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, and I now have a bimonthly column on, 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.  



Monday, April 18, 2011

Ramblings on The BroHood and ManHood

There is something that I will always be no matter what... a brother.  No matter how hard I try, I will never out-grow it, I will never move on to something bigger and better.  From the moment I was born, until the day I die, I will always be someone's brother.  There is no changing that.  

Being a man, on the other hand, is not a given.  There is only one influence that is able to validate your rite of passage into manhood. It is not the prostitute or stripper your friends paid for to "usher" you into your manhood.  It's not how fast you can round the bases with your girlfriend. The only influence that can do this for boys is that of a father-figure.

Before I continue, I should point out that I have a very high level of respect for step-fathers.  In fact, I had a high level of respect for mine growing up, and I didn't even meet my BioDad until my early twenties.  But when you build your reputation, and the basis for who you are and what you mean to an individual on an intricate bed of lies, then it only takes one piece of truth to unravel it all.  In a very unspecific way, that is the best way I can explain my lost relationship with my step-dad.

To quote John Eldredge, the author of Wild at Heart, "Every boy, in his journey to become a man, takes an arrow to the center of his heart, in the place of his strength. Because the wound is rarely discussed and even more rarely healed, every man carries a wound. And the wound is nearly always given by his father."  

I feel overjoyed (sarcasm) that I was able to connect with my BioDad and lose my relationship with my step-dad around the same time. It was like I looked up one day, and I was suddenly fatherless. Now, if my step-dad was a fraction of the man he spent years convincing me and others he was, then he would still be in my life, and I wouldn't have had a need to start this blog. But he isn't. He's not even the opposite of the man he said he was... he's nothing. The last time I bumped into him, I had zero emotional response.  I actually was surprised at how much I didn't care to even look at him. Why? He became a stranger to me. How can I hate him when I don't even know him?  

My BioDad is another case all together. Most of my anger towards him was because of how he was vilified by my mother. Am I excusing him? Not at all. Did she take his kids from him? Yes. He told me he left the state because he was so angry that he was going to do something violent. So, maybe I should be grateful he didn't make me motherless, but he didn't put out the effort hot be in our lives.  Until I was in my twenties, I had NO conscious memory of him, and no idea what he looked like. I could have walked by him and never knew it.  Since he was never around, he doesn't know how to be BE around. He went from missing to absentee.

UPDATE: While working on this post I received an email from my BioDad saying that he's moving to Cali in 2 weeks.  I don't know if I have a reaction to this, or if I just want to have a reaction to this.  I am disappointed, and I want to keep from the cliche "Fine, I didn't want you around anyway!" reaction.  

All this to say that i am a 30-year-old father of 2 with daddy issues I may not be able to get resolved.  There is a missing rite of passage in my journey to manhood.  

Why doesn't a brother have the ability to become this influence in a young man's life?  He just doesn't.  Consider the situations where you hear these phrases:
"You're the man of the house now." 
"You're not my dad."  
"Heir Apparent." 
"The apple doesn't fall far from the tree."  

How does a brother validate or usher a boy into manhood?  Can they?  What is so significant in the relationship between father and son that when that relationship is broken, or damaged, both parties suffer.  I have mentioned in a previous post, I have had trouble with my relationships with one of my brothers, but this was not a relationships I ever felt internally and deeply hurt by.  Yes, I was angered by them, but they would never send me to therapy.  

I have recently been hit by the realization that phrases like, "He's not heavy, he's my brother" and, "Am I my brother's keeper?" have limitations.  I am not only human, but a flawed human.  I can only handle so much.  I can only forgive so much.  I can only forgive what has been asked of me to be forgiven.  I am working on forgiving in the face of continued offense.  I'm working on it.  

I may not be able to resolve my daddy issues, but I still hope to resolve my brother-issues.  

I realize that this post was all over the place, but I had to get it out of my head to think straight again.  Thanks for stopping by, and feel free to join the discussion and leave a comment. 


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Man Song: The Aviator

My mom used to tell me that the music you listen to has to have a reason... Even though I don't agree with that statement, fully, I think that there are some songs that hit us in a way we can't always explain.  It may be the whole song, or just part of it.  It may be a good song, and it may not be.  This is one of those ify situations.  I don't know if this is a great song or not... I can't really make it past these words in the chorus:
I'm just a man
Doin' the best he can
Doin' the best he can
I'm just a man

I might fall short
But I love a unseen hand
Love the unseen hand
Love the unseen hand

 The song is called The Aviator, by a Canadian Hip Hop artist named K-Os (chaos).  

