Posts Tagged ‘kids’

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We are…losing grasp on what is important

November 10, 2011

After all the events that transpired since the weekend and then the 10:00 news conference last night, I am, like many, saddened.

But not like most die-hard Penn State fans. Not like the ones who are crying foul that their beloved head coach has been treated so poorly by administration, media, and some fans; that he himself has faced a criminal act. No I am sad that people are placing a higher value on the game of football and a coach, than the true criminals who hurt and abused countless little boys in University facilities.

How can anyone lose sight that the real issue here isn’t an NCAA violation, it is the violation and vile acts against innocent children? Sure, I am bitter. I spent 35 years cheering for a man and program that up until last week I would have defended like my own. And the weight of feeling cheated and let down is crushing.

I can see why people can’t let go and acknowledge this was indeed the right thing to do. In a world that seems to get more violent, disgraceful, disgusting, and selfish every day; there was a man whose values rose above those acts; a man who single-handedly changed a game, a city, a University, and even a culture.

And it just that reason why I feel no sympathy or sadness for Joe. Had he truly been the man above, he would have used that idol status that so many in central PA and around the country anointed him, to do the right thing. To go above and beyond a protocol, to tirelessly defend those who can’t defend themselves, and selflessly, not selfishly put himself out there at all costs.

Everyone makes mistakes and ironically the biggest mistake this icon made, might be the best lesson he inadvertently taught. As a society, we all fail, when we sit idly by and hope someone else will make things better. All 6’5 and 230 of Mike McQueary could have been used to stop a stomach churning event and helped a little boy who God only knows how much he has suffered and sadly will probably always continue to do so. Instead he cowardly left, he left the facilities. He talked to his father and then to Joe and they left it up to someone else, who then left that repulsive excuse for a human, back into their facilities until last week.

I hope as a society we all take back responsibility, accountability, and respect in ourselves so that we feel empowered as individuals to make a difference and do the right thing, especially when those decisions and actions impact the world’s greatest gift, our children.

I’m not sure if I will watch this weekend. I so badly want to move on and cheer loudly for the 125 young men who want nothing more than to escape on the football field and do what they love. They have done nothing wrong. However, at this time cheering for a game seems wrong and almost inappropriate in light of what has happened. I’d rather cheer knowing that those guilty will never see the light of day again and for any victims who have overcome this. It is their strength, comfort, and peace I pray for.

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I haven’t had a bad day.

February 17, 2011

As funny as that sounds I need to remind myself of just that. I haven’t had a bad day.

My wife recently shared another sad story from her work at Riley. I’ll save the details except that another preventable and unthinkable act was taken and the result is a child who will live the rest of their life hooked up to a machine. The child was never really loved and will never experience the most simple of activities going forward. Sliding down a slide, walking in a park, and even giving a hug. I never faced such adversity as a child. I have a loving family who has supported, encouraged, loved, and fostered my growth even as an adult.

I haven’t had a bad day.

One of our close friends is a facing a battle with their child that I can only image tests every fiber of their being and every thread of their core. I don’t know how they do it and I only hope that one day I can be that strong. Honestly, I actually hope I never have to be that strong. My kids are laughing, my kids are growing, my kids are healthy and my kids are loved.

I haven’t had a bad day.

I recently read another story about a young person who committed suicide as a result of bullying. Some of these kids are harassed because of their weight, sexual orientation, religion, beliefs, and sometimes simply because they are individuals in a world of conformists. What a shame. What a shame in 2011 we can’t embrace the differences that all make us unique and work together towards common goals that only help humanity, not tear down what makes us human. I’ve never had to feel like I couldn’t be myself. I’ve had family and friends who have put their love and trust in me and in return helped me know my place in the world.

I haven’t had a bad day.

I am guilty, just like the rest of us that I don’t reflect on what I have enough. And it is unfortunate that sometimes we don’t think of these simple blessings and graces until something bad happens. Sure I’ve had my share of pain, but never have I had to go alone and never have I had no where to turn.

I haven’t had a bad day.

