Dear Mr. Man…

April 17, 2009

Fatherhood Friday: Teach A Man To Fish

Filed under: Fatherhood Fridays — P. J. Easter @ 8:28 am
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This past weekend while I was downloading music, blogging, checking Facebook statuses, and “tweeting” doing some very important work for the good of mankind, J.C. looked particularly bored. As I looked out of the window in my study, I see The Boy going from house to house to see if any of his friends were home. Alas, they were not. I felt bad for The Boy, so Istopped downloading music, blogging,fatherhood-friday-logo2 checking Facebook statuses, and “tweeting” the important work that I was doing and took him for a bike ride. The rain had passed and it

was a beautiful Houston day in the springtime (meaning 80 degrees, sunny, and 41% humidity) as we began our trek through the neighborhood.  

We had ridden a couple of miles or so when he asked if we could go to the park. I thought that was a good idea because earlier he mentioned that his brakes were a little loose. When we arrive, he jumps off of his bike and runs to the playground and I began to adjust his brakes. Shortly thereafter a little boy around 5-years old shows up with his dad. As the other dad and I give each other the obligatory head nod, J.C. and the little boy begin to play.

A few minutes go by and I see the boys go over to the swings. J.C. helps the younger boy onto a swing and begins to instruct him on the proper way to achieve maximum altitude and velocity on the swing set. “First, you use your legs to push off on the ground”, J.C. explains. “Then you kick your legs forward as you go forward and back when you go backwards”. He completed his instruction and went to a swing of his own.

Shortly, the little boy began to lose altitude while my son was in full swing (pun intended). The little boy calls out to my son and says, “Hey. Come push me again.” My son tells him to wait just a second because he was enjoying his hang time. The boy (not to be confused with “The Boy”) tells J.C., “You don’t need to swing. I just want you to push me”.

I wanted to tell little Mr. Bossman that my boy doesn’t work for him, but instead I wanted to see how J.C. handled it. J.C. jumped off the swing in mid-air which evoked an “Awesome” from the younger boy and went over to push. I was astonished that J.C. would just submit to the dictatorial will of a 5-year old. Then he made me proud…

He began to push the boy again, only he began to repeat his instruction. “Okay, I’ll help. But I am gonna show you again so that you will know how to do it yourself…”

Teach a man to fish? In this case, “Teach a man to swing”. Hmmm. Maybe he is listening to me.

Man up.

Mr. Man

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April 9, 2009

Fatherhood Friday: “I Don’t Know”

Filed under: Fatherhood Fridays,Uncategorized — P. J. Easter @ 10:07 pm
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One Saturday morning (you pick which one), when Adi and I are sleeping in, I hear a ruckus downstairs in the great room. As I rush downstairs to see what’s going on, I hear J.C. yelling at the top of his lungs, “Get up! I was there first!” Now Adi is coming behind me as Bae screams back, “Let me go! Now!” fatherhood-friday1

“What is going on?” I asked (okay, technically I did ask a question. That’s not how it came across, I’m sure. To the kids, it probably sounded more like a roar).

The Boy and Bae start to speak simultaneously, creating a foreign language to this day I cannot decipher without saying the magic phrase:
“STOP IT! One at a time! Bae, tell me what’s going on.”
Bae begins to tell her version as The Boy objects to the way she’s telling it and a verbal duel ensues. I say the magic phrase again and begin my investigation.

ME: “Bae, what happened?”

Bae: “J.C. is tryin’ to make me get up from this seat.”

J.C.: “I was there first!”

ME: “Is that true, Bae?”

Bae says sullenly, “Yes.”

ME: “So why did you take The Boy’s seat?”

And here it comes. The moment my kids temporarily lose all of their common sense…

Bae looks me in the eyes and says, “I don’t know…”

ME: “What do you mean you don’t know? You took his chair, didn’t you?”

Bae: “Yes.”

Me: “You were present when this happened, right?”

Bae: “Yes.”

Me: “So, again, sweetie, tell me why did you take J.C.’s seat?”

Bae: “I don’t know.”

This is where I have the Charlie Brown moment. You know the one when Lucy pulls the football he’s trying to kick from under his feet? AUUUGGGHHH!!!!!

Adi just smiles because she knows I’m getting a taste of what she gets all of the time.

