Category Archives: Parents

Iran??

It’s not very often I read something that completely shocks me.  I mean, I live in today’s world, and I try to educate myself on an many things as possible…I’m not necessarily book smart, just…observant I guess.  Anyway, I like to travel, and when I came upon a link in Facebook titled “the best places to travel in 2015,” I naturally clicked the link.  The article highlighted places like Cleveland, Houston, Norway, and Japan.  These places made sense.  I didn’t even flinch when I saw Cuba on the list.   With the few things in the news about Cuba, it made sense.  But then I stumbled upon a listing…Iran.  My mouth dropped.

Iran!!!  The same place with their hostile, unpredictable, and sometimes seemingly delusional leader.  Why would anyone want to travel there?  I initially laughed it off.  Even shared it with the P.I.C and dismissed the preposterous thought.  American’s probably can’t even travel there (like Cuba).  But then I thought for a second.  Do Americans travel there?  I began to do Google searches, and went onto TripAdvisor to see what types of things were being said.

My goodness…most comments or articles highlighted a friendly place that had a lot to offer, from a historical standpoint.  Sure, you are advised to travel with a guide, but getting in and out of the country seems to be an uneventful process.  I read multiple stories of how friendly the people are…going out of there way to be courteous to foreigners.  Even more, it seems that visitors from the Western world are rare, but Europeans visit without hesitation (that may be a slight exaggeration).

I know there is a lot of propaganda in our news, and I do my best to see beyond what they want us to know versus what’s actually true, but I never really thought that Iran could be a desirable place to visit.  I’m not saying I want to go there.  I like to travel for food, and I hear their food isn’t particularly appealing, but still.  My eyes have been opened.  Yes, tonight,  a post on Facebook taught me something.  Well done internet…well done.

Preparations

To prepare for something, is a good thing.  I get that, but what I don’t like is having to speak with my father about his preparation for when he’s no longer here.  Certainly, there’s no one on earth who is going to be here indefinitely.  We all recognize that there will be a time when our loved ones are no longer here.  For some of us, we have already lost close loved ones, so the thought is also a reality.  Even still, having to deal with it beforehand is not something that is desirable.

I’m mature enough t know that I need to have these talks with my dad.  I need to know where to find the deeds, and what the codes to the safe are, and who the mansions and yachts go to (me, my brother, or my sister).  But just because I know I should know, doesn’t mean I want to know, or more specifically…it doesn’t mean I want to face the reality of a future without my father.

But not only did I not want to have the conversation because of my fears, I didn’t want to have the conversation because of what he must have been thinking.  I mean seriously, how must it feel to have to begin to prepare a world…prepare your loved ones for when you’re gone?  Imagine getting a babysitter, dog sitter, house sitter.  That’s a temporary situation, but think about having to apply that to a situation where you know you’re never coming back.  The thing is, my dad is a smart guy.  He knows how important this stuff is, and he knows he has to prepare us for something that is eventually inevitable and out of his control, so I recognize how important this is.  I don’t know if his preparations mean he’s accepted that it will one day happen, or if he’s just being him (he is an all around prepared kind of individual).

The other thing to note is that we are not talking about a seventy or eighty year old man.  He’s not even in his sixties yet!!!  I guess that’s the other thing that seems so premature to me (“pop, I don’t want to talk about that”).  I guess I just assume he’s got a good twenty or thirty years ahead of him, which I’m sure he does and means he will have to prepare us multiple times as things change in his life.  Ugh!!!  I appreciate his goal, but I do hate the conversation.

Memories (Real Talk)

The meaning of life is debatable.  Each individual may have their own take on what that actually means.  But regardless of the meaning, I know one thing is important; we must create memories.  Not only for ourselves, but for our loved ones.  I was thinking earlier today (I don’t know what sparked these thoughts), but I was suddenly remembering playing board games with my mother and sister when I was young.  The feeling it gave me to think about those times was amazing.  We would play Payday, Life, or Sorry.  I don’t remember it being often, but I remember it was often enough.  Something that I really enjoyed doing.

I also remember playing card games with my mother, father, and sister.  We would play rummy 500.  I don’t remember how we did it, but we somehow made bets using pennies.  It was so much fun.  I also remember playing backgammon.  I don’t have such fond memories of that one as I remember feeling it was a difficult game to learn.  Too cerebral for a young buck like me, lol.