 

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What the hell happened to my life?

October 28, 2010

It hit me the other day as I was watching my three-year old daughter at dance class, where in the world did my life go?

I seriously felt like I woke up from a coma, aged to 34, had two kids, a house, pets, and was at least happy to not be balding. I remember my mom telling me to wait until I had kids and then I’d know what it was like to have life move fast. It’s not that I didn’t believe her, it’s just I didn’t fully understand the truth in that statement.

One of my favorite movies is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and there are so many great lines in that movie, yet one has always stuck out to me. “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

In college I was able to realize this. My last semester I remember taking time in my fraternity to just watch the crowds, the parties, the pranks, the environment, and all of the things that I knew I had taken for granted and let it soak in. I could slow things down enough to go from participant to spectator and back again. Even at my wedding eight years ago I slipped to the back corner of the reception hall and simply viewed my life in action. I was able to recognize I would never be with that same group of people, at the same time, in the same moment, ever again.

And now, I can’t seem to find the time in the heat of the moment to slow things down. When I write, it obviously gives me time to reflect. When I get to work after dropping the kids off it is on my mind. But in general, I have let Ferris down. In a fast-paced life that only seems to be further accelerating I haven’t been taking a look around.

So maybe I should heed the advice of John Keating (Robin Williams) in another great 80’s movie, Dead Poets Society, “But If you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? Carpe — hear it? — Carpe, Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.”

 

Maybe instead of looking around I just need to lean in and listen…

 

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One person can make a difference.

October 22, 2010

I try not to be skeptical, however I am quick to break everything down to a realistic and rationale perspective. So when I hear people talk about how one person can change the world, I tend to struggle with that comment.

I was asked recently by a fellow BSU Delt, Steve Roseman, to sit on the board of The Paul Fangman Jr Foundation that he started over the summer. Steve’s grandfather is the inspiration and Mr. Fangman lived his life stressing the importance of giving your time and talents to others and how precious family and children are to the world.

Mr. Fangman was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at age 37 yet still raised seven children, managed a successful family business, and loved his time with his 43 grand and great grandchildren. He lived his life with dignity, grace, and a helping hand.

Steve is quick to point out that he only remembers seeing his grandfather walk 10 times and the daily fight he had battling MS. Steve was so inspired by his grandfather’s courage and love of life that he has used it as a springboard to help others.

The foundation was founded on teaching young people to live and maintain healthy lifestyles and to help families manage the cost and the stress of finding adequate health care for loved ones suffering with MS and cancer.

In five short months he has already raised a considerable amount of money, is in three schools working with children, and is lining up more donors, more schools, and more ways to impact people’s lives.

I realized on the way home from our meeting, that when people say one person can change the world, what I was lacking was definition around the word “world.” Steve is living proof. Watching him speak about his work, the children, his grandfather, and the conviction he has to serve others is inspiring. The world in which Steve is creating for himself and others he is helping is making a difference.

In a time when people tend to hold their hands out for help, Steve is holding his out to help. So yes, I do believe one person can make a difference; he has already made a difference in mine.

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5 things that have changed since I had kids

September 29, 2010

Sometimes it is hard for me to believe how much your life changes after you have children. Honestly there are too many to count, but here are some that stick out to me.

Abercrombie now makes me feel dirty…and old
Ok, I used to DJ a little. I love music and sometimes I still like cranking something up in my car, sans kids of course. But I can’t even hear myself think because how loud the music is in the store, not that I actually go into the store. Hell, all Abercrombie is to me any more is an annoyance on my way down to Gymboree. This is proof to me that teens can hear high pitch noises that adults can’t. How else do they communicate? Also, I’m over the 682-foot nudie dude photos pasted throughout the store. Pull up your pants, I mean your underwear, homie.

I wish I could remember what I did with my memory
OK, I’m guilty. I don’t know how many times I get to work and wonder how I got there. This was funny in college when I was drinking and couldn’t figure out why I had someone’s shoes on in the morning or how I was now the owner of a 1991 Second Place Water Polo trophy, but now, sober, at 34? I’m sure this has nothing to do with having two kids under three and random sleeping and eating patterns. Ok, sorry, I lost my train of thought, what are we talking about?

