My favorite Father’s Day present…

My reasons for everything!

My reasons for everything!

Yesterday night I was given the best present that my wife could have given me for Father’s Day, we welcomed our newest son into the world, Brooks Eli Batson. During the 41 weeks and 3 days that Emily was pregnant with this wonderful guy I dreamed and prayed about the day I would meet him. My wife and I have some very different views on childbirth and coming back to Birmingham we were a tiny bit scared about how this pregnancy would happen. From the start of our journey as parents we had planned to have natural births with a mid-wife. Living in Austin, TX, and watching my wonderful sister-in-law and brother-in-law experience this joy made us curious about childbirth. It made us question everything that we had been brought up to think about doctors, hospitals, and the modern take on childbirth.

From day one we learned that America had taken on a very different view of creating life from the medical perspective. In most of the instances that we either researched or discussed with others the story kept coming up that hospitals were baby factories that treated pregnancy as an illness rather than the celebration of the creation of life. We heard horror stories about doctors pumping patients full of Pitocin to get the baby out, ladies scheduling C-sections, and hospital treating patients as if there was something wrong rather than embracing the creation of life that only a woman can experience. In many ways this pushed my wife and I to really start doing research into what we really wanted. What we found out is that with every plan that you have in life you must be open to change in a moments notice and with some trepidation accept what path has been laid down in front of you.

With Josiah, our oldest child, we joined forces with one of the most amazing people on the planet, Mary Barnett. She was an experienced and caring mid-wife in Austin, Texas. Since insurance would not cover her services we paid out of pocket for the privilege to allow Mary to birth our creation. We met with Mary on a regular basis and we would sit and talk for about an hour each session. She answered all questions we had and informed us about things we should read and research about the birth of our child. The time we spent with Mary will be a cherished time in my life that I will always look upon as truly one of the greatest learning experiences in my life. She helped us and made us feel like childbirth was truly a gift and wonderful event, not just something to be done. As we got closer to date of birth of Josiah we learned that not all plans go accordingly. Emily went 2 weeks late and Mary, with all her experience and wisdom, sent us to a doctor because it looked like a home birth was not going to be in cards for us for this child. We talked to the doctor and she gave us very few options. With this being our first child and not knowing all the facts we were pushed toward a C-section. Now going from using a mid-wife to a C-section is moving from one end of the spectrum to the other. We went from one extreme to the other. In the end we had a 9 lb 8 oz beautiful baby boy named Henry Josiah Batson. My wife had given me the one of the greatest gifts she could give to me, but in the end she had the trauma of not having the birth she and I planned. It took years for Emily to come to terms with this experience and everyday I tried to help her process and come to terms with it. Although I will never truly know how she felt, we are thankful for everything Mary Barnett gave us through her knowledge and experience. Emily and I decided that we wanted multiple children, so we were off to learn more about the options we had left with our next child.

We knew that having a C-section completely took a home birth out of our realm of possibility for any further children. We learned this because after having a C-section a woman’s uterine wall has been compromised and there is a possibility that their uterine wall could rupture and mother would have very little time to be repaired without losing the mother. My first concern was the safety of my wife and child, so Emily and I knew that with our next child a hospital would be in our future. We found a wonderful practice in Austin, Texas, at St. David’s Hospital that had 2 doctors and 3 mid-wives in their practice. With this group we had a much better experience. We went to appointments and Emily wanted to have our 2nd child naturally if not at home. Our 2nd child felt much like our 1st and decided to be late with arriving into this world. Porter decided to be a week and half late, but decided to come out the old fashion way. My most amazing wife dealt with 50 hours of labor before deciding that she needed to get an epidural. Meredith, her best friend most amazing person and friend at the birth of all our children, and I were glad that she made that decision because her body needed to rest. Within the next 4-5 hours her water broke and Porter was born with only three pushes and came out like he was on slip n slide. So Emily does not get made at me, while she was asleep her leg fell off the bed and she couldn’t put it back because of the pain medicine. I woke up when she called out, but acted like I was asleep and let the amazing Meredith take care of the problem. I know saying that I was soooooo tired does not excuse my behavior and it was not my proudest moment, but Mer and Emily still give me hell about it. Porter came vaginally and weighed 10 lbs 8 oz her biggest baby ever. She delivered so fast that the doctor didn’t even make it into the room and the mid-wife delivered the baby. Emily had successfully had a V-Bac( Vaginal birth after Cesarian).

