Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Not Just Another Dad

I want to take a quick moment to thank my friend for volunteering to be he first guest post on my blog. I did my best not to restrain anyone who may want to do a guest post here. I am very impressed with what was written, and am proud to share it.

"Not Just Another Dad"

To tell you the truth I am not a father, the thought of it alone scares me. Now this is not to say that I don’t ever wish to be one. I am actually excited for the day when I can call someone my own. The reservations that I have stem from a long line of poor father figures. My father was not a good person, his father; from the little I remember of him was not a good father.
So it’s no surprise that every time I have been in a serious relationship I had always wondered the one question that bothers me the most. That being; will I be a crummy dad like mine? And if so, how do I break the “Curse” that seems to follow my family?

Thankfully I think I have found the answer to those pressing questions. My mother married a gentleman by the name is Jose when I was 12 and I have gotten a taste of what good parenthood is. Now I hope that one day I am as good as a parent as he was and still is. We talk often on the phone. More than I talk to my mom that is for sure. And while I don’t see that as a bad thing, I hope that he knows I appreciate him as much as I can express it without it being weird.

Fatherhood in my eyes is and should be a culmination of the ultimate in commitment. It makes me sad to see so many families fail and the kids pay the consequences. Now I know this isn’t every case, but its mine. So I think that I will wait to be married to start a family. I know that many un-married couples make it work without the need of a certificate. And I will not bore you with my religious propaganda. Because that is not what you came to see.

I will leave you with this; I am grateful for the many good fatherhood examples in my life, from friends to family members. I pray that one day, when that day comes when someone is crazy enough to marry me; I become half the father that my step dad didn’t have to be.

And yes folks I just quoted Mr. Brad Paisley!


[Thanks you JM]

Friday, May 13, 2011

Leave and Cleave

Derailed by Mom Issues:
With the passing of this past Mother's Day, I had been inspired to hash out a couple things in a new blog post.  However, I felt like there was so much I have in my head to say, that all the ideas trip over one another.  I have no clear train of though, because I can't complete any.  This is what my mom does to me.  I feel every emotion flood into my head, and nothing all at the same time. I've had three thoughts in my head, regarding my mom, but they continue to interrupt one another. Since I can't get the finished thoughts out of my head, I will get them away from having to keep looking at them in order to finish them.

This idea I kept coming back to, but it forces me to rethink about a time period that was really rough, and took my wife and I a few years to get beyond.  I had three other ideas I may revisit someday, but I don't like thinking about thins that are upsetting to me, and my mother is just that.  

"Mommy Dearest"
I am the youngest of seven, and I work with students who sometimes either can't talk, or not very well.  I see the world the way a behaviorist does; what you DO is who you ARE. To quote rapper DMX, "Talk is cheap!". I come from an eloquent, well-spoken, educated, and persuasive family.  I was fooled into thinking a lot of things growing up, and even though our words can be counter to our core character, our actions can only be counter to that core for so long.  A little bit of adversity, and I learned who my family really was, and who I really was.  

Matthew 12:46-50
While he was yet speaking to the multitudes, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, seeking to speak to him.  And one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, seeking to speak to thee.  But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?  And he stretched forth his hand towards his disciples, and said, Behold, my mother and my brethren!  For whosoever shall do the will of my Father who is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother.

A Very Long Engagement
In the Summer of 2003 I proposed to my wife.  In the time from that day until our wedding the following Summer, we experienced a lot of turmoil from external forces.  Just to give you an idea about what happened in the 12 month engagement aside from the usual wedding preparations: I visited her fam in Ecuador, returned to learn that my mom and step-dad were trying to use their influence in our church to stop our wedding, one of my brothers jumped on the band wagon, I tried to appease the situation by making him my Best Man, he agreed, later decided to cuss out my fiancĂ© over the phone and said he wouldn't be a part of my wedding, My mom made a plea to me not to marry my wife, My fiancĂ© and I went to counseling to deal with this situation, I met my BioDad, I did not invite my mother to a wedding she did not want to occur, she still did not show up, we had a beautiful wedding with 400+ in attendance, an amazing reception where we danced until almost midnight, and will be married for 7 years this Summer.  That's the engagement in a nutshell.  

Mom is MIA
Throughout the entirety of my engagement, and on the day of my wedding, I struggled with the loss of relationship with my mother.  Even though I was closer to my Step-Dad, it is the relationship with my mom I feel that she cheated me out of. Because if the way she raised me, and the things she said to me, I assumed that she would be a great mother-in-law and grandmother, ultimately.  I still have a hold-out for my kids to know their grandmother, but I won't force ANY negative influence into their lives.  I grew up with a mother who was very strong and determined it's where I get those qualities), but the reality is closer t insecure and confused.  I don't know if I will ever get a chance to talk with the strong woman who raised me; I think she is gone from me forever.  

The Mother of MY Children
The idea of mother, when i think about what I think it should be, and what I experience, they do not always match up.  As a mother, would you tell your child that they were an accident, almost aborted, conceived in hate?  Of course not, because you are most likely a well-adjusted individual.  My wife is constantly amazed at the miracle that is our children.  She is awe-struck an the idea that these two beautiful being are the product of us.  She is protective, she builds them up, she teaches them, she trains them, she disciplines them, she is creative in how she interacts with them.  She is an amazing mother.  I hope to talk her into writing on this blog one day [fingers crossed].  I never have, and I never will have any fears about my kids when they are with their mother.  