I hadn’t thought of these memories in years.  But they obviously are embedded in my mind.  They remind me of a time that was not nearly as complicated as the present.  But it also made me think about how important it is to have those moments.  It’s kind of silly because I’m sure a lot of what we do is an attempt at creating them.  However, it’s sometimes those small things that assist with their creation.  Nothing forced or manufactured.  Just an ability to have fun in the moment.  It was much easier to do then, but doesn’t excuse us from doing it now.

I’ve heard a saying that goes something like, it’s not the destination, it’s the journey that’s most important.  I think that’s meant for relationships, but it’s very true.  I think that’s why I like the movie “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”  It’s about cherishing memories, even if the destination was not planned (like a relationship that doesn’t last).  I guess my overall point is to have fun with life.  Create memories with the person you are with.  Create memories for your family.  Create memories for your children because as my thoughts earlier proved, they stick with you.  They make you feel good to think about.  It makes you love live for what it has given you, and the potential it has as well.  Just my thoughts.

Have a great, memory filled week!!!

(Not) Spam

I am a second, or a junior, or whatever you want to call it.  If you know me personally, you know that my name is not a very popular one.  I know this, so I don’t expect to run into many people (no one actually) with my name.

I also try to be very smart when dealing with the internet.  One thing I don’t do is open or answer emails from people I’m not expecting an email from.  If it looks suspicious, I don’t open it.  It goes straight into the trash.

Occasionally, I receive an email that is addressed from me.  Immediately I think I’m going to throw it into the trash.  Obviously, someone is spoofing my name and email and attempting to get some information from me.  Then I realize, there is at least one other person with my name….My Dad.  LOL.

It’s sad because it gets me every time.  Arrgh…it’s not spam!!!

Life’s Miracle

We already know this, but life can be so funny at times, and not always in a good way.  When I was younger, I wasn’t one who abstained from sex.  I tried my best to be careful to avoid STD’s, and to avoid an unwanted pregnancy.  In my mind, it had seemed as if you could get someone pregnant simply by a kiss.  It seemed as if so many people I knew had gotten pregnant and were faced with the tough choices of either keeping the baby, adoption, or abortion.  In hindsight, it probably was much less prevalent than I believed.

The funny thing is….I guess ironic would work too, is that I now know so many people who are”trying” to get pregnant.  When i was younger, i would have never thought that you would have to try…you just have unprotected sex and bam!!  But it’s not so.  As a matter of fact, it truly is a miracle.  There are so many factors that must come into play in order to successfully have a baby.

I’m not at a point where I’m looking to have kids, but I can’t imagine what it would be like to have trouble having them.  And on this day of my birth, I respect and appreciate the true miracle it is.  My thoughts and prayers go out to all of those who have tried and been unsuccessful (thus far), and those of you who have lost young ones.  God Bless!

Showing Some Discipline

What is the proper way to discipline kids these days?

I was reading a sports website earlier, and the comments deviated into a discussion on spanking.  The thoughts on the topic ranged, as you would probably guess, but it got me thinking.  How would I discipline my kids?  I don’t have any kids yet, so I’m not personally faced with this question, but it’s something that I’ve wondered about from a young age.  I had very old school parents, in that they felt that beatings were a proper way to get disciplined.  And frankly, I thought I was lucky as they described getting beat with extension cords in their younger years.  I was happy (not really) that my beatings only consisted of a belt.  I can’t say that it happened often, but it happened often enough, and wasn’t solely for the use by my parents.  Grandparents got their licks in too.  Speaking with friends of mine who had experienced similar discipline made me feel that this was normal.

Looking back on it, I’m grateful for those beatings.  I knew what was going on in my head, and had my parents not expressed their love in this way, I’m almost certain that I’d be in a much different position that I am today.  Did I like it?  Of course not.  Did it get their point across?  Definitely!  I knew what their triggers were, and I knew that they were serious.  Knowing how serious they were, I was able to begin to avoid the things that I knew might trigger them.  I didn’t feel they loved me any less, nor did I feel that they found joy in these beatings.  I even made them work for it at times (remembering a time I ran out of the room and down the stairs to get away from my father).  I was not beaten bloody, and I wasn’t scarred, but I was in enough pain to remember what I did wrong, and to not get caught again.