With the our newest and third child Emily wanted to have another V-Bac and we were living in Alabama again. We had heard horror stories about how doctors rushed patients, made them do things they didn’t want to do, and had looks of fear when we talked to other parents about waiting and trying to have a natural birth. To let you in on a little fact about Alabama: MID-WIVES ARE ILLEGAL! Needless to say Emily and I do not agreed with the insurance companies controlling the hospitals and keeping this wonderful profession from practicing in the state we love. That is a whole different issue that I will write about later, but you can find out more from these great articles in a B’ham publication called Weld (Midwives for Alabama Mothers and  Midwives for Alabama Mothers? Part 2). Emily talked to many friends and through two of our fellow Austin transports, Evan and Jennifer, (great friends with a great story of how we became friends-also will talk about that later) Emily found a doctor’s office that would suite our needs. OB-GYN South was an office where Em met Dr. Ross. They understood that she wanted to have a V-Bac and were 100% behind her if nothing complicated the pregnancy. So off we went on another birthing journey. Yet, this time the doctors were great and we had a great experience. She got to know Dr. Adcock much better and near the end we saw him regularly. Emily like always went a week late. We went to our 41st week appointment and they did an ultrasound and fluids were fine. Non-Stress Test and everything was great. We talked about her options and went home for the waiting game. Needless to say Meredith had arrived in town a week earlier waiting for baby #3. So glad Mer can work remotely and her sister Katherine the Great watched her dog in Chicago. We were sitting at home on Friday night at about 10:30 while watching some “So You Think You Can Dance” and Em looks at me and says, “I either peed myself or my water just broke.” I told it was the latter and we loaded up for the hospital, called my mom to watch the boys because they were asleep, and away we went. We got admitted at around 11:15 pm and the waiting game continued. Emily labored for 19 1/2 hours. Dr. McKenzie made our experience amazing. He gave us the option of just small doses of Pitocin and Emily was ok with that. After about 14 hours Emily’s back was causing her severe pain and she made the decision with tears in her eyes to get an epidural. I can tell you honestly I do not cry very often, but I teared up because I saw the disappointment in my wife’s eyes and there was nothing I could do to stop the pain. Without hesitation I would have taken it all away if I could. Emily got an epidural and 5 1/2 hours later the pushing started. Now one thing I can say for my wife, she may not have short labors, but her pushing rates on the level of a deity. She pushed 4 times and out came Brooks Eli Batson, all 10 lbs 5 oz of his bad self. Dr. McKenzie was happy, we were happy, and everybody was happy. We had our third healthy and happy boy.

 

Through all of our experiences I have always been reminded of a couple of things: I have three healthy boys, my wife’s health has been okay, and I am one of the most fortunate fathers on the planet. Each day I see my boys my love for them and my wife grows. She gave me my family and that is something that I will always thank her for. She is amazing in ways I do not even understand as of this moment. We have amazing friends and family and without both of those life would be empty and meaningless. My Father’s Day is going to be one that I remember till my dying day. With Emily, Josiah, Porter, and Brooks, I have realized that there are many things to live for everyday and mine make me want to be a much better person than I ever deserve to be.

Posted in Change, Family, Love, Marriage, parents | 1 Comment

Moving to a zone defense…

She managed to handle 3 kids and was a great mother, I hope I can be half as good as her.

She managed to handle 3 kids and was a great mother, I hope I can be half as good as her.

Emily and I are not breaking new ground by having 3 children, but we are about to move to another phase of life and the stakes just got higher. The thought that ran through my head the other day was we have a 5 1/2 year old, a 3 1/2 year old, and then a newborn will be brought into this world. The ever changing cycle of life is moving and you have to see what you see and enjoy what you can because it doesn’t come around again. The wheel is way too big and does not compensate for you. If you miss it you miss it and then you live with either regret or wonder. I do not plan to live that way. Yet, what will life be like down the road when they grow up and leave, when they start their independent lives away from the family you created?

