Thursday, December 30, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
Sunday, December 26, 2010
I hope everyone had a great Christmas and got just what they wanted. I decided not to post over the last two days because taking the time to do so would have come at the sacrifice of time with my family. So I produced some post-Christmas entertainment for you with the following poem, which I hope you enjoy:
‘Twas the day after Christmas and on my end of this blog,
My kids were still fired up like a blazing Yule log.
The stockings had been harvested for their Christmas Morning booty
After St. Nicholas had filled them per his Christmas Eve duty.
My children played with Paper Jamz, Lego and more,
Leaving toys in their wake strewn across our wood floor.
My wife in frustration and I with chagrin
Had underestimated how many presents there’d been.
As I picked up wrapping paper, a sneer crossed my face
And my wife mentioned wryly, “We could use some more space.”
I nodded agreement without using my voice
And realized I needed to make a tough choice.
While our sons played downstairs with the occasional shout,
I could search through the house for old crap to throw out.
But try as I did, I failed, I confess.
Our house did not look like there was anything less.
No matter how many bags to the garbage I schlepped,
When I walked through the house, I inevitably stepped
On Nerf darts, on Hot Wheels, on Lego brick scenes,
On Star Wars action figures, and on Mighty Beanz.
My feet very sore from stepping on toys,
I shouted out angrily, “Get your butts up here, boys!”
With a pause of the Wii and a drop of Nerf guns,
They came, unsuspecting I’d redden their buns.
But what I then saw prevented utter calamity.
The joy on their faces snapped me back to my sanity.
I decided right there not to wallow or sulk.
I decided it was no time to rage out like the Hulk.
My mood was suddenly improved without warning,
I asked, “Did you like what you opened last morning?”
They said they had maybe the best Christmas Day
Then I gave them each hugs and sent them back down to play.
Seeing small smiling faces led me to a simple deduction:
That’s precisely why we make the day such a production.
The spirit of giving is why we celebrate this season
But getting is also a pretty decent reason.
Instead of cleaning up mess after mess the whole day,
I had cool books to read and new video games to play.
So I put on warm pajamas and thick, comfy socks
And snuck up to my room where I played some Xbox.
Then I thought as I fired with my rifle’s thermal site
We had a pretty damn merry Christmas, alright.
Hope you had one too and your family had theirs
Now it’s on to the New Year and playoffs. Go Bears!
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
As a parent, you try to raise you kids right. You watch their development and pay attention to the decisions they make. Little day to day behaviors provide glimpses into their future. Before your eyes, the person that they will become later in life blossoms.
Whether they act in ways that you approve or disapprove of, you wonder how much of an influence you’ve had on their behavior. When they drop a swear word in the cereal aisle of the grocery store for other parents to hear, you think back to how many times you’ve slipped and said that particular one in front of them. Similarly, when they hold the door open for their mother because they’ve seen you do it countless times, you are prepared to take full credit for guiding them down the path to chivalry.
I had a moment like this yesterday. It was one of those moments when you watch your kids, place your hands behind your head and take a deep, satisfied, that’s my kid breath.
While on the way home from the waning days of Christmas shopping, I flipped through radio stations attempting to find something we might all enjoy. My wife’s older brother listened to a lot of heavy metal and she still enjoys hearing it. I, being a male who grew up in the 80s, have an affinity for the genre as well, to say the least. I have been prompted to wonder if this is a genetic trait because my sons also seem to have a taste for it. So, when I recognized the first few bars of Metallica’s One, I stopped changing stations and turned up the volume.
“You guys know what band this is?” and asked my boys.
They didn’t at first, but once James Hetfield began singing, my eldest said, “Metallica?”
You’re damn straight, Metallica. That’s not what I said, but it’s how I felt. I was very proud at that moment that they recognized the greatest heavy metal band of all time. On the remainder of the drive home, we played air guitar and air drums. As we maneuvered through the side streets of our neighborhood, you could see confusion on the faces of other passing motorists and pedestrians at what appeared to be a carload of people flailing their arms around wildly. I have no doubt at least one call was placed to the police regarding a traveling domestic disturbance inside a moving vehicle.
