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Showing posts from 2013

Shut Up, Listen & Learn

I was at a wonderful & intimate holiday office party at a local restaurant in DC. The atmosphere was lively and festive.  Our table was full of great people and great conversation. One of them is an author of a new book which inspires others to take time to self reflect and rest.  I became increasingly intrigued into the concept of her book called 'Sabbath Season' by Nichola Brown. For what I understand the essence is to take a 'sabbath' in order to reflect, think, and break from the normal activity to find yourself; yourself with who you are, and even in your relationship with God. I began to carefully listen to the wisdom flowing from this sister's mouth. 
Take a sabbath?!? I don't ever think I have thought of taking my family away for  a sabbath.  A sabbath could mean a weekend away. It could mean a week away or it simply at home on a particular night and we simply focus on 'us'. I really need to do this. 
But there was another lesson in all this. …

What Color is Your Santa?

Christmas time in New York is always a fun time. The animated Christmas windows, decorations, and the smell of roasted peanuts on the streets is always a treat. Macy's after the Thanksgiving Day Parade becomes a human sea of eager shoppers looking for the quick sales.  Another Macy's tradition is on the top floor called Santa Land. If you've never been, its a treat.  You meander through a constructed area with Christmas trees, trains, and elves. At the end of the path you can take a picture with Santa Claus. My wife used to do this when she was younger.  This time the excursion to Santa Land turned out to be a lot different.

We received word as we were in line that there was a African American Santa or for our reading, a Black Santa.  There was a secret code that all the elves knew to get a picture with him. We had to ask for 'the special'. We had to wait a little longer for 'our' Santa to prepare.  We're not sure why, but have assumptions. As the elves …

Fresh Cut

It was the Thanksgiving holidays. As a family tradition, we would eat  at the formal dinner table.  But, we could not come to the dinner table looking shabby.  We had to look sharp.  Well, it was time for my boys to get a haircut. We did not have the opportunity to get it done in DC, but we had more time in New York.  I took them to a local barbershop down the street from their grandmother's house.  It was a small barbershop; it only had three chairs. The barbers sat the boys down in two different chairs and went to work.
They edged them perfectly, took off a layer of hair, put some 'smell good' spray to finish it off and brushed off the neck.  OMG, my boys looked good! 
I recently polled parents on Facebook asking if they took their children to the barber or if they cut hair themselves.  It was interesting to see that almost half took them to the barber. One father thought it to be an important place of public debate and discussion. "They really learn that everyone ca…

Another Chapter in the Life of a HS Son

My son's social life just might drive me crazy. Not only am I looking at a son who's in high school, but I'm looking at a son who's in high school going to his homecoming dance. I'm really not sure if I'm ready for this, but he seems like he is.
It's taking me back to when I went to my proms and homecoming dance(s). They were always a lot of fun...and always a lot of pressure. Who do I ask? Will we have fun? Did I get the corsage right? What about how we're getting there? Do my parents have to chaperone? What if she says no?
Questions. Questions. Questions.
For right now, he's on a high.  I have to coach him on how to be. On how to have a great time. And on how to show respect for himself, his 'date', his God, & our name. This is all a process.
Thoughts. I'm still in training during my season.

Wet Basement & Happy Boys

Children are so much more flexible than we are. They can go into any new situation and fit right in. They easily adapt just like chameleons. I'm simply writing this post to praise my boys.
Unfortunately, we returned home Tuesday evening to a loud hissing sound. Since I didn't know what it was, I grabbed a stick to take downstairs just in case I had to turn into 'Superhero Dad'.  I walked downstairs and to my dismay I see a half inch of water covering the floor with the hot water expansion tank spewing water. Welcome home.
We could not get a technician to come in soon enough and fix the problem. By this time it's 7 o'clock, no dinner has been cooked, and homework needs to be done. We decided to pack up the family and head to a hotel. For some strange reason this appealed to the boys. Literally, they got excited. A little too excited. 
We spent the night in a hotel room and the boys got comfortable, extremely comfortable...rather quickly. I couldn't figure it ou…

Uggghhhh--Read a book?!?

"Ugggghhhhhhh! Can't I just enjoy the summer?That's why it's called a summer break. You break from school." Can't I just go outside? "Why do I have to do this now?" "I read a chapter of the book. Why do I have to keep reading?"  Not sure if you heard these during the summer, but we did.

This summer may have been the best of times and the worst of times for my boys.  This summer I put pressure on them to perform academically.  They did it, but they hated it.  I look at it from two perspectives:  and concerned parent and a concerned educator. 