In no way am I a person who wants to keep my children in the house forever. I will be very happy for them to leave and start their lives with others they have chosen to be around. What really concerns me is all the little moments that make up who your children really are and what you send out into the world. Having children with my wife has been one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had in life. It has made me into a better human being and shows me everyday what life is truly about and why I have chosen the path I walk.

After 2 years at my current job I have finally realized and accepted that it has caused a lot of stress to me, my family, and those around me. My biggest fear is my anger and stress from this is being carried on to my children. Emily has issues with how stern and loud I am with our children at times and it stems from the negativity I bring home from work. It would be magical if I could completely disconnect from work when I get home, but I have never been able to be that person. Too much of my identity is wrapped up in what I am trying to achieve in my profession. I am an educator and that means that in almost every aspect of life I want to learn new things and I want to help those around me learn also or at least be a facilitating factor to them learning something new. Over the 2 years since I have moved back to B’ham it has become very apparent that I do not hate education, I dislike my work environment. In all my years of working, since I have been 15 years old, I have never worked in an environment where the people in charge are more concerned with catching you doing something wrong than elevating you to create a better environment in which to work. Perfection is something that I do not strive for because for me it is unobtainable, but I have never been terrible at my job. Over the last 2 years my superiors had made me feel that way. They point out and write up every little mistake I make. Not in the, “You have messed up, lets try to work to make this better.” , but in “Here is a memo about what you have done wrong. I am not going to interact with you, but you will know that you have done something wrong.” Over the last two years this is starting to affect me in a very negative way and I am bringing it home.

My wife and children do not deserve this type of treatment. The have been there for me and have always supported me. Yet, I come home mad everyday and look at them and see the positive that I have in my life. The problem arises from the fact that I have already been poisoned and bring that poison to my home. Exercise used to be my solace, but with two kids and a wife that needs to come home from her job and relax until bedtime that has gone out the window. I am not physically active. Yeah, I know I can make anything happen and I should not be making excuses, but it is too much right now and in the future it is not going to get any better. I would either have to wake up at 4 am to work out or work out after 7:30-8:00 pm when I put my kids to bed. That requires me, after being awake and working for nearly 14 hours, cooking cleaning, getting kids ready for bed, doing laundry, and getting ready for the 3rd kid, I just do not have the energy. I am amazed at parents that can juggle all that and still get it done. I am not one of those people.

My plan is to work very hard on being a more positive influence at my house. Maybe this summer will be better since I have some things to look forward to such as: I will meet the newest member of our family in less than a month, I will be riding my bike to my summer job, and I will not be at my regular job for at least 2 months. With these things in the very near future I hope that I can change my negativity to abject positivity. No one can do it but myself and pulling myself out of this hole will be one of the toughest things I have done, but no one ever told me life was going to be easy so I might as well get over it and make some lemonade. I may have to add some alcohol to that lemonade to make it bearable.

Posted in Change, Education, Family, Friends, Love, Marriage, parents, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

There are going to be consequences…

It is Star Wars Day!

It is Star Wars Day!

It makes sense that as a man growing up I am going to look at the next generation and wave my fist and yell, “Get off my lawn!” As an educator in public schools I see the next generation everyday and interact with them and I feel that is a shift in our society and that scares me. Being a history teacher I understand that every generation struggles with this age old problem: the current older generation is always the best and has always done it the right way, while the younger generation has no drive and will succeed in bringing our society and ultimately the world to an end. This always happens, but let me explain what I see from the ground level and you be the judge if I should shut my big pie hole and just be the old man sitting on the porch and the kids on my lawn are alright.