As I grew up, and as this type of punishment became less acceptable (publicly) I wondered what weapons I would have in trying to teach my kids right from wrong.  Sure, my parents put me “on punishment” and limited things I enjoyed to coerce me into learning how someone should act.  My father, the enforcer, was very clear in his objective.  He didn’t care if I loved him…as long as I grew up to be a good person, he’d known his efforts were successful.  We were not friends.  My mother, the wizard, participated in beatings but she was the queen of the evil eye.  I knew that when she shot me the look, I’d better straighten up or the enforcer would take care of me.  She was more of my friend (at the time).  She reasoned with me, and used other discipline techniques to get her point across.  I think the combination of techniques by the two of them was key.  But where does that leave me?  What do I do if I get a kid like me?

It’s scary, especially since times change so rapidly.  What he or she will be facing in this world will be vastly different than the world I live in.  I never believed in “time out,” and I’m not sure if  punishments alone will be enough.  In the thread I was reading, someone stated that every child is different.  There is no universal way of ensuring kids will stay on the right path and parents will have to adjust accordingly.  I guess that’s true, otherwise a book…a child rearing bible, if you will..would exist.  But that being said, is beating still a tool?  Is a belt too much?  How about a switch?  Open hand smacks on the bottom?  Broad punches to the chest for older boys (referred to as being “knocked” when I was younger)?  What will society allow me to do?  I guess I’ll have to hope I get it right when it’s my turn, but I’m curious to know your thoughts.  For parents, what have you found to be successful when disciplining your child.  For all, are beatings/spankings okay?

Love’s Pain

We were made to be emotional beings.  Some might say, that’s what separates us from animals, though that could be debated.  However, to feel emotion is to be alive.  Joy and happiness are things we strive for.  Though, to invite one emotion into your temple, is to open the door for others.

Love is one such emotion.  We pursue it with every ounce of our being, at times, never realizing that life is full of balance.  So to know love, is to breed pain.  I am no different, and I realize that love is something that I strive not only to find, but to be able to give.  But it’s that balance that I occasionally think of.  I know that love is a one way street, with speed limits of 65 plus miles an hour signs, and sharp curves that eventually lead to a dead end.  Full speed into hurt.  Many (myself included) have experienced that crash and though we, up until this point, have come out alive, we wear those scars.  Some of us wear them more prominently than others, but even if we cover them up in bright colored clothing, sporting a smile, the scars still exist.

Even more scary is that even if you’ve had a successful run with love, it all eventually comes to an end.  Almost seven years ago, I experienced the loss of my mother.  And though I can’t begin to explain the pain associated with that loss, I know as I looked into my fathers eyes, there was no pain greater than his.  It got me thinking about how they did all of the right things.  They came up from the ghetto to be successful business people, moved to the suburbs so their family could have a better life.  They raised three kids with level heads on their shoulders, and through their trials and tribulations found a way to make their marriage work by showering their love on one another.  Sometimes in grand fashion, and in ways that I have no knowledge of.  Yet, on that day we laid my mother to rest, my father was a broken man.  It wasn’t fair.  She, at the age of 48, was taken prematurely from a man that wanted nothing more than to go into old age with the women he loved.

It’s an extreme thought, but I began to wonder if it was worth it.  If no matter if you do everything right, or if you screw up constantly, your reward is pain, is it worth it?  That’s a narrow view, and as time wore on it became less and less of a concern.  As a rational human being, I know that the road in between; the things you do with one another to make each other happy, far outweighs the pain of the loss.  That includes losses due to your normal break ups.  But every once in awhile, I’m reminded that even if you do everything right..even if you nurture your relationship, make sacrifices, and let God be your guide, it all ends one way or another.  That’s a scary thought.

These rare and fleeting thoughts do not prevent me from trying my hand at love.  Living without it seems unfathomable, and though we have many reasons to live, giving and receiving love is still towards the top of that list.  But I can’t deny that occasionally, I may look into the eyes of the one I love, and shiver at the thought of losing her prematurely.  Regular break-ups may inspire signs of relief and rebirth, depending on your situation.  In those situations, you probably see the dead end coming and are able to brace yourself for the impact.  It’s the surprise curve, marked with a brick wall signaling a dead end that scares me.  No warning, great weather,open roads, and just when you’re ready to start cruising.  Maybe it’s different for those who make it to an old age together.  Maybe they’re better prepared.  I just can’t imagine losing my love that has driven that road of life with me for so long, in such final fashion.  I just pray that I enjoy it to the fullest while I have it (insert all of the cliche’s about cherishing those we love while their here because you never know how long they will be here).  It’s those things that make it worth it. Love’s joy, is greater than Love’s pain.  (sigh)