Raising Kids Right in Today’s World

I had another post planned for today, but it had to be bumped, because something is on my mind. I work up this morning to hear of yet ANOTHER school shooting, this time in Maryland, and luckily there do not seem to be any deaths. I then was checking my Facebook and a friend posted an article about a teen suicide, and what caused it. Needless to say, there is a lot of crazy things going on this this world and the more I think about it, raising kids today is so much different than when I was a kid and more so, when my parents were kids.

When I was young, we knew which house all of our friends were hanging out at because there was a pile of bikes on the front lawn. Today, kids can check their social media and instantly know who is where and what is going on. As I got older, I looked forward to learning to drive a car. By the time my kids are old enough to “drive,” chances are all cars will be self driving and it will be skill they do not have to learn. Obviously, there are thousands of examples of this, but the point is, technology is changing our lives.

The school shootings are crazy, because with social media, we are learning about these sooner and rumors spread just as quickly, which means of all the information we are gathering, not all of it is 100% accurate. With so many “Celebrities” that made their name on Facebook and Instagram, people see the idea of going viral and their shot at fame, by doing something through these mediums. Do not get me wrong, I have a Facebook and an Instagram and love the idea of Social Media and technology, but I think it can also be dangerous.

The danger can be seen in the article posted above, about a seemingly happy 16 year old, that felt constant pressure from everyone to succeed. With the likes of Social Media, people are sharing their accomplishments or making it seem they are doing something great (in an effort to get likes), which can make the rest of us feel depressed and left out: and this is an actual problem!! When I was in High School, I was actually suspended from school for changing grades in a teacher’s book. I was the TA for a teacher who was also my English teacher. I had a few friends that asked me to help them out with a few grades and I noticed quickly how easy it was and how perfect my system was. I actually started to change some of my grades as well… this worked till someone informed the teacher and my system crumbled. However, the reason for this was simply that I felt the pressure to do better. I was an all-star swimmer and was set to get into college on my talents alone. But because I was swimming so much, my grades slipped, and despite my swimming achievements, I felt like a failure to my parents and coaches and some of my friends who maintained 4.0+ GPA’s.

As I have stated in the title of this post as well as (more or less nonsensically) within the text of this article, the idea of how to raise our kids today has become very difficult. I have 2 kids who are 3 and 5, and the truth is, I don’t know what the future holds. Technology moves so fast, that what we see in cell phones and tables now, will be different in 10 years. How we commute in our vehicles will be different when our kids are of age. The days of warning kids simply about a stranger with candy are beyond us. Now we have to ALSO be cautious of people online, what we share, who can see our pages, and the hardest part: preparing our children for the unknown. We do not know where technology is headed and how our kids will use it. Teens now didn’t have parents who grew up on Instagram and Facebook, so they were not necessarily warned ahead of time of the dangers of viral posts and not believing everything you see. Parents now do not understand the pressures our children are facing, that differ from the pressures we faced. When I was growing up, schools were safe. I was in High School when Columbine happened and even then, it felt safe… we didn’t think this would be happening so much more often.

For our children, there is hope that we do something about guns (banning or becoming much stricter is ideal). And there is hope that us as parents can continue to stay in the know on the new trends and the dangers they pose to our children, whether we can see them or not. For me, the best way to raise our children is for them to be inclusive of others. To be nice and positive and to follow the golden rule. I want my children to feel comfortable coming to me with any issues or what they feel is a problem. As parents we can all do better and for us to move forward as a society, we have to.

This article is a bit all over the place as I had to get things off of my chest, but I would love to hear your thoughts below. What do you agree or disagree with me about? What are you doing to help raise your kids right?

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Taking My Daughter to School

This post will not be long, but it is something I wanted to share/brag about:

Today I dropped my daughter off at school. it was not big, there was no special occasion. But because of the hours of her school and the time I go to work, my wife usually just drops her off. However today I needed to drop her off, and for whatever reason it was fun. She was excited to she me her classroom and have me drop her off. She didnt cry, but she was sure to give me a hug, kiss and high five (her trifecta of good-byes) before I left. I even snuck in a little “I Love you” in sign language which she happily returned.

My kids are amazing, and for such a “small” thing to do, it brought me a lot of joy and happiness. Sometimes you have to really enjoy the small things in life to truly enjoy life as a whole.

Phil Dunphy is My Hero

If you are not watching ‘Modern Family’ every week, you are missing out on one of televisions greatest treasures. This Emmy award winning show will make you laugh, it will make you cry and… well it probably wont make you cry but it will make you laugh. This comedy follows an extended family as they navigate life in their own way. Phil is married to Claire and together they have 3 children. Claire has a gay brother named Mitch,and him and his partner Cam (who in their own right nearly steal the show from Phil) have an adopted daughter. Mitch and Claire’s Dad, Jay, is married to a young bombshell named Gloria (who had her own kid from a previous marriage. There is always a lot going on in this show, but to me, the greatest part is Phil himself.

Phil is a family man. He is funny, charming and witty (although he rarely succeeds when he tries). He reminds us constantly that he was a cheerleader in college and that he is an expert magician. He loves to bounce on the trampoline, dance and have fun. But most of all, Phil loves his family.

