Walk the Walk

The poet Carl Sandburg once said, “I won’t take my religion from any man who never works except with his mouth.” Sandburg’s point crosses all disciplines and certainly is a precept that dads and moms can share with their teenagers: Talk is cheap. If you want to get ahead in the world and make your mark, you have to get involved and invest sweat equity. It’s popular to say, “If you talk the talk, you must also walk the walk.” It’s popular because it’s true.

The following is not original, but for the life of us, we can’t find the source. So we share it anyway because the message is important:

A story about everybody and nobody

There were four persons named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job to be done, and Everybody was asked to pitch in. Everybody was sure Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when actually Nobody asked Anybody.

Holding the bag

If you need to pause here to clear your head, that’s fine. Then ask your teenager if or she has ever been the victim of an unfinished job—or has ever been left “holding the bag,” as another popular saying goes. It is especially unsettling when the job may have been someone else’s in the first place and all he or she got accomplished was to talk about doing the job. Then somehow the expectation became someone else’s burden to carry.

Loose ends

Things go wrong and projects fall through because someone assumes that someone else will gather and tie up the loose ends. What if the stage crew at school failed to fasten down the flats for the school play? What if your teenager’s teacher graded only the first two pages of the term papers? What if the football team practiced offense all day and never worked on defense?

Work or watch

Following through when you say you’re going to do something can be a positive ID tag. Leaving loose ends dangling can be a negative label. We all know people who are eager self-starters—they start jobs but never see them through. You’re familiar with those professional movers—those who pick up the load and move it to your shoulders?

Remind your teen that leaving a job unfinished is a bad habit that comes with a surefire guarantee. When a person fails to finish the job, s/he seldom is called upon for another job. S/He becomes a spectator, watching others reach success.

By dads2dads

Be Mine

Note to Dads: 2-14-20 is Valentine’s Day. There’s still time to get that special someone something but you’re running short on time. Just make sure it’s more than a cheap card you pick up at the gas station while you’re filling up. Give it at least a little thought this morning and take a few minutes during lunch to run the errand and put yourself in good stead.

Make a card, write a poem, buy a special book, pick up some flowers or candy. Just do something special for that special someone.

Why?

Because it’s important. Sure it’s traditional. But if this day didn’t exist, many of us wouldn’t get around to expressing love for that special someone.

We’re talking about love and we’re going to focus on your spouse. If you happen to be separated, then honor your child by showering love on him or her.

We often hear “Oh, my wife already knows that I love her.” Or “It’s just some made-up holiday. I don’t like to be dictated to.” Or “It seems so contrived. I think there should be a good reason to say ‘I love you.’ ”

Well, brother, we’re here to tell you, “Get into it!” Today, show how much you care.  Say “I love you”. Kids need it, spouses love to hear it.

Expressing Love

We sure don’t tell our teens enough that we love them and we don’t tell our spouses often enough either. As we’ve said before, it’s free, it’s needed and it’s highly effective. On Valentine’s Day, it’s ok to say, “I love you.” Your special someone need not have done anything special. There doesn’t need to be a reason. Valentine’s Day is the reason. Watch the reaction.

Children watch how parents treat each other. They learn that way. As they grow it’s a pretty good bet they will treat their special someone that way. The important thing is not what you do but that you do something to show your love. Re-connect with your spouse on this special day. You’ll thank us tomorrow.

The Art of Kindness

Love is its own power. How often are we loving and kind? We stumble through many days, besieged by challenges, obstacles, and competition. Sometimes it seems like a war zone. Some of us are in a war zone, far away from loved ones. But as the Bible says, love is patient and kind. It doesn’t keep score. It always hopes, always perseveres, never fails.

This is the day to try it out. And don’t let it end today. As Shakespeare wrote, “Love lives not alone immured in the brain but with the motion of all elements,
courses as swift as thought in every power,
and gives to every power a double power, above their functions and their offices.”

So don’t let Valentine’s Day go by. Create something special with a gift you’ve made or purchased. Say “I love you,” and watch the reaction. This could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

By dads2dads

Goof Off With Your Kid

Hey, dad, ask your teenager if the school principal ever said, “It’s about time you started goofing off.” Or has your boss at work ever said, “Quit working so hard. Goof off a little”? When was the last time someone at home ordered, “Get with it—goof off some.”? Sounds ridiculous, right?

We adults give each other that kind of advice all the time and it seems perfectly acceptable. We say things like, “Hey, it’s time you stopped working so hard.” “You deserve a break.” “Quit taking everything so seriously.” “Lighten up!” or “Relax! You need a vacation.” All of us get too caught up in the daily, hourly, minute-by-minute grind of living. We do take many things much too seriously.

Dad, go ahead, tell your teenager to goof off a little, to take a break. And goof off right along with him or her. Join forces and do something fun, silly, off the cuff. Find the nearest arcade. Play golf or tennis or go bowling. Rent a tandem bike. Blow the dust off the ball and gloves and play catch. Visit the nearest elementary school and get dizzy on the merry-go-round. Top it off with three scoops of ice cream … or flag down one of those musical ice cream trucks that haunt some of the suburbs.

Pull mom into the fray. (She may resist because “someone has to fold the laundry.”) Help her. Make a game of it. Play catch with socks … put them on your ears … tie several together and try shooting hook shots into the clothes basket. When mom throws a fit and bars you from the room, hit the frig and build a tall scrumptious sandwich. When mom threatens you with the iron skillet, promptly grab the sandwich, vacate the kitchen and have a picnic under a tree.

Yeah, we know what you’re thinking. Are you guys nuts? Well, maybe we all need to go a little nuts. Goofing off requires skill, imagination and finesse. It’s not malicious and nor ever intended to harm anyone. (Mom’s really laughing to herself.) It’s merely a prescription for letting off steam—for putting some life into your life. Doctors tell us that laughter produces a positive physiological effect on our bodies. It releases tension. And because of the changes it creates in our body chemistry, laughter can actually heal. So self-medicate. Goof off a little.

By dads2dads