Show your children what is possible and they will conquer the impossible.
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
There Is No Bond Stronger
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.
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
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!
Eyes Wide Open
When something life changing happens in our lives, we no longer see the world as it once was. We tend to take things a little slower, take deeper breaths, smile more and soak in all the mundane and ordinary stuff that we normally overlooked in our hectic lives.
Why does it have to take something so drastic for us to stop and truly appreciate all that we have in life? We get so caught up in paying our bills, material things that we don’t really need and disregarding the time that could be spent with friends and loved ones.
Our society has us so desensitized as to what we really should be paying attention to. That’s just wrong. Granted there are a lot of terrible things happening in the world today but that shouldn’t stop us from really taking stock in what’s most important in our lives.
A good laugh, reminiscing on all the great times we’ve experienced, watching your kids growing up, hugging and kissing your spouse, spending quality time with your parent, give thanks for our parents for raising us, cuddling your pet, getting soaking wet in the rain…just the simple things.
We all need to get out of daily routine once in a while and truly enjoy what we have around us. If we could just do that every so often, our lives will have much more meaning…much more value.
Please don’t let a tragedy occur in order for us to really see all the great things in front of us that we ignored. Enjoy life because it really is too short. Do what makes you laugh, smile, sing or dance. Thank God for the life you’ve had and for what you’ve got. Help those around you in need of assistance. Create a bucket list and starting living before life has passed you by.
Love Hard, Laugh Hard and Live Hard! Live for yourself, live for your loved ones…live without fear and unabashed enthusiasm!
Anime…not just animation but a “way of life”.
Since I was a young boy, I’ve been a product of the TV generation. It was always TV, TV, TV…could never quite get into listening to the radio to pass the time away. For me it was, “What’s the latest thing on TV that’ll keep my attention for this week” scenario. I was glued to the TV anxiously waiting for the latest cartoon or live action show that really and truly “WOWed” me.
It was a time when there was no cable TV or 24 hour viewing of thousands upon thousands of channels. It was either black & white or color TV with three or four stations that had a sign on and sign off time…this meant that television stations started their broadcast day at 5 or 6am and went dark at 12 midnight. Believe me this really sucked and wished I could’ve been born in the 21st Century.
But as product of growing up in Honolulu, Hawaii in the 70’s with KIKU-TV, I was fortunate to view different types of shows that the rest of the nation were not readily exposed to. I got to see:
Every week I made sure that the adults knew that Saturday’s between 6-7pm was my time to watch “my” programs. This was my world and I absolutely LOVED IT! It was such a mind trip seeing these fantastical beings doing action stuff.
I couldn’t get enough of it. Week in and week out my mind would wonder what each new episode would reveal. After their run ended, the station broadened their scope and started featuring such cartoons like:
I called them cartoons because back then that’s what they were known as “cartoons”; anime was not readily said in those times. Watching this was a change of pace from the “live action” stuff, but was AWESOMELY COOL nonetheless. After its run, the station starting airing more passive cartoons like
Candy Candy and Ikkyu-San; granted I gave it a shot and watched a couple of episodes but quickly decided that it was not my usual fare. A couple years after, that station soon stopped airing kids’ shows and concentrated on more adult themed programs.
As I advanced in age, I started watching the usual stuff like G.I. Joe, Transformers, Thundercats, and Silverhawks but nothing really captured my attention as “MUST SEE.” My life felt a little hollow and there were times when I longed to be fully invested in something different again.
In the late 80’s, our household got cable; back then the viewing was not like how it is in 2016, channels didn’t quite reach the 100 mark but it was different nonetheless.
One fateful day, I flipped the channel to Fuji Television and stumbled across Hokuto No Ken (Fist of the North Star).
With eyes widened and mouth agape; I stood there in silence. I was completely floored; the animation wasn’t as crude like it was in the 70’s and the action was off the charts. As soon as it ended I had an “OMG WTF just happened!!!” moment.
Something stirred from within; that hollow space was now whole again and I had to watch another episode, and another, and another. This became “MUST SEE” TV for me again. It was my first exposure to the world of Japanese animation…I became invested in a series once again and I LIKED IT!
The series ran for a couple of years and ended to my dismay. I was starved for more and eagerly scoured their listing for any and all new animation but no such luck. More adult themed shows popped up again and I was back to feeling empty inside.
Fast track to the 90’s…with the advent of the internet and the progression it made, I soon stumbled across internet sites where they featured Japanese “anime” for viewing entertainment. Now this was where I first came across the term “anime” and was awed at all the types of series that were out there.
The graphics were more refined and the movement and action were almost human-like. This was mind-blowingly insane and there were no words to describe my thoughts. I viewed a whole bunch of anime but was somehow drawn at the time to a series called Naruto.
I liked the concept and idea of the shinobi and their fighting aspects AND I thought the hand gestures to use certain jutsu’s was remarkably cool to boot. I followed the Naruto series religiously and all of the movies in-between.
When it ended, I was depressed that I would follow the same pattern as before BUT was pleasantly surprised that it continued on in the form of Naruto Shippuden…AND there were more movies to follow as well. I was in absolute heaven…so, this was “anime”…it was purely orgasmic to be a part of this world.
Living in the 21st Century and having two kids who are into “anime” helps to broaden my horizons as well. They introduce me to shows that they think I might like:
With a cornucopia of anime programs out there, it’s impossible to view every single one. Having extra pair of eyes helps to filter the awesome ones from the not so interesting ones. Such a time saver.
I’m glad that I went on this journey of discovery (and evolution) of Japanese animation. AND through all this, I learned that “anime” was not just a thing…but a way of life. It was a lifestyle that I had to experience to fill a part of my soul.
Babysitting is difficult and often considered a chore
To those that see this as a task will often hate it more
Watching over children is quite difficult to do,
when their screaming and yelling are all taunting you
Your patience is tried, your nerves are all bent,
you wonder and wonder where your intelligence went
“Why me?! Why me?!” is what you will think,
The message is clear, damn you need a drink
Before that sip is taken, think back and reminisce
of those great childhood days that you so often miss
To be a child and see the fun things in life
is better than coping with the stress and the strife
Being happy, carefree, while being young and so small
is the greatest feeling to have most of all
It’s no different now than it was back before
Only thing is you understand it even more
You’ve now realized what your parents went through
You’ve known all along it would happen to you
Take heed my child for you’ve surely grown
Let this come to mind and let it be known
Your help was required because you understand and care
Your sympathy and kindness to the children should you share
So remember this poem for one day you’ll see
You’ll go through this again when you start your family.