But for as proud as I was of my sons for knowing the song we were rocking out to was played by Metallica, what happened next brought a tear to my eye in a manly, fatherly approval type of way, not in a show any other emotion publicly whatsoever type of way. The minute we got into our home, my sons headed to the basement and popped Guitar Hero: Metallica into the Wii. For the next few hours, the glorious sounds of such hits as For Whom the Bell Tolls and No Leaf Clover emanated from the downstairs television.
It’s moments like that, ladies and gentlemen, that make you feel like everything’s going to turn out alright. You realize that your kids have been paying attention to you and that they do in fact take your opinions seriously. Times like this make you proud to know your kids have such excellent taste.
Here I thought that it would take a few more years before they heard a heavy metal song and needed to then go play it for themselves. The combination of liking heavy metal, knowing the band and the resulting drive to play a video game is more than I could have hoped for at this point. It’s comforting to know that my influence upon my sons has been more immediate than I had anticipated…excellent.
(That last part should be read as if I am smiling menacingly and wringing my hands Monty Burns-style, because that’s exactly what I’m doing.)
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
My resistance to the charms of anything Tron related has never been strong. Even so, as a parent and normal person who needs to hold a full time job, I wasn’t sure when I would get around to seeing Tron: Legacy.
You see my boys weren’t excited about it (which raises paternity questions, but that’s for another post). I suppose that any movie without CGI furry animals dancing, spouting as many already out-dated buzz words (i.e.: dawg, the bomb) per minute possible and just plain overall sucking doesn’t illicit their attention. So, without being able to take them to see the movie, my time to view it was at a premium.
Thus, I was as surprised as anyone to find myself in a theater at 12:45 Saturday night, which would technically be Sunday morning (which I am easy like, by the way) to catch the long awaited sequel to Tron. So how did I like it? I thought you’d never ask.
If you are looking to go to a big action movie, this is not your pick. If you want deep, complex plot, again, not the movie you’re looking for. But, if you appreciate special effects, sci-fi and tech related story lines, this is the film for you. If you add in the fact that you are familiar with and enjoyed the original film, you should enjoy this movie.
Sure, Garrett Hedlund, who plays by Sam Flynn has a little too much Tom Cruise in Top Gun arrogance to him for my liking. Yes, they changed the lightcycles to look more like the Batcycle from The Dark Knight. But the lightcycle scene kicked ass, Jeff Bridges acts counter his younger self and there are tons of old ships and references to the old Tron, including a well masked homage to Bit who you may remember as the Yes/No floating ball that helped Kevin Flynn navigate through the Grid circa 1982 (winner is the first one to tell me where they saw it).
There were scenes in the film that made you nod in appreciation. Sometimes it was because the special effects looked awesome. Other times it was because you recognized something from the early eighties. Either way, the movie managed to keep you interested without being too cheesy.
At the heart of it, the story wasn’t so much about technology as it was a father-son relationship. This, too, was done without too much cheese, which was nice.
When it came down to it, my love for the original movie left me only hoping that this film would not fall flat on its face and make people think Tron was the stupidest thing since Paris Hilton. Not a lofty goal by any means, but at least it cleared the bar.I enjoyed Tron: Legacy and if you aren’t expecting an Academy Award winner for anything other than special effects, you will too. Go out and see it, preferably in 3D and let me know if you agree. If you do, you can thank me for the tip. If you don’t, no refunds.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Some things are better off left unexplored.
When I was applying to colleges, I didn’t apply to Notre Dame. I was a huge fan of their football team in the eighties (hate me if you will, but Lou Holtz could coach, speech impediment or not). I had been there in high school for some very fulfilling experiences. In fact, the time I spent there was so meaningful that despite never having attended I proposed to my wife on the campus. But when the time came to fill out applications, I knew whatever college I attended, I would end up hating after spending four years there. So, I left it completely off the list and have never regretted that decision. I wanted to keep Notre Dame as a pristine, unsullied memory of all that is pure and good. I can return there now with only happy memories. I don’t look at stairwells and remember passing out there in a puddle of my own vomit. I have no fears of awkward moments like running into that old professor that screwed me on my Physics grade second semester.