I see some long term effects of a new generation born and raised with only access to the internet. Being someone who’s generation was raised before the internet and during high school and college watched the internet learn to walk and move from a baby to a child. One of the largest examples I see is when my wife and I take the family out to eat. Be aware that everyone says their kids are hyper or active, but being a person that interacts with 135 kids everyday I can say with a great degree of validity that my kids are not hyper, but are very active. When we go out to eat my two boys touch almost every bag of chips at a deli, will not sit down, have a question about everything, I just took three bathroom breaks between my two boys and I did not even use the restroom once, squirm around in their seats, refuse to eat, are loud, and we cannot eat a meal in peace to save our lives. My wife and I look at each other and wonder if this is the first time that we have taken our boys out of the house before this moment, as they tend to forget the social graces we have so diligently taught them. Although we deal with all this and through all these headaches I have noticed that we are talking and interacting with our children. What I notice more and more is that children are being placated by electronic devices so the parents do not have to interact or so that they will be subdued to not be loud in public. Probably while you are reading this you are questioning in your head whether you do that or not and if you do you are making an excuse for why you do this. If you do not do this you are smiling and agreeing with my observations about how society is changing. Now, do not think I am sitting on my throne way above looking down on the masses thinking how superior I am to the rest of society. I look at my phone while my sons are trying to say something to me. There are times that I get wrapped up in looking at social media for a 10 minute period. The one thing that my wife and I try not to do is let this happen while we are eating dinner or a meal, whether it be at home or in public. The biggest effect that my wife and I see is in children’s vocabulary. We both teach and since electronic devices are a one way street it is causing a dumbing down of our younger generation. There are reasons for this and let me explain.

When you talk to another human being you are having to form thoughts. This is done when you watch a show or video. The difference is that when you are interacting with another human verbally you are thinking and then having to use vocabulary and structure sentences in the correct form. Inside your head you may not think grammatically correct and when you speak to the public after spending many hours just ingesting rather then regurgitating it shows by the vernacular you use and the way you structure those thoughts. With the answer to almost any question at our fingertips and being able to access that information within seconds it baffles me why people do not spend their time learning as much as they can about what they love. I have gone down a watch rabbit hole, where I can talk at a much higher level about the common wrist watch. I say that to bring to the forefront that you can learn anything online and our kids are more interested in taking selfies and looking at other peoples selfies, or looking at things that do not gain knowledge that is usable in everyday life. This human interaction is taking a backseat to a screen that is portable and we can look at and stare in awe. “Wall-E” had some good points and I see us heading down that path. But besides the physical is the mental and this is what really concerns me. We may have access to almost any fact or information within moments, but we are not interacting and using that information for further debate. I see more and more kids looking at something online and taking it as fact. Hell, this blog that you read is not fact, but my thoughts put out into the world via the interwebs. I try to spit out fact, but I am making observations just like everyone else is doing. You may agree with me or you may not, but at least you have read something and will hopefully go out and discuss something new with someone else. Kids have too much information thrown at them to be able to process it all. I do not feel that I am doing a disservice to my children by parceling out technology to them and not just flooding them with it all the time. Children should be taught to be critical thinkers and problem solvers. We have a generation that is growing up that is having a hard time being either. They have so many facts at their fingertips that they are getting lost in the information rather than analyzing that information and discussing it with others to determine what they believe and what to question. One of the many things that my father did to help me learn was always play devil’s advocate with me in whatever stance I took on a subject. It taught me to think of other points of view and then discuss and back up my beliefs with thoughts that I had processed by all the information that I have ingested. The way the world is set up now you are allowed to surround yourself with only people that like the same things you like or agree with your philosophy of life. We are scared to confront someone about their beliefs from fear of having a real life human confrontation.

Louis CK states, “It seems like the better it gets, the more miserable people become. There’s never a technological advancement where people think, “Wow, we can finally do this!” And I think a lot of it has to do with advertising. Americans have it constantly drilled into our heads, every fucking day, that we deserve everything to be perfect all the time.” He also states, “Talking is always positive. That’s why I talk too much.” I tend to agree with him. I hope I am wrong, but am really scared that I may not be.

Posted in Capitalism, Change, Community, Education, Family, Friends, hypocrisy, Intelligent life, Politics, Reading, Social Issues, Social Media | 2 Comments

I am angry and let me explain…

Bike commuting makes it so you can see more of this beautiful world.

Bike commuting makes it so you can see more of this beautiful world.

