumatic incident, health issues or just feeling down in the dumps, but just knowing that my family was there made the trials all the more bearable.

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 My wife and my kids provided emotional support in ways that inspired hope in me.  Just having someone in my corner, through thick and thin, really made all the difference in overcoming the obstacles that were in my path.  Their positive words of encouragement, daily affirmations and big burly hugs made all the difference; they truly became my emotional cheerleaders. 

 My outlook towards my parents were in a state of flux as well; it changed from seeing them as an authoritative figure to that of sage-like confidants that I can pour my heart out to. 

 It’s interesting how time really changes you and strange that it took me this long to value the bonds we share with our family.  I might have grown up slightly different from others but at least I can say that I finally learned how strong family bonds can be.

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!