Mr. Man

April 3, 2009

Wisdom and Fools

Filed under: Fatherhood Fridays — P. J. Easter @ 2:13 pm
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      When Bae was born, I was scared. When J.C. was born, I still didn’t have the fatherhood thing down. Plain and simple. I didn’t really have any idea on how to be a father. My father, like so many others fathers in my neighborhood, wasn’t around after a certain point in my life (another story for another time). I didn’t have a role model to follow for fatherhood. So all I really knew was that I didn’t want to be like him. I knew I had to provide for them and I knew that I loved them That was the extent of my “daddy-wisdom”. There is no instruction book when it comes raising children. Or is there? fatherhood-friday-logo

The Book of Proverbs, found in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible is full of wisdom for dads and moms. Here are a few nuggets of wisdom found in Proverbs for fathers and parents in general.

·         “Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. I will guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths”. (4:10-11)

·         “Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you”.(2:11)

·         “My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck”.(3:21-22)

·         “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man”. (3:3-4)

·         “”Do not plot harm against your neighbor, who lives trustfully near you. Do not accuse a man for no reason—when he has done you no harm”. (3:27-30)

There are so many truths for life found in Proverbs. These truths, when applied to your life, will help you to become a better father, husband, and man. It will provide you children with a firm foundation for success in life. It will show you the difference between wisdom and fools.

Mr. Man

Here is a challenge: Every day for the next thirty-one days, read a chapter from Proverbs for additional wisdom for life. Let me know if you decide to do it. I am.

 

March 19, 2009

Fatherhood Friday:A New Kind of Cool

Filed under: Fatherhood Fridays — P. J. Easter @ 9:15 pm
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Q: Dear Mr. Man,

I turn forty this year and I am starting to think I’m “over the hill”.  How can I recapture my youth?

A: Sorry to be the one to break it to you, but attempting to recapture your youth is akin to Bobby Brown making a successful comeback. Sure, there are things you can do to ensure that you are living a healthy lifestyle. Physically there are lots of activities that we can do to maintain our vigor.  Aside from the physical aspects, I personally prefer my life today than where I was nearly 20 years ago. fatherhood-friday2

I’ve heard people say that “40 is the new 20”; I understand the spirit of that statement. However, I would counter that 40 is the new 40; which is a new kind of cool.

When I was in my early 20-somethings, life was crazy, confusing, and convoluted. I spent years trying to discover who I was and what I wanted and needed from life. Biologically an adult, but not truly a man. Full of mistakes and bad decisions, my 20’s were chaotic. I am fortunate in many ways; fortunate that I found my faith. Fortunate that Adi came into my life and helped stabilize me. This may not have been your experience, but it was very real for me. 

Fast forward to now. At almost 40, life is  creative, cultured, and cool. I am comfortable in who I am and what I believe. Adi helped me mature into manhood with her patience, tender strength, and support. My faith has grounded me. I am the father of two wonderful kids. A mentor and father figure of mine once told me he thought, “Life was ok. in my20’s. Then I turned 30. 30 was a great age for me, but things got really good around 40. Now I am in my 50’s and I feel like I’m on top of the world.” I didn’t understand when he first said this to me because I was in my 20’s.

Here is my Top 10 list of the “new kind of cool” I’m talking about.

It’s a “new kind of cool” to:

  1. Have faith in God and submit myself to a power greater than me.
  2. Have a wife to shower with adulation and to share my thoughts and fears and dreams with.
  3. Finding teaching moments when the boy and I play basketball (or any other activity)
  4. Know that I am the model my daughter looks to in order to know what type of man she will marry (even if she doesn’t know yet).
  5. Hear the heartbeat of my firstborn for the very first time through the ultrasound.
  6. Be the funniest guy in my house. My kids will laugh at almost anything.
  7. Learn someting new every day. And to share that knowledge.
  8. Have friends with the same values as you and aren’t afraid to correct you if you get off track.
  9. Serve others.
  10. To teach my kids to be respected for their work no matter what they may do for a living.

It’s a “new kind of cool” that many of you are choosing to man up each and every day in your own unique ways.

I like this new kind of cool. Do you?

Mr. Man

Question: What is your “new kind of cool”?

March 13, 2009

Fatherhood Friday: Kid Humor

Filed under: Fatherhood Fridays — P. J. Easter @ 7:56 pm

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Q: Dear Mr. Man,

Do you have any jokes you can share?

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A: Some days when I get home from work, J.C. or Bae greets me with a “new” joke that they have heard. Many of the jokes are classics that have been around for years. Others I have never heard before. The kids usually run the anecdotes by Adi first, so she gets the benefit of “first laugh”. Here are a few of their favorites:

Bae: Knock knock.

Me: Who’s there?

Bae: Noel.

Me: Noel who?

Bae: How many times do I have to tell you “Noel” -bows on the table?

Here is one of the boy’s favorites:

J.C. “So there is a duck that walks into the store and picks up a chocolate bar. The duck brings the candy to the counter and the cashier says, “Do you want to pay with cash or credit?” Then the duck says, “It’s okay. Just put it on my bill.” 