I can’t listen to rap any more
I have a daughter. I have a 2 Live Crew CD. I have a daughter. I USED to have a 2 Live Crew CD.

Friday Night Lights…are out by 10:30
I used to think it was funny to watch my parents fall asleep watching TV as I was headed out for the evening. Wow, I joined the club a lot sooner than I thought I would.

I know the BRAT diet
Diarrhea used to be a great excuse to miss class, work, or any other event that outweighed the embarrassment for falsely telling someone you had the quick-step, Big D, or whatever you call it. Now the D word is something more serious, so serious the world created an acronym to alleviate the condition. And to think, the first time I heard it I thought it stood for Be Right At The-toliet.

So how has your life changed?

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Some of the best ideas were written on a napkin

September 14, 2010

We have all heard stories about conversations at a bar between friends that spark an idea that changes the way we do business, no-name musicians jotting down the hit that ultimately makes them a household name, and ad campaigns that leave us smiling and buying products.

And ever so often we have one of these moments. Either by taking the initiative to write the idea, thought, or concept down or being lucky enough to be on the receiving end of such genius.

I happen to think the best idea that ever hit me happened this way. On December 6, 1998, I was at a bar after a work function and my future wife took out a pen, smiled, tilted her head, and wrote me a note in Japanese on a cocktail napkin. To be honest, I still don’t know what she wrote and I don’t care. What I do remember is in that instant, I realized she was the one.

She had the brains, the drive, the sense of humor, the charm, the wit, and the spontaneity to go with the beauty. I was blown away. It was such a simple gesture, yet one that will last with me forever. That note started a life together that has seen us go through marriage, building a house, changing careers, raising children, and being eternally grateful that she wrote that note to me, on that night, in that moment, forever.

Today is my eight year anniversary to a woman who has shown me the gift of life, the blessing of love, and the joy of family. 2,920 days. Each one I am thankful for and each one more wonderful than the next.

Happy Anniversary Jill. I love you.

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Having two kids is not that far from living back in the fraternity house

August 31, 2010

I have been blessed with two beautiful kids — two kids who are already throwing me back to the days of Delta Tau Delta at Ball State.

There is always a body function happening
At first there is the innocent and often, “I can’t control my gas” infant stage. People laugh and think it is cute because it is a baby. This is not the case when a guy, nicknamed “Dirt”, breaks wind after drinking malt liquor all night and eating a burrito the size of your head.

Spitting up is so common I now have no sense of smell or a desire to eat. I have a burp cloth on my body at all times because I never know when Mt. Cam will erupt and spew whatever he just ate all over the place. In the fraternity house the only thing funny about spewing was the occasional dry heave. I still don’t why that is funny. Maybe the eyes welling up with tears or the fact I always think of Jim Carey.

Streaking
Yes, sometimes it is nice to set yourself free. My three year old finds great delight in streaking around the house after a bath. You can see the sheer joy of being clothes- and worry-free on her face. This look was also found many a night when someone would casually walk through the house sans pants, sit down on your couch, and act as if this was normal. Thank you creator of the slipcover.

Nose picking is an Olympic sport
I guess until now I thought the nose pick was merely done out of necessity. Nope. I am not sure what the fascination is with having your finger two knuckles into your nose, but the kids dig it. Yes, pun intended. I am worried more about them being able to hide a grapefruit in their nostril than do it in public. And at the old Delt house you had guys who were the Michael Phelps of nose picking. After each victory they always wanted to show you their medals. Remember the dry heave part? My eyes are still watering.

Being tired is the norm
I am up at all hours, I don’t ever feel like I sleep through a whole night, and when I am up, I have to be on. There is always something to clean up (see above), someone to entertain, and someone getting into something they shouldn’t. Hmmm…this one didn’t change.

Time for me to go, I think someone just made his underwear into a headband.