I love my wife.  When I see the things she does for our kids, I don't wish that I had those things from my own mother.  However, I do wish she was able to be around to be those things for her grandchildren.  

I live two miles from my mom, and we're worlds apart.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Thinking Globally

Reaction to Osama's Death

Since my wife and I do not have cable tv (Netflix streaming & Hulu+) we do not have the constant onslaught of news coverage or the persistent bombardment of commercial consumerism. I get my news from certain online sources and by listening to the news on my commute to and from work.  However, when there is a breaking story, like the announcement of Osama's death, I found out when I checked Facebook on my iPhone. The thing that I found most striking in the posts was the reactions.

There were two kinds of posts that I found most disheartening. The first was the false sense of relief that the war on terro has reached it's climax and we can now bring our troops back. The other was the taunt-like tone in some of the posts that celebrated the death of Osama.  I still remember being woken up by my mom to turn on the news on September 11th. I still remember how the country became briefly patriotic.  To be honest, it was nice to feel like we were all America! 

Cultural Happy Meals

We are two days from Cinco de Mayo, a day we narcissistic Americans assume is the Mexican independence Day (it's actually September 16th), and this is just a small example of how we have boxed up the rest of the world's cultures.  We have placed gross generalizations on populations of peoples that are older, more diverse, and more populated than ours.  What does it say about Americans when we don't even respect our closest neighbors?  We have boiled Mexico's culture down to a burrito and a talking Chihuahua in a Taco Bell commercial.  The most constant Mexican influence we have is George Lopez.  

I don't quite want to wrap this up in a nice bow.  I'd like to get some feedback on this question: How do you raise children who will be conscious of their global community?  I will post about how my wife and I are trying at a later time, but I want to know if anyone will respond in the comments below.  How do we teach our children to sift through the consumerism, the stereotyping, and the categorizing to find their true place in the world, and to become a global citizen of the human race?  What are you doing, have you done, or are planning on doing?

I can't wait to hear your thoughts.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

2011 NFL Draft

As I sit down and watch the NFL Draft, I see a cycle where young men are pitted against men with the weight of the world on their shoulders, and asked to do what most people are not asked to do in their lifetime: earn this multimillion dollar signing bonus.

Without having to do any research, some names that jump into my head are: Ryan Leaf, JaMarcus Russell, Brady Quinn, Alex Smith, and more...  These guys are talented boys playing a great game at a high level.  They are full of passion, desire, and love of the game and their teammates. Suddenly, the dynamics of the game change with the calling of their name on draft day.

There is something horribly flawed in our culture with how highly we value entertainment over content. It has become a shot to our manhood if we have to move back in with our parents in a recession, but other cultures already understand the value of family.

Monday, April 25, 2011

For the Love of Money

I came across a blog contest posed by Memoirs of a Single Dad (@M_oa_SD) that asks bloggers to answer the question of why we are here: for love or for money.  

For me this is an easy answer: I'm not making any money, so I must be in it for love, right?  Well, there's a lot of things I do for love and for the intangible rewards.  I workout, I teach Special Education, and I play city-league flag football with friends.  I have only been blogging as @ManvDadhood since October 2010, and have not quite built up my readership to the point of gaining anything monetary from it.  

So the question for me is, "If I was making money from my blog, what would I do differently?"  Would I do anything differently?   It's hard to say, but I think that if I got to the point where my blog was no longer acting as the therapeutic outlet that it is now, then I would have to diversify my focus.  I have already posted about my more-than-awesome LG Vacuum, and I did a piece for Dadstalking.com, and I now have a bimonthly column on TheCaffeineCoquette.com, but even that is another opportunity to get some more thoughts out of my head on dadhood and manhood.  

What DO I want?

In the long-run, is it money or love that drives me?  Both can be intoxicating, and I think that if I try really hard to "take the high road" and do this for love, and then I get the opportunity to do it for money, I may miss a great thing by trying to force some moral code on blogging that may not be necessary.  Right now, I am enjoying myself.  I am connecting with some great people, and am getting myself out there.  Would i pass up an opportunity to get some extra perks from doing this?  Of course not, but would that then drive me?  I know myself, and I wouldn't  

The intangible rewards have yet to be surpassed by pocket change.  



Sunday, April 24, 2011


Is is Recreation, or Re-Creation.  Is it a hobby or a necessity.  It is becoming a beast on the field, or is it becoming a new you?  What does it take to re-create yourself?  Can you ever truly become something/someone new if you still do the same things?  If I still do the things that a teen does, then doesn't that make me a teen?  If I walk, and talk like a duck, doesn't that mean I can become a duck?  What if I wear feathers and tell everyone to call me Donald or Daffy?  Do we re-create ourselves on the outside, or does true recreation... re-creation happen from the inside out?  

Re-Creation or Recreation. 

If I could... add my own philosophy to this (if you have to say you are something, it is not apparent enough to be true), then saying you are new, is not good enough.  You have to actually be new, or you are, in fact, old... the same ol' old.  I never said I was anything but "just Joe."  If you tell me you are X, and you act like Y, what am I to think?  If you say you've always been Y, but had to act like X, then I've only known you in a lie.  Either way, there is no history for us to build on.