How I Stopped Thinking About Football During Church- ( And Other Keys To Succeeding In LIfe )

We all think we have a hold on what we need to do in life to have a sense of success. To say we are doing well, that we have arrived in this game called life. We all think this until another new study comes out that tells us that in order to be successful you must know the 7 keys to success. We must have a working knowledge of the  5 habits of highly successful people.  Of course if you don’t know the 6 things every man needs to know about a woman you are lost as well.

What surprises me the most about the world we live in is the way people look to others to tell them if they should be happy or not. We actually read things to help us determine whether or not we are feeling ok or whether or not we need to seek help. I hear more and more people saying things like  ” is that normal ” when referring to something they like or they think. People are so good at looking to others to find out if they should be ok or not.

So what should we do when we are seeking to know how we feel in our life? Should we compare how others are doing and see if they are happy, sad or indifferent then make a choice to act the same way? Should we read up on all the latest books on how to feel great and have confidence? You know that if someone wrote a book on feeling great, they likely didn’t feel that great at one time in their life. You know if someone is writing a book on how to have self confidence they once were insecure, right? But we don’t dig that deep because we are too interested in how to be in line with what the rest of people are doing and saying about how we should feel.

The most freedom one can have from this type of bondage is too be secure enough in ourselves to enjoy our life just the way it is. We need to enjoy each moment and not be concerned with whether or not our current feelings match with everyone else’s. If we can learn to find the good in each situation we are in, instead of trying to find a ” good ” situation to be in we will experience true peace in our lives. If we wait for everything to line up in our lives perfectly we will never have any peace because they rarely do. The secret to getting over this problem is to slow things down to what we are doing right now and to look for some good things in it.

Don’t get caught in the trap of waiting for things to reach a certain place to enjoy them. As a parent, I recall a time when my children were very young and it was diapers and feeding. I waited for the time they could wear underwear and feed themselves. When it did occur, I began to imagine what it would be like when they could take themselves to their own appointments and sporting events. Now that they are older I find myself thinking of how great it was when they needed me more! We do this in so many areas of our lives that we miss the journey because we wait for the destination. We don’t take time to enjoy what is in front of us because the media has told us that we will not have true enjoyment until we get something else.

I decided long ago to discipline myself and pay attention to what is right in front of me and quit thinking that it was something ahead that was going to give me peace. I have found that the world will keep on turning even of I stop to enjoy what I am doing right now. As a matter of fact this is how I began to stop thinking about football during church- and now I listen to the sermon instead. No matter what you are doing take time to enjoy it because what you are waiting for likely will not live up to the hype anyhow. Live in the now!


Don’t Label My Kid!

Parenting Series- Why Dont All Children Have The Skills That Mine Do? (The Delusional Parent)

I must confess that I occasionally will glance for a brief moment at the  ” People of Wal-Mart ” clips that are out on the internet. When you spend as much time at the place as we do, its almost like watching home movies. The people in these clips are very unusual -they seem to have no idea that what they are wearing is causing people to laugh at them and even film them . Perhaps they do it for the attention alone, I really am not sure. One thing I do know is that my state is privileged to be in the top 5 most popular of the Wal-Mart people states. Personally I attribute this to the fact that ours is a 24 hour store, and is right next to the interstate. I think people are cruising down the interstate at 3am in their bunny rabbit pajamas with the 5 foot tail, and they just get the urge to hop through .

At any rate its clearly something that is reserved for the cerebrally challenged. Thank the Lord my relatives are not in there. My family was brought up different, we know what is proper and what is not. My father had taken parenting classes in prison and mom was the best behaved on her unit before they met and I was around. Needless to say I am blessed and therefore I don’t judge the less fortunate. I actually got into the human services as a way to give back a little something. I help those parents who may not see the error of their way and gently nudge them back on course. Not all parents have the training I have so its the least I can do.

I wasn’t always the parent I am today though-it was rough in the beginning. I will never forget one incident that took place when I was just a young dad. My first son, Micah was about 1and 1/2 years old and we were just walking into the local grocery store. He always loved to sit in the cart in the kid holder . I pushed the cart in and remember stopping at the restroom to change his pull-up. We  then started down the first aisle and gathered the things we needed and made it through the second one quickly. I think it was when we were rounding the 2nd when I noticed it and quickly hit the brakes. I had glanced at the floor and saw what looked like a line of round brown dots following us around the corner. This may have been my first child, but it was not my first awkward incident with him. I knew right away what time it was, and I was ready to handle it accordingly.