But while the seedy underbelly of some things can be avoided, there are certain other experiences that one must face. What was once wholesome and right must be explored further and exposed for that which it truly is and very little, if anything, is perfect.
I’m reminded of this now that the new Tron movie is out. When the first movie was released (which coincidentally was around the last time Notre Dame had a decent season), I was in love with it. It was one of the first movies I ever recall watching on VHS. I must have watched it a thousand times. The yellow light cycle I owned from it often causes me to consider a headlamp wearing expedition into the crawl space above my parents’ garage to retrieve it.
So now I’m burdened with the responsibility of watching Tron: Legacy. To not watch it would be like betraying old childhood friends who provided me with countless hours of entertainment and cherished memories. But to watch the sequel to what is already one of my favorite movies of all time may only bring the ivory tower that is the original Tron crashing down to earth. Nothing exposes the holes in a plot like having to build a whole new movie on the already faulty foundation.
But I’ll see it. And I’m sure that even if it’s not everything that I hope it will be, I’ll deal with it and find a way to still enjoy the original. I suppose watching your ideals dragged through the mud is part of growing up. Circa 1982 when I was watching Tron on a near daily basis, I had no concerns over women. They were pretty and some of them made my face turn red, but that was the extent of it at the time. But that innocence too came to an end. Since then, I have discovered both the benefits and the horrors of the feminine charms. We take the good with the bad.
Whether Tron: Legacy is placed on a pedestal next to the original or is cast down to the depths of terrible sequels alongside Jaws 2 through 4, Blues Brothers 2000 and Teen Wolf Too has yet to be seen. But one thing is for sure. It is time for me to move forward. For better or worse, I will see soon what Tron has to offer.
Friday, December 17, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
This week, my oldest son will turn eight. As you can imagine, this requires a lot of planning. The fact that his birthday falls during the holiday season doesn’t make it any easier. On top of the usual holiday madness, there are extra gifts to buy, there is food to order and there are party details to arrange.
Not the least important of these extra details is the birthday cake. When it’s the at home dinner amongst family, it is the best tasting cake, decorations be damned, with a few candles stuck into it. But for the kids’ party, with friends and classmates, the pressure is on.
All his peers will be on hand. Sure, they’ll be singing, “Happy birthday to you, cha-cha-cha!” but while they act like they’re into the music, their judging little eyes will be scanning the cake surface behind the candles. “What did he choose for his cake?” they’ll wonder. Is it something that arbitrarily became too baby-ish at the ripe old age of eight or is it the coolest new thing that every second grader in the world is completely obsessed with for no understandable reason?
In the week leading up to our trip to the bakery, he changed his mind at least four thousand times. It was Star Wars, then it was Pokemon, then it was ninjas, then Army men. As we walked into the front door, it was the Chicago Blackhawks and had been for a solid forty-eight hours.
I was pleased to say the least. Any interest in sports is welcome and they have been very interested as of late (see: December 8th’s post). Hockey in particular is something I’m quite happy to see them excited about because I’ll get to watch more of it with them. Yes, for as critical as I am of the judgmental little eyes of his classmates I, too, was wondering what his cake theme would be. So sue me.
So, we made our way to the giant laminated book of cake decorations and I flipped directly to the sports pages, being sure to bypass all the lamer themes just in case.
“There you go,” I announced on the NHL page and placed an authoritative finger on the Blackhawks logo.
“Oooh, wait,” my son said suddenly and began leafing backwards to a page I had inadvertently allowed him to see.
I’ll be honest. I started to panic. For a few seconds, I swore he was going to turn to Dora the Explorer or the Disney Princesses page and say, “That one.” But as it turned out, he flipped only a few pages in reverse to the NFL page.
“Awesome,” I said. “A Bears cake.”