Here’s another from Bae: “Why don’t bears eat clowns?”

Me: Tell me why bears don’t eat clowns.

Bae: “Because they taste funny!”

And lastly, this gem from the boy.:

J.C.:” What did the skunk say when everyone was arguing in the courthouse?”

Adi: “What did he say?”

J.C. “Odor in the court!”

I really get a kick out of kid humor not so much because the jokes are particularly funny (okay..I do think they’re funny), but because my kids tell them with a zeal and freshness of a person discovering laughter for the first time.

Man up.

Mr. Man

March 6, 2009

Fatherhood Friday:The Daddy Daughter Dance

Filed under: Fatherhood Fridays — P. J. Easter @ 12:20 am

 

 

dsc02323Q: Dear Mr. Man,

I like to do special “Daddy/Daughter Dates” with my little girl. Can you share something special that you and your daughter do?

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A: There are so many things that I enjoy doing  with my little girl. Bae is an avid sports fan (moreso than the boy when it comes to watching), so we enjoy hanging out and watching our local sports teams together. With college sports we enjoy talking trash to each other. I support the Texas A&M Aggies, she roots for the Texas Longhorns (I don’t know where I went wrong on that one). She likes it when I take her shopping (of course). She also loves going to Rocket City Fun Station and Joe’s Crab Shack.  We love to cook together. She seasons the meat and I grill it (think of the “Tim ‘The Toolman’ Taylor” noise at this point). However, there is one event that we have done every year since she was six years old. The Daddy Daughter Dance.

For those of you that may not be familiar with this, many churches and private schools host this event which is designed to build upon the bonds of the father/daughter relationship. I, like most fathers I know, also use this event as another opportunity to teach our girls how they should be treated by when they start dating.  Bae knows not to get in or out of the car unless the young man is standing on the other side of the door to open it (I forgot once and she sat in the car until I remembered). Communication is reinforced. She is to talk with respect and to be spoken to in the same way. She learned early on not to ever be coerced into doing something she doen’t want to do. As for the dance itself, there is hardly any dancing being done by us. She tells me that she is shy (I don’t see it at home). One maybe two dances at the end is all I normally get. As she gets older she is more concerned about being embarrassed in front of her friends. And that’s okay. Because for that special evening, it is just me and her. And I don’t know who loves it more.

She’s eleven now and I have to work harder now to find the common interests between us. I know I need to be more interested in Claire’s and The Limited Too and Hannah Montana than she needs to be interested in the things I like.  At some point, she will become interested in boys and Adi and my lives will be turned upside down. Even so, when does begin to go out, I hope she will remember Daddy as her first date and the lessons learned.

Mr. Man

February 26, 2009

Fatherhood Friday: Winners and Losers

Filed under: Fatherhood Fridays — P. J. Easter @ 10:36 pm

 

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Q: Dear Mr. Man.

My kid plays in a sports league that doesn’t keep score. How do I teach him about winners and losers?   fatherhood-friday

A: My son, JC, plays in a church basketball league (which I have coached for the last three years). The league is an outreach to our local community to expose kids and parents to our faith who may not otherwise come to know the Lord. As a coach in this league, the goal is to love on the kids with the love of Christ and, if we could squeeze in the fundamentals of basketball, then that was the bonus. This year, I was unable to coach due to an ankle injury (previously mentioned in another post in this blog). So Adi, Bae, and I sat on the sidelines and cheered for my son and his team every Saturday morning.

We would really get into the action. We would yell and holler from the sidelines with every great pass and spectacular shot. We would watch the kids run up and down the court while occasionally having to stop to tie their shoestrings.

Every parent in the stands knew that there was no official score, but that did not keep parents and coaches from keeping their own tallies.

After each game, JC would look at me with a certain pride in his eyes and say, “We won, Daddy. Didn’t we?” Although I had it in my mind who won the game, I wanted to support the goal of the league, because the lessons are invaluable:

JC: “We won, Daddy. Didn’t we?”

Me: “Everyone was a winner today, son.”

JC: “How can that be, Dad, when we got more baskets than ’em?”

Me: “Because everyone is a winner in God’s eyes, JC.”

I talk to him regularly about good sportsmanship. I talk to him about allowing an opponent to lose with his dignity intact because , if he loses, he would want the same. I let him know that I believe that how the contest is fought is more important than who wins or loses the game. I tell him to be proud of his effort and to accept criticism for what its worth.  Although these are difficult lessons for him to understand, I pray that one day my words will be remembered as well as the lessons I try to impart.

I understand that if I don’t teach him the right way to man up, he never will.

Mr. Man

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