The idea of an unseen hand, however yo interpret that, is a powerful visual to a parent.  There are many times where raising kids makes us feel like we've missed being perfect, or we worry that we may have done or will do something to cause them to go to therapy some day.  There is hope that the "unseen" hand will still be there to guide them in spite of our shortcomings.  As a parent... as a dad, that is comforting, because I know who that "unseen" hand is for me.  HE has brought me a wonderful wife and beautiful children.  Check out the song.  Tell me what you think.  


Wordless Wednesday PDX

Here's some pics from our car ride back from Portland a month ago.  The kiddos were worn out!  All (except the first) pics taken with the Hipstamatic app on my iPhone. 
Knocked out 20 minutes into the drive back to Seattle

He was so so so tired.

Covered in The Wife's scarf on her Tigger PillowPet


The Wife was behind the camera (phone)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Networking Means Working

I am super excited that I have recently been picked up by two blog sites. I'm not sure if this is a great feat or not, but it means that this whole "social networking" thing kind of works.

A few weeks ago I sent a tweet out to a guy I follow asking for tips to becoming a writer for a blog site. His response was awesome, because he said my timing was perfect and that they were actually looking for a new writer. *SWEET!!!

The other day, I received a comment on my Role Models post telling me where she saw the link for my blog from and stating that she was interested in finding a dad-blogger to do a feature on her mom-blog site. Of course, I accepted. Long stories short, I will be doing a bi-monthly feature on on the first and third Tuesday of the month, AND I was given a quick assignment by to write a post about the TRON & TRON: Legacy disc releases today.

I am very excited to get the chance to do these kinds of things. Once upon a time I thought about being some kind of writer, but the lifestyle of a novelist, and the demands of a journalist were never appealing to me. So, I guess blogging was the invention I was waiting for.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Role Models

My daughter, Pebbles, is four years old and still believes (*ahem...knows) that her daddy, me, is the STRONGEST MAN IN THE WORLD. Who am I to tell her otherwise. A couple days after she said this, I saw yet another fight among players in an NBA game while watching ESPN. What do these two events have in common? To me, the correlation is simple: to my four year old, I AM her role model, and I am trying my best to be the right example for her. It is important to me to continue to be that role model for her. Pro players, whether they are a good role model or not, should not be your child's role model. To me, this is just parents being lazy, like having the TV babysit your own children (which I know I do at times).

I shouldn't be so hard on professional athletes, they ARE just children. They are someone else's child. Why would I expect them to be able to set an example for my kids when they are only children themselves. I'm 30, and I still worry about being the right example for my kids as they grow, so why would I want them to loom up to someone else's child who doesn't have any stake in the successes or failures of my kids? I value education as a third-generation college grad and a 2nd-generation post-grad, but these kids come out of college with barely more credits than if they went to a community college and someone hands them a multimillion dollar bonus check.

I wish I could say that it is an age thing and that they will grow wiser with age, but Brett Favre dismissed that argument this past year. Who, in their right mind, send a picture of their old, greying, receding-hairlined, loose-skinned JOHNSON to a beautiful young woman and think that is all it takes? So, maybe i shouldn't pick on pro players, because their profession is to play, so I shouldn't expect too much out of a business that does not encourage it's employees to act with character and integrity.

I'm not even going to talk about musicians or actors, because that is too easy, so I'll mention politicians. [sigh] Now that I think about them, they upset me as well. Here is a group of delinquents who shoot a whole in my previously mentioned notions of education as a value and proves that it doesn't provide for better role models. Politicians, are notoriously just as bad. And why is this? What makes celebrities so out of touch with reality? And why would we want our children to look to them for examples? They typically come from two different backgrounds; one is in the business of producing revenue and entertainment, and the other is in the business of governing the land.

What bothers me most about politicians is that what I feel towards them doesn't come from watching tripe news or doing research, but from personal experience. I was fortunate enough to witness first-hand how a politician become blinded to the reality around them in an attempt to "stand for values" and win voter approval across several value sets. What comes of a person whose business is to be a people-pleaser but they don't realize it?

All this to come back to my original question: who is your child's role model? And why would you let someone else steal that level of influence in their life from you?

Join in the discussion...