“No,” he replied. Then his index finger rose skyward.
I started to panic again. This time, the visions came of his innocent little finger landing square on the Packers and my having to sanitize it immediately. I would then scold him, “You never touch the G!” Everything went slow motion as his finger descended upon the page.
What would he choose? Packers? Vikings? Patriots? Nooooo! I couldn’t bare to watch. Yet I did, like a gruesome car wreck.
I stared at him and blinked. “Oh,” was all I said at first. “Really? The Cardinals?” I suppose it could have been much worse and part of me was tempted to put my foot down and tell him he was just getting a Bears cake and that was that.
But then I remembered something my wife once said when I was being too controlling. “The more you push them one way, the more they might push back.” And I realized then that maybe the Bears weren’t his favorite team, but if I tried to force them down his throat now, maybe he would become a Packer or Viking fan down the road. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if that happened.
So, my eight year old son will have an Arizona Cardinals cake for his birthday this year. It’s what he wants and I’m not concerned about it. Besides, when the Bears make the playoffs (provided I haven’t just jinxed them), I’ll simply call attention to the fact that they are still playing and the Cardinals are already done for the season. The proof is in the pudding, or in this case, the fudge icing.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
I plan on always being friends with my sons. Having kids, especially boys, was like manufacturing playmates in my mind to a degree. I pictured us playing basketball in the alley, watching hockey games together and, when they get old enough, talking about grilling techniques in the backyard over beers.
My vow to remain lifelong friends with them has already met a challenge, or at least a technical glich, however. The modern day definition of “friends” has changed.
My boys are years off from having a Facebook account, but they undoubtedly will someday. Once they are old enough for me to trust that they will not arrange a meeting with the deposed prince of Uganda in order to give him just the small amount of cash he needs to make a glorious return to his country, which he will then repay sevenfold, I’ll let them have one. Maybe it won’t be Facebook, but there will be some social networking site that all the cool kids will be using and they will beg and plead to have a profile. My wife and I will concede before they figure out a way to go behind our backs and create one anyway.
You may think my chagrin over what Facebook and other sites have done to the social landscape has something to do with my reluctance to allow them to use new technology. You may picture me as some button down sweater, black socks and slippers wearing, grey haired old fuddy-duddy who thinks social networking and rock ‘n roll are the devil’s work and won’t have any son of mine messing around with them new fangled things and such.
Rest assured that I am nothing like this. I much prefer pullover sweaters and only have a smattering of grey hair. Hear that? A smattering. And it’s a very distinguished smattering at that.
Furthermore, I am all about wanting my kids to be more tech savvy than I am. I have no problem accepting the fact that they will know how to do things that are totally beyond my skill set. My dad didn’t have a computer or video games as a kid while I’ve heard stories that I was born with an Atari 2600 in my hand. Still, we have a perfectly healthy bond. A father and son being friends has more to do with the commonality of their experiences. If they didn’t like Star Wars, Marvel comics or sports in general, we would have a problem on our hands.
My concern about the potential strain Facebook may cause on our friendship has to do with “friend” as Facebook uses the term. We all friend (verb, to request or accept a request to link social network profiles) one another. If you are my friend, I’ll friend you. If you aren’t, I won’t friend you, but I might friend you if you friend me first. But for some reason, I have no problem friending the guy who I just met yesterday who used to be friends (real life friends) with my friend’s (real life friend) college roommate. We work with a pretty loose definition of the word and the line between friend and non-friend is blurred to say the least. While you may be FB friends with someone you aren’t real life friends with, you are FB friends with all of your real life friends.
I want to be friends with my sons. Forever. They will eventually be on Facebook. It would make sense then that I will have to be friends with them. I would be insulted, in fact, were I not to receive a friend request from them within the first five minutes after their profile is created.
But I may not want to know everything they are posting on Facebook. Sure, there will be a time for it, when they have their own families and I want to see the grandkids’ pictures, but there will be other times when I want to enjoy blissful ignorance as to their behavior. I’m thinking high school through the first few years of college.
