Archive for February, 2009

Lessons learned…

February 4, 2009
I decided to sit here tonight and try to capture some words of advice for my guys- you know the type of stuff you learn as an adult that you wished that someone would have clued you into earlier in life. This is by no means an all inclusive list, just a reminder of a few lessons that I should teach them along the way. Forgive me for the ones that are a bit cliché, but they do provide some valuable insight. I’ll be adding more as I go, so if you have a favorite lesson that you would like to contribute please feel free.

Find that boy in your class who has no friends and become his first.

Ladies first, even though some will say it is sexist- be a gentlemen anyway.

Never buy a magazine subscription from someone selling them door to door.

Respect your elders- they know a lot more about life than you and they’ll willingly share if they think you’re worth it.

Remember your mom’s birthday- call her from wherever you are just to let her know that she’s special enough to commit to memory.

Treat women as equals- there’s no such thing as the weaker sex.

You’re never stuck- you always have choices.

Don’t settle for anything less than the love of your life.

Never judge a book by it’s cover- it’s what’s inside that makes the story.

Money cannot buy happiness- so choose a profession that allows you time with your family.

Start saving 50% of everything you make- by the time your old enough to have a real job it will be second nature.

Own a pet and recognize the significance of having another living creature completely dependent on you for everything- with luck, you’ll see this again.

When you have your own kids, match every “No” with a “Yes”.

Mayonnaise is not an instrument. (the boys will understand this one)

You will never be too old, too big or too cool to kiss your old man.

Take a nap as often as you can- the clock is ticking on this privilege and you’re going to regret not taking advantage of it sooner than you think.

Play a team sport but never use the letter “I” to describe accomplishments made on the field- use the word “we” instead.

Algebra sucks- do not seek help from your father when you take this course in high school. Go to your mother instead.

Tell your brother how much he means to you- have no regrets at the end off your life regarding this relationship.

Unplug your life and read a book.

Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion in the face of opposition- be courageous.

Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss while you’re at it- dental care is friggin’ expensive.

Become a dentist; they make a lot of money.

By the way “friggin’” is a dirty word unless you’re a former Marine Drill Instructor- so don’t use it.

Make sure you vote- I fought for that right and can’t stand people who are too lazy to exercise the privilege.

They say life is tough, but even tougher when you’re stupid- work hard in school.

Never let another person speak poorly of your brother. There is no greater bond than the one you share with him- so honor it accordingly.

Speaking of your brother create a special handshake, build a tree fort or a share a secret- 20-years from now you’ll revisit these things over a beer at Christmas or during a random cell phone call.

If you never try because you’re afraid to fail, you’ll never succeed.

When overwhelmed with work, do the hardest task first.

When you use the bathroom, flush the damn toilet.

Stand and place your hand over your heart when you hear the national anthem- don‘t be ashamed if you’re moved to tears, it was designed to stir emotion.

Never bad mouth a friend over email- the next inbox that it will find will be his.

It’s okay if you get choked up while watching a movie or a particularly touching commercial- if you’re embarrassed, tell people you have allergies.

Saying you’re sorry doesn’t hurt and it‘s completely free- additionally, the quicker you say it the more likely you are to repair the damage.

When you make a mistake “man-up” and claim it- it’s the quickest way to earn a person’s respect or lose a job, it really could go either way.

Try to remove the word “hate” from your vocabulary. While your at it, remove the word “cute” as well- I can’t stand that word.

Remember me for what I tried to be your entire life- a role model, a loving father and your biggest ally- forgive me for those times when I failed to achieve any of the three.

NYR #15

February 2, 2009
As stated in an earlier post, I helped Mack build a robot made from household refuse. The intent of the project was to use as many different geometrical shapes as you could find. Part two of the project was to write a paragraph about your robot. Mack was even given the option of typing his narrative. This is his paragraph to go along with the homemade action figure:

The name of my robot is Roboto. I named him Roboto because he is a robot and he is cool that is why I named him Roboto. I made him a helmet out of a wine glass and I made a straw for an air pipe. His body is a rectangular prism . One of his arms is a rectangular prism and his other is a cylinder. His jet-pack is a pyramid with a rocket launcher on it. His legs are both cylinders made out of wrapping paper rolls. I made it on Saturday and I made it with my dad and that was fun too.

Granted, the paragraph doesn’t exactly move you to the edge of your seat- but I believe there is much we can learn about who my boy is from this simple narrative. For instance:

Mack is apparently a fan of early 80’s pop music and the band Styx. However, he was visibly perplexed when I showed him how “down” his old man was by singing this popular 80’s chorus- “Any body gotto Mr. Roboto- domo, domo”. He looked annoyed and walked away- maybe he isn’t as big a fan as I thought.

Mack loves the word prism. He must have gotten this from his mother who firmly believes that I would look really good driving one. Personally, I’m not sold that anyone looks good driving a Geo Prism.

Mack’s selection of helmet building material suggest that our family has excess wine drinking paraphernalia laying around the house- wonder how this went over with his teacher? Come to think of it, if I had to face 7-hours trapped alone with a gang of 8-year olds I’d probably appreciate having a wine glass handy.

The fact that a straw is directly linked to the wine glass suggests that his father was involved in the construction of Mr. Roboto- “domo, domo” (sorry I can’t help myself).

Mack loves his weaponry- even a benign space-being from the future should come equipped with rocket launchers. This was a compromise- his original intent was to give Mr. Roboto some “Edward Scissor Hands” appendages, but I convinced him that was a bit much for third grade.

Finally, the last sentence suggests that the kid really, really loves me forcing homework down his throat on a Saturday morning or that he wrote exactly what I told him to in order to escape further pain.