I put one hand on the cart and one hand  on the floor clutching a wad of paper towels, casually squatted down and pushed the dripping boy as I waddled forward wiping the floor -I doubt anyone even caught it. I got that boy to the restroom fast and before I knew it he was good as new and we were back on the road, aisle 4 looking for more. We had a good time as we strolled through the aisles just me and my boy picking out the sugar filled snacks and the least healthy things we could. I must admit, I was feeling good about my parenting skills as I knew what I had just gotten away with. It was time to head home and momma would never know about the little incident so all was good. I rolled up to the checkout counter and started to unload the groceries onto the counter, when suddenly I met eyes with the checkout lady… ” Oh My Lord! What is that horrible smell? ” she yelled. The entire line was peeking up at us now and the next line over was taking a look too. Nosey people, what were they looking at anyway?

I continues to unload the groceries realizing that maybe the odor from the boy was not completely gone. Oh well, if that’s the worst thing that happens to her all day she should be happy. I tossed the last of the groceries (the ones that were directly under my son in the cart) up onto the counter and suddenly everything was slow motion it seemed. The meat was slowly sailing through the air and the girl was starting to back up and her eyes got really big… ” Its on the meat- there it is! Nasty!” she screamed as she ran from her counter and our cart. I guess I missed a few spots when I cleaned up, a little of the brown stuff had leaked down onto the meat below the kid seat. Now I was completely busted, the whole line was laughing and then I even heard someone announce cleanup needed at checkout.
I made the best of it and slowly made my way to the door and out to the truck.

I think of that story often and wonder what people must have thought of me as a parent. I tried so hard to do all the right things but somehow I just could not cover all the bases. Today when I see other parents with small children struggling, I often will joke with them about how I can relate. It turns out there are no perfect parents and we all have those moments. Just when I am about to judge the way someone else’s child is behaving, my own will remind me publicly that we all have issues. I have taught parenting classes over the years and been involved in many family trainings for my work. I rarely have run across a parent who did not want the best for their child or who was not making an effort to teach them right and wrong. What I have seen consistently over the 20 years in social services is the lack of parenting skills and the lack of confidence in the parents. Besides these factors the only thing I have seen more frequently that does damage, is the parent who is simply doing exactly what was done to them when they were a child.

There is another group that I have seen that are much more difficult to work with, and one that causes much more damage. The group who seems as if they are not interested in being parents, but have no choice. It is important that this group get help since they likely are doing things and saying things that are hurting the children. As a social worker, these are the parents I tried to get to the quickest and work out a plan for parenting and in rare cases a plan for foster care or other long term care. No matter what the issues most parents just lack basic parenting skills and are well meaning people. The best thing we can do for the young or untrained parent is to help them. Offer some assistance, not in a judgmental way but as a friend.

The truth is that we all have weak points and strong points in our parenting skills. Some are more obvious then others, that’s all. Its not so much that we are the better parents – just that not everyone knows our grocery store stories…lol


Parenting Series- Why Isnt My Kid Turning Out Like I Decided He Would?

I have been around for awhile now, been a parent for 20 years or so. I like to think I have tested and tried most of the good parenting techniques. Sometimes I even feel a sense of accomplishment at how I did in some areas. I truly understand why different people use different parenting styles. I didn’t say I always condone the styles, but I think I get why people do what they do. It is actually very similar to the view I have on addiction. I also feel I understand why people use drugs, alcohol to mask pain and for other reasons. I cannot say I think that self medication is the best solution, but I really do get it, when it comes to the why of it all, maybe that’s because I have been there myself.

There is one style of parenting that I will never understand. The parenting style where the dad goes to his son’s football games, scolds his son when he is not perfect, yells at him in front of his friends, and acts like his life depends on whether this pee wee football game is won by his 10 year old son. This dad is clearly insecure, was likely picked on as a kid, and maybe stunk up the football field as a child. He is selfish and considers not the lifelong consequences of his verbal abuse of his own child. He takes no thought at the idea that maybe it is he who is the loser for treating another human being like this. He does not consider the fact that he is using a 10 year old to validate his sorry feelings about being a loser himself as a child. This dad is ruthless.


You will know this dad by his loud and harsh voice tone after each fail his son has. He can easily be spotted by looking for the 10 year old who has a red face, and tears falling down his cheek as he looks embarrassed by his father’s actions. Fearful, the boy continues to listen and nod to agree with his father at any cost just to avoid any more shame. This arrogant and selfish dad gets off by venting his own insecurities on his son, who he knows is too young and vulnerable to fight back. He takes advantage of the fact that his own flesh and blood has failed and capitalizes on his weakness in this time. This dad is all too common today and should never be allowed to parent, or even speak to a child. Finally, if this dad wants to call anyone a loser, and get his jollys by hurting others, perhaps he should start by looking in the mirror where the real loser stands.

Stand up to bullying parents. That’s abuse and unacceptable.