I won’t want to see the drunken posts in all their misspelled glory and hope that they didn’t fall asleep in the bushes out in front of the frat house. I won’t want to see their relationship status change every other day and worry about become a grandfather in my mid forties. I don’t want to be the over-protective parent who call every day and asks, “Are you okay? Your status says…”
There is also the potential to have my sons try and tell me something via Facebook that I would much rather have a face-to-face conversation about. Sometimes people try to use the detached nature of status updates to avoid breaking tough news to their loved ones in person. I’m telling you right now that if I see the Green Bay Packers or the St. Louis Cardinals in their “like” section, I am totally defriending them.
So I’m wondering if I can be real life friends with them without being Facebook friends for a little while during the “years of questionable judgment”. Hopefully, they love me enough to understand and accept my friend request later on down the road. And hopefully they’ve gotten Farmville and Mafia Wars out of their system by then because I hate getting updates and requests about those stupid games.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
I had begun to think that the hours upon hours of sitting in front of football games and playing ascending year versions of Madden with sleeping infants on my lap all those years ago were for naught. My sons showed zero interest in football.
In fact, I was afraid that I might have inadvertently fostered a subconscious hatred for football in them. Their developing baby brains might have recognized that they were being subjected to something against their will for purely selfish reasons on my part and somewhere deep inside their psyches, an instinctive drive to either punish or rebel against me was triggered. Not only did they lack any interest in football, they were vehemently opposed to any interest I showed in football.
I had become forced to hide away in my room on Sundays, using the inferior of the two household televisions to watch my team’s performances. I kept the volume down and I tried to repress my instinct to call out to the screen, though I wondered how the players would know what to do without my help, so that my football viewing would not be detected and, thus, interrupted.
But as with most changes in kids, something happened suddenly one day. I awoke on a late weekend morning to the sound of John Madden and Al Michaels. At first I thought it was the old recurring dream where they stop by and talk shop over coffee, pancakes and bacon (John Madden is particularly fond of my pancakes in this one and even asks for the recipe…I don’t have the heart to tell him it’s just Aunt Jemima mix). But I knew I wasn’t dreaming because instead of consistently adding Bailey’s Irish Cream to our coffee (another fixture of the dream), my wife was still asleep.
Soon enough, I realized that my sons were playing Madden in the basement together. Granted, it was Madden ’07 for the Gamecube, but the obsolete rosters were of no concern to me. They were finally interested in football on their own.
“Dad, I just got a touchdown,” my seven-year-old announced excitedly.
“Yeah,” my six-year-old chimed in, “he made the guy fumble then he picked it up and ran the other way and scored a touchdown!”
So not only were they interested in football and not only were they playing Madden and not only did they understand what was happening in the game but they were scoring on defense. My wildest dreams had come true.
This happened for several mornings and after school evenings. They couldn’t seem to wait to get their hands on a controller and play a game of Madden. Before I knew it, they were asking me to play with them. Then they were switching off between head to head and co-op modes with one another. They even started explaining things to my wife.
“The Hamburg Sea Devil’s are a European League team not an real NFL team, but they are easy to beat so that’s why we play against them.”
I was so proud I was nearly moved to tears.
But it got better. They wanted to actually watch the Bears’ game with me. They were reacting to plays. They even wanted to watch the Sunday night game between the Steelers and the Ravens, teams neither of them had expressed any interest in prior to that day. They began discussing which teams they liked and didn’t like and they both said they didn’t like the Packers.
I honestly began wondering what I had done right to deserve such good fortune. Was there an old man with a magical glint in his eye to whom I had given a dollar? Had I held a door open for an old gypsy woman recently? I couldn’t think of anything.
Then the other shoe dropped.
“Daddy, can we play Madden on Xbox with you one day?”
So that was their angle. Butter me up with interest in football and then work their grubby little hands onto my wireless 360 controllers. I was skeptical, but figured there ought to be a little give and take. I could at least respect the initiative they had taken. A little giving of my game system was a small price to pay for football to be a part of our father-son relationship.