At about the high school level I started looking outside of my little bubble and realized how big and different the world in which I existed really was. Shortly after that realization came the one that I needed to do something to make it better. I saw in the next 23 years many things that have made me really angry and many many injustices that needed to be corrected. Throughout this time in my life it has been a constant struggle internally and externally to fight this battle. On most occasions it just makes me frustrated and angry without any real results. My generation has been introduced to the internet and the power of getting your message out there to the human population. It may be said, why do you get to determine what is right and wrong and what social injustices should be corrected? I do not have a clear answer for you. My murky answer is that if you do not agree that there is a right and wrong then stop reading now. I live under that preface, there is correct and incorrect. I understand that there is a grey area out there, but understanding it is not my forte. My mind works in absolutes. Math is my basis for my logical deductions. There is a correct answer, but there are many ways to reach the same result.

Since my teenage years I have struggled with what is moral and what is immoral. I started putting myself in situations where I saw the bad side of society. My friends did not always make the most moral decisions. The amazing part about this was that my parents allowed this to an extent and that is a credit to their parenting, they allowed me to see what was out there and use the foundation they had built in me to analyze, understand, and ultimately choose a path for myself to follow. Even once I moved into my career I choose to work in places that most never wanted to work. This was not out of some noble means, but my quest to really see how different social classes lived compared to how I was raised. Everyone has a comfort zone and mine is being in really tough situations and also being the minority. It has always worked for me. Most people think I am crazy and that may be true, but it gives me focus and understanding that helps me make sense of this reality.

If I listed everything that I was angry about you may be reading through the next calendar year. There are many things wrong with this world and everyday I hope that I am not one of them. It is my biggest fear in life: What if I am taking and not giving? This propels me in almost every situation that I can imagine. With this comes a very passionate person and you can see that in me when I talk about most things, whether it is a television show, book, or how our socialist educational system is falling apart. Getting animated and “fire-up” about things comes with the territory of being me. I hope that the anger never leaves me because then I will know at my core I have given up and the fight has left me. Maybe in my years to come I will soften, but if I do not see what is wrong with the world and it does not keep me awake at night then it is my time to stop existing. Without that anger and fight I cease to be me. I truly hope that I will always be angry at the injustices in the world whether I can change them or not, but till my dying day I will do what I can to try to make a change in this world not matter if you want me to or not.

Posted in Change, Intelligent life, Social Issues | Leave a comment

The things we leave behind…

Of things lost and hopefully found

Of things lost and hopefully found.

Sleeping has been something that has alluded me over the last week. My normal waking hour has been around 2:15-3:00 AM, after going to bed between 10:30-11:00 PM. Most will think to themselves how they could never live off so little sleep, but alas you are not the one with small doses of unconsciousness. That bit of realism has been left for me. Yet, thinking about how little my body has actually rested does not affect me in that same cerebral way. It has been since I was a little boy that my grandmother, Maw Maw, and I have woken up early and talked for hours on end about life and the type of person my grandfather, Paw Paw, had been. She always mentioned that her and I both were born with thin eyelids and at the slightest break of dawn we arose. This meaning that every morning at my grandmother’s house I would arise and she would make breakfast and we would talk for hours before everyone else in the house would wake to join us to break the fast from the night before. These mornings are something that shaped me into the man I am today.

Maw Maw would tell me the same stories over and over again in the course of my life, but not once did I interrupt her or try to finish her story for her. It was not because I understood that maybe she needed that to maybe come to terms with loss of her husband or wanting to pass on the knowledge of the man that had such a big part of bringing me into this world. I truly loved listening to this great woman speak and impart to me the knowledge she had accumulated throughout her life. My Maw Maw worked as a nurse at the Health Department in Hattisburg, MS, her entire life. She brought joy and a kind heart to everyone she met. Along those lines she never met a stranger, a trait that I now possess and one that my oldest son Josiah has now inherited. She never saw people as their race or how much money they had, she always saw a person-plain and simple. We would go to the grocery store and she would talk to almost everyone she would see. One of my favorite stories that she told me of my grandfather was one where they had gone to the mall. In this trip my grandfather had told Dolly, that is what he called my grandmother, that they were to meet at this certain spot at this certain time. They went their separate ways meandering through the mall. My grandfather returned to the spot at the exact moment he was supposed to arrive while my grandmother was about 100 feet away from the specific location talking to someone. My grandfather stood in his spot waiting on my grandmother to arrive. When she was done she walked over to him and as she approached he was tapping his watch. He looked at her and said, “We were supposed to meet here at 3:00, why were you not here?” My grandmother’s response was, “I was right over there talking to a friend. You could have come over and gotten me.” My grandfather said in his very stern tone, “We were supposed to meet here at 3:00.” This story sums up the two different personalities of Maw Maw and Paw Paw.