I polled my Facebook friends for a different perspective to see if they 'forced' their children to do academic work during the summer; I surprisingly got a variety of responses.  For instance,  one father said he didn't force them, "but rather presented and for the most part they did not." Another said that they made 'academics' as an fun activity.  On another side, another…

They Can at Least Sweep the Grass

I used to hate it when my dad would wake me up on a beautiful, sunny Saturday morning to go outside in the heat in the middle of Georgia (God's country) to cut our grass. I really believe that that he oftentimes forgot that I had a soccer game the day before or I was resting from a long academic week touched by hanging with my friends. Parents to need to be more sensitive to these things. It wasn't until I had kids, boys at that, that I realized that Saturday mornings, or any morning needed to be times where I do less work and they do more.  I mean, let's face it. My dad would show me how to cut grass or sweep the floor. Then it felt like he would lie down in a hammock soaking up rays with an Arnold Palmer and watch me, screaming out some mess like, 'Hey, you missed a spot!' I'm half cussin' (IN MY MIND...) about how I don't want to do this work and why can't he do this instead and why come I don't have anything to drink...
Well, here's how i…

Be the Dad

Be the dad. There are no prolific ideals here. Be the dad. Don't fear being a dad. If you had the audacity to be with her and get her pregnant, then please have the audacity to care for the child. 
Do not make excuses for not being there for the child. You don't live with them? Okay. Make your times happen. If there are problems between you and the mother? Fix it! You don't know how to be a dad? Ask! Read! Seek fathers who have been successful. Yes, there are many out there. The Bible tells us to seek the advice of many counsel and you will be victorious...even in being a dad. I'm so thankful for several examples in my own life. My dad is incredible and has become better as the days grow. I listen and watch. Another example for me has been a man named Carlos Scott. Through questions and having a watchful eye I have seen how to create a successful family. 
Fathers, again, please do not make excuses. Do what needs to be done to make it a success. It can happen. With God…

Helpless & Trusting

This past Sunday I sent our youngest son to a week-long sleep away camp in Pennsylvania.  We sent our oldest approximately 2,000 miles away a week earlier. As I drove off with my beautiful wife of over fifteen years, I realized something.  I have no kids.  Bottles poppin'. Radio blastin'! Oh my goodness.  This is about to be a...Wait!  There was a hushed silence in the backseat, one we had not heard in quite some time.  Almost...haunting. This was a silence in which we would not hear their voices for a least a week. No arguing, groaning, no, 'I need togo to the bathroom' or 'I'm hungry' for seven days.  168 hours.  In fact, this was the first time both my boys were in different parts of the world...with folks who I really don't know that well.  Cap the bottles and turn down Florida Georgia Line.

To top it off, I could do nothing. The oldest in one part of the continent; the youngest in another. The problem I was having was that I had to trust that they …

Stones in the River

When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from right where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.”
So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.” -- Joshua 4

I can truly s…

Technology or the Ancients

Every Saturday morning my son goes to learn the game of chess.  He's beginning to understand the basics of the game.  He plays against other players who are also learning.  Its fun for him.

     But away from the Saturday morning ritual is the Wii, Xbox, Playstation, Kindle Fire, iPhones, and any other device that can stimulate the mind. (We don't have all of those, but you understand the point).

Which is better? The Ancients or the now?  Games that began in the 600's or the 2000's? 

I don't know if I have the answers.  I'm sure both have their advantages. Lend me your thoughts...

I am NOS...

Be Ready for Anything

As you may know, I teach. I have seen the peace of a school as well as the chaos.  Today, I saw the chaos! That chaos is called a bomb threat! Yes, you read it correctly.  Let's paint the picture.

I had just taken my very lively 7th grade students downstairs for lunch.  We were having hamburgers. Just as my students got in line, the fire alarm goes off. All the teachers were looking around. Why? Because usually we get a heads up as to when a fire alarm drill is to happen.  Guess what? No alert. We race all the kids out the building as quickly as possible.  The students found it as another drill, but teachers found it as a call for heightened awareness. It's about 40 degrees outside.  The wind is blowing around 20 miles an hour. The air was dry. And all of the students were outside...with no coats...for close to an hour. I felt so bad for them, especially the little ones. We were out so long that we actually had to walk to another school and wait there. At least there was heat a…

Loss or Defeat? Lessons from the Pinewood Derby

It was the night. The night of all nights. It was the night we had anticipated for quite some time. It was the night...of the Pinewood Derby. Our car was ready. It was named the Cool Man Lamborghini. Cars from all over the land (well, the local Cub Scout troop) came to compete. Great designs, fast designs, and some silly designs.
     The track was ready. It looked sleek and very fast tonight. The judges placed the cars on the track and the excitement intensified. Cool Man Lambourgini was the #19 car. Red. Aerodynamic. Ready. The judge yelled, "Ready!" And they were off. The #19 car got off to a fast start. Oh snap!The car in lane one slid off the track! And so we can in 3rd on the first heat. Drivers (Cub Scouts) made adjustments to their cars and we were readied for the 2nd heat. They raced down the track. The smell of tires burning and engine exhaust (work with me here) was everywhere. Yet, we got 4th place. My son's eyes looked disappointed, but we reminded him…

A Moment

It was nothing fancy. Nothing awe inspiring or even fascinating. I was sitting with my two boys, 13 & 9, eating breakfast dinner (a family favorite) at the breakfast, dinner, work table. And the two of them were...just talking together.  It was if I wasn't even there. I didn't utter a word. I loved it. I know there are many siblings that don't always get along.  For that reason, mine don't always get along. But moments like his are...priceless.  I should have recorded it.

I have NOS.