Well played, boys.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
- Nouns: butt, fart, poo, toilet
- Plural Nouns: butts, farts, poos, toilets
- Verbs: fart, poo
- Adjectives: stinky, smelly, juicy, poopy
- Adverbs: stinkily, stupidly
- Type of Liquid: pee
- Famous Person: Will Ferrell, Bear Grylls
- Name of Person in Room: Daddy
The holiday season requires patience. Few things test one’s patience like having to shop for gifts this time of year. Fellow customers (or competitors) seem to be pushier, smellier and less respectful of personal space. Those who have patience survive with their sanity intact. Those who don’t end up mentioned in the newspaper where their acts of aggression toward their fellow shoppers read like an Onion article.
Kids have it worse. I can remember sitting in the front room, thinking about my presents, staring at the tree the way people step off the curb and stare down the street looking for the bus on a cold day, as if staring is going to make it get there any faster. I focused all my mental energy at the empty void beneath the tree and tried to will my presents to appear but only succeeded in giving myself a headache.
Now, with Christmas decorations going up and holiday sections of department stores getting stocked immediately after Halloween, the seed of anticipation is planted even earlier these days than it used to be. It’s no wonder that my sons seem on the edge of a nervous breakdown.
They’ve already been waiting so long for December to get here, they reason Christmas must be just around the corner. The concept of time has completely escaped them. I imagine they feel like they’ve stepped into an M.C. Escher sketch where each step forward leaves them just as far or somehow further from their destination than they were previously. I sense they have reached the limits of their sanity.
As if this weren’t enough, enter: advent calendars. Their grandparents gave them each their own Lego Advent Calendars (City, model #2824 and Kingdoms, model #7952) on Thanksgiving and they could barely even wait until the first of December to open the first door. Now, with each door opened, they take the opportunity to try and peek into the other parts of the box and see what awaits them.
While this has strained their patience even further, it has also given them an outlet for their aggression. Now, instead of tearing through the house, looking for hidden gifts, they focus on the boxes containing twenty-four tiny doors, wondering how they might convince me to allow them to open them all up early. Instead of rolling around on the floor beneath the tree in mental anguish, the think of ways to concoct excuses to tear open the entire box at once.
They still whine and beg from time to time, but it’s becoming more bearable. Slowly they are relenting on the pressure. Perhaps they will learn more patience from this whole ordeal. That would be a gift I’d like to receive this Christmas. Then I can sleep in heavenly peace.
Monday, December 6, 2010
School has been pretty intense this year for my sons compared to the previous years. They are assigned homework far more consistently and have a lot of side projects and school related events that they need to participate in. They have some after school activities and are even beginning some sports. On top of it, their teachers are expecting them to be more responsible for being organized and prepared for class.
I have to say, although I was worried about the stress they might suffer from this new level of challenges, they have responded pretty well. They slight amount of pressure they felt at the beginning of the year has past and they have fallen into a routine through which they stay on top of their studies and perform well. I can see their confidence growing and I’m proud of them for it.
The transition hasn’t been so easy for me.
I feel like there is constantly something I’m forgetting to take care of for them for school. And I’m usually right.
One week I’m packing art projects into book bags and making sure their book report isn’t due until next Monday while I make lunches and send in the canned food donation. But sure enough, I completely for got to send the tuition in. The school gets upset when you do that. But at least I remember it the next day. And the following month I’m sure to get it in a few days early. But then I forget to make them lunches and I have the image of them sitting in a lunch room full of children who are eating particularly delicious looking food. The look of dismay on their lost little faces in my imagination is enough to make me want to cry.
I would normally try and overcompensate in such an instance. This is when I would come barging into the school cafeteria after having hired a quartet of trumpeters to announce my arrival with a great deal of to do and hub-bub and fanfare. I would have a McDonald’s Happy meal in each hand (with a shake substituted for the usual boring old drink, no less) and shout, “Taa-daa! You thought I forgot, didn’t you?” Then I would make sure I waved the aromatic fries beneath as many jealous little noses as possible on my victory walk through the school ranks.