The thing that amazes me everyday when I am fortunate enough to awake for a new sunrise is that I am made up of a mixture of both of these amazing human beings. Through the long talks with my Maw Maw I learned about her and being 8 years old when my grandfather died, I learned about what type of man my grandfather was through her eyes. Everyday of my life has been with those stories running through my head as to what a man should grow up to be. We leave many things behind in our lives. Not all things are inspiring, some actually cause scars. It is our responsibility to take those experiences and hopefully give new experiences to the ones we interact with in this journey. There is no rulebook or guidelines in which you must follow. In my humble experience, you can choose whatever path you like. There will always be difficulties and joys along the way. The things that you leave should be something that you are proud of and not those things of regret or I should have done this. We are the mixture of those that have traveled down a path before us and I for one hopefully will leave some good with a dose of “well that was how he was”, all the while not regretting one moment of the cycle we call existence.

Posted in Change, death, Education, Family, Marriage, parents, respect | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Can I be famous and not do anything for that fame…

My bike as I wait for my riding partner to go back to the house to get his truck because I forgot an extra tube.

My bike as I wait for my riding partner to go back to the house to get his truck because I forgot an extra tube.

Being cynical is something that on more than one occasion I have been accused of and I admit guilt. My bias is not completely without merit. If I had grown up in one small bubble my whole life I would understand that maybe I could see all the happy stuff that happens in this world. My parents actually did a great job of keeping me grounded and seeing only what they wanted me to see. Meeting me today most cannot believe that my parents were incredibly strict with the media that we ingested and the music we were allowed to hear. Yet, when I started spreading my wings my goal was to see it all and although I have not been able to do that as of now, I will continue to try until my dying day.

Being an educator you see how families truly believe by what their children espouse to you in class. You also see the work ethics that parents have instilled in their offspring. Working in four different states in very different environments has shown me a small snapshot of what America has become. Here is where the cynicism shows bright and true. There are things that kids are doing right, but many are buying into the ideas and hype that America is selling them. Mainly it is the gatekeepers disseminating the information they want us to see and do not show us what will keep us from truly being concerned with what they are doing with our society. I have very few students that want to work and produce something of substance. The pulse of the society that I encounter everyday trends toward being rich and famous, but without any talent or hard work.

We have an almost epidemic of people wanting to be famous for no other reason than attention. Now I know that narcissism and vanity are two very old vices and most societies throughout history have had their battles with these self-centered behaviors. With the introduction of the forward facing camera we have brought this on our selves and we will reap the crop we have planted.

Instagram is the best example of our fascination with ourselves. I for one think that this bit of social media is brilliant for a couple of reasons. First, it is a forum that I get to look at pictures and that makes me happy. I love photography and am truly amazed at what we capture and record for the world to see and with this new technology we have that capability. Second, you need very little writing accompanying your picture. This goes back to the old adage that a picture speaks a thousand words and it is true. Third, it helps make somewhat mundane pictures look better by putting them through a filter. Now this does not excuse the fact that people still take bad pictures. Truly great photographs are pieces of art that take skill and a keen eye, but with the technology of digital photography we have a lot more practice with what looks good and how to frame shots. So overall digital photography has brought us a high quality of photos. Fourth, I enjoy that you can hash tag (#) a topic and it will be grouped with other photos involving that activity. Some of my favorites are #funwithmyboys, #instagrambham, #blackandwhite & almost anything where my friends have a great idea for their events such as a wedding or snow days. Being able to look at pictures with similarities is great and really get me excited about looking at what ideas people have created from their cameras. But, inevitably under almost every hashtag there are many many selfies! Now if you are alive in our society today you know what they word is and if you are me your skin crawls almost every time you hear it. For those not in the know, it is a picture of yourself for the world to see. I ask my students on a regular basis if their picture on their lock screen is of them and about 75% say yes! Why are we so obsessed with ourselves? I do not think of it as just a kid or teenager thing, it has permeated most age ranges in society. It is almost as if we are worried about being forgotten. In my opinion, I think most of those people will be, even though they are trying very hard to leave some kind of mark on this reality.