Alas, their school does not allow you to deliver lunches in the middle of the day for some unknown reason. I know this because I was sternly warned after the first time I pulled this stunt that it would not be accepted from this point on. Apparently the “man” is trying to get the poor kids whose parents forget lunches to fork money over to the cafeteria. But when your kids are 6 and 7, they generally don’t carry wallets or any money for fear of it becoming lost, so I’m not sure what the angle is here.
Anyway, it’s tough to keep up with all the stuff coming home in their folders. When all the homework gets done, I consider it a successful day. Especially because on top of all the official school documents and notices included, my kids’ school decides to include an oddly large number of advertisements for local businesses. I get enough junk mail as it is without having to sort through my sons’ book bags to rid myself of even more. Yet there it always is. Catering menus form the pizza place that opened up. Flyers for the arts and crafts bonanza at the local mall. Coloring contests from a nearby bar of all places. It’s amazing that my sons can attend field trips because as soon as I see a location other than their school written on a sheet of paper, my first instinct is to throw it away.
But for all the unnecessary paperwork and reminders that get sent home, every now and then a live saver makes its way through. For instance, today, my sons’ teachers reminded them that it is the feast of St. Nicholas. They are supposed to leave their shoes on the steps overnight and small toys or treats are to be placed in them. They were very excited to leave their shoes where St. Nick is sure to see them and I’m probably sure to break my neck tripping over them in the morning.
But, again, the teachers saved me on this one and I ought to offer my thanks. I had forgotten all about it. To think, I nearly forgot put my shoes out and then I wouldn’t have gotten anything. That would have sucked.
Friday, December 3, 2010
When I was a kid, there were certain careers you aspired to. Fireman, policeman, teacher, doctor, lawyer, construction worker, those kinds of jobs. If there was a kid in the class who wanted to be a veterinarian, photographer or professional athlete, they were considered the dreamers. Working with animals all day, taking pictures or playing a game for a living? Even as kids, we seemed to understand that a job wasn’t something you were suppose to take any enjoyment from. How right we were.
Though my sons are far from entering the work force due to the strict child labor laws in this country (honestly, if we were in China the little freeloaders would at least be making me some money already) I sometimes think of the job opportunities that are going to be available to them. They can do things that I never would have considered. Had a kid told their parents they wanted to play video games or build Lego models as a career, everyone would have known who the neighborhood pot dealer was going to be.
But these are legitimate options these days. I sometimes lament the fact that I wasn’t more obsessive over my hobbies as a child. I mean, I was obsessive enough that they kept me from having a girlfriend, but not to the point that they made me money. I look at the giant Lego collection in my basement and think about what might have been. Had I been tenacious enough to insist that I could make a living building with Lego, maybe I could be doing that right now. Just the thought of being able to get paid to go to work each day and build instead of having to shell out cash to do so is enough to make me begin to understand why some people just walk into their offices one day and start firing.
So, every now and then, when the topic of what they want to “be” when they grow up arises, I try to be open-minded with my boys. When they say they want to fish for a living, I no longer picture the yellow hat, rain slicker and ship with nets off the side like the man on the box of frozen cod fillets wears. I tell my boys that if they are good enough at it, they could catch fish professionally in tournaments or be a fishing guide on a lake they happen to like. They would have to have an extra room and keep a slot open every Saturday for their old man too, of course.
This is just one such career path they have suggested they may decide to pursue. Apparently, they’re keeping roller coaster reviewer as their fallback option.
While I write this blog, I try to take it seriously (at least in front of them). I want them to see that anything one enjoys doing could be taken seriously enough to be a profession. I don’t want them to think I’m writing and enjoying it but never expect anything to come from it. I want them to see potential in everything they do.
The sky’s the limit. Even if they think up something completely off the wall, who knows what careers will develop over the coming years. And if they end up selecting a job they love and doing it every day, I will be one proud daddy. Now if the rest of us could just do the same.