My personal viewpoint with social media is to use it as a lens as to what I see from my standpoint, not from the aspect of 2 1/2 feet from my face looking right at me.  I use social media, I refuse to let it use me. But most people that I watch today are trying to achieve some level of fame through no effect. They dress in expensive clothes when they are having problems paying rent. They drive $40,000 cars when they make $10/hour at a job that put very little effort. They act as if the world owes them something, but they refuse to put in work to obtain that reward.

I know, I know, get the hell off your soapbox. Look at it for a minute and see what you think. We have become a society that has television shows about peoples lives that before the invention of moving picture would have most likely been part of a side show at most traveling carnivals. We pay, film, and watch people act like dancing monkeys for their 15 minutes (Oh Mr. Warhol, how you understood what everyone wanted). And my students think this is how you make it in society. They aspire to all these unrealistic goals and their parents get angry at you when you mention that their child needs to work a little harder. Actually work to succeed, how dare you tell me or my child to do such a thing. We will live how we want and you cannot tell us otherwise.

My wife and I are trying our hardest to raise our boys with the a good moral foundation that should help them through this life. We also believe in a strong work ethic because that was instilled in us from a young age by the parents that raised us, Thank you so much Mom, Dad, Izzy, and Papa- You did a damn good job and we thank you everyday for it! But, Emily and I watch everyday(both of us being teachers) parents make excuses for their children. Why they cannot do this or why they cannot do that instead of turning to the children themselves and have them work harder to achieve. I fear for when my generation grows old by the seeds we have planted. We will reap our rewards and when harvest comes we will get what we have sowed.

Posted in Change, Social Issues, Social Media, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Then there was a fork to the eye…

Dogwoods are blooming and that makes me happier than you could ever imagine.

Dogwoods are blooming and that makes me happier than you could ever imagine.

It has been 2 weeks and I am sorry but my brain has been in places that I will hopefully be able to write about in the future, but lately I have been living within each moment and haven’t felt up to the task of reflection. Tonight I was going to go into the happiness that I have been experiencing lately and how it is transforming me into a better person, but as any parent knows things change very rapidly when you have children and if you are not willing to handle the situation and the change you will be beaten to death by those aforementioned children. I do not know if I it will be funny, but it will be real.

The weekend had been good. My father in law came into town and we had a shed built in our back yard. He helped me paint it and get everything situated. I woke up today and walked to church and was enjoying the glimpses of spring. We had shopped for shoes for our boys and then we came home and played outside and decided to cook out with our neighbors. We were eating the grilled burgers and hot dogs and my youngest son takes a fork, do not know if it was intentional or not, and stabbed my oldest son in his eye. He missed and hit him in the check, but there was a weapon and an injury that was very fortunately not too bad for our oldest son. Our youngest son did not fair so well. I have always been worried about how I would react when one of our children did something that was dangerous and could harm someone else with a small part of intent or reckless abandon. Now my oldest son is okay and my youngest is okay also. I was angry, but got it under control very quickly. He stabbed another person in the eye with a fork. I have to still let it set in that this is part of my journey as a parent. I have seen horrible things in this life and many I will never retell to anyone, but now I feel that it has gotten worse because these little creatures are my responsibilities to the world. In the grand scheme of things our youngest, my wife had to remind me, is a pretty good kid. He is wild, stubborn, crazy, huge, and wild, but he is ours and he will always bring a smile to my soul every time that I look at him.

I lived for many years before I had children and thought I was getting a good grasp of the universe. Then you meet a wonderful woman and that person and yourself decide to bring life into this world and you realize that what you thought was up became sideways. What was down came toward you a lot faster than you ever imagined. My two boys amaze me and anger me in the same minute. Fatherhood has made me an exponentially better human being. My boys have showed me that I must experience every emotion why I am on this earth and they are helping greatly. I still have  a wonderful family with all their body parts still intact. We will see how long that holds true.

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