I have had conversations with friends and family on many occasions about how much I love Phil. What is funny is that everyone always says the same thing: I am just like him. Now, knowing better, I know they are making a joke, because Phil is an utter goofball and a nerd. He often finds himself at the butt of people’s jokes and in general is just a silly, fun loving guy. But when people compare me to him, I take it as a compliment.

Phil might be a bit of a doof, and may get picked on from time to time, but he has a heart of gold. Phil loves his wife and kids more than anything, and they come first in his life. Phil not only loves his job, but he loves his life and loves to have fun. All 3 of his kids are very different but he finds ways to bond with each one and to help lead them. Each kid is not punished or celebrated the same as each is unique, and he treats them as such. Phil doesn’t particularly care what others think, aside from his Father-in-law, who he is constantly trying to impress, so that he feels good enough to be the husband, to his father-in-laws little girl (I know the feeling). And at that, for being such a nerdy guy, Phil landed a smokin hot, down to Earth wife, who not only puts up with him, but cherishes him and truly loves him too. Who wouldn’t want that.

Over time, television has brought us many great TV Moms and Dads. Those we love, those we hate, and those that much us smile and laugh. To me, Phil is the penultimate father figure. Phil Dunphy is my hero 🙂 !!

Please feel free to share who your favorite TV Mom or Dad is or who you see a little of yourself in.

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Testing My Patience

Today is just one of those days. I am sitting on my couch, tired, frustrated and exhausted. I am nearly in tears today. We all have those days, but I guess the true question is: how do we respond to those days.

Nothing out of the ordinary happened today. Nobody I know was hurt in any way. I didn’t lose my job or car. I have plenty of food on the table and in the fridge and my kids are happy and healthy. So why am I so upset? My guess, is that life is just tiring sometimes.

It is no secret I have a lot going on in my life. I am dealing with marriage problems (more on that at another time), I am super busy at work, I have a big vacation coming up, I am going back to school soon, and I have 2 kids under the age of 5. Life. Is. Crazy.

Today I came home from work, already in a bad mood. Work is crazy busy as my co-worker recently left the company, dumping all of his work on me. All of this right as we were undertaking a big change to our organization AND prepping for a big conference next week, in which I have to give a presentation. Outside of work there is a lot going on too, as personal problems aside, I am preparing to start school as well as get ready for a week long family vacation (which adds stress at work because I need to ensure all of my work is completed so I do not have to work while I am gone). So when I came home from work, I was just not ready to parent and adult.

To be honest, I lost my patience tonight. My kids tested me over and over, and I finally lost my patience. Its not their fault. They do not mean to press my buttons. But today it just happened. In reality, they were just being themselves: wild and crazy kids, acting their age (my daughter turns 5 in September and my son turns 3 at the end of July). But today wasn’t the day for that. They were eating dinner when I came home… well they were sitting at the table watching TV talking and playing, while not eating. I fought with them, I begged and pleaded… I even resorted to bribing them to eat. My daughter ultimately ate, but my son did not. He refused to eat very much, stating that he wasn’t hungry… but I know better. I know he is just trying to fight with me until I give in and give him something else. But I do not play that game. So tonight after he was in bed and he was crying for more food, I had to be firm with him. Is it too much for an almost 3 year old? Perhaps. But by no means was my son starving, and he did eat SOME food… just not a lot. He was just trying to get his way, and I just refuse to be the parent that lets their kids get away with everything.

Tonight I am just exhausted. I did not want to parent or adult, I just wanted to relax and meditate. Life has been particularly trying these last few months, but I am still focused on bettering myself and finding the positive. Some days are harder than others, but we are human, right? Tomorrow is a new day and I can focus on being better.

Share some of your stories or best practices when you are having a day that is trying your patience as well. Whether its the kids, your job, your significant other, or just life in general.

Please feel free to subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram. I hope to chronicle my journey in school and connect with like minded people. People who want to learn and grow and help others along the way.

A Week with No Kids

I am a father of two. I have a 4 year old girl and a 2 year old boy. They are the light of my life and I love everything about them. I love their personalities, their little voices and their compassion. I love them when they are happy, and I love them when they are sad. Both of my kids are absolutely wonderful humans and I miss them when they are not around… most of the time.

Do not get me wrong, I love my children more than life itself and I would do anything for them. And I truly do miss them when I do not get to be around them. However, sometimes it is nice to have a break. I have never been one to think that, but as they get older and our lives get more and more hectic, I see the need for some alone time. And what it took to discover that, was actual alone time.

This week, my parents took the kids to their home out of state and my wife and I had the week off. Missing my kids is a given, but at the same time it has been kind of nice at time. Normally my routine has me coming home from work, playing with the kids, fighting with them to eat dinner, getting them in the bath, and dressed and teeth brushed, reading them a few books and then putting them in bed and laying with them a bit. When all is said and done, I am usually not able to change my clothes and relax until close to 8:30 at night. This week? This week, I am able to come home, and sit on the couch and unwind for a bit. Eat dinner when I want and not argue with anyone over what food to eat. Instead of waking up to get in my workout before anyone is awake, I can sleep in and then work out at night.

Sleeping in! That is another thing. When you have kids, you never know what time you are going to wake up. The kids could sleep till 8 or they could be up at 5:30. But either way, I have to get up early to work out just in case they also get up early. But now I can sleep in a little longer and relax and just not have to parent.

Do not get me wrong, I love so much about parenting, but it is hard. Not that I would EVER leave my kids, but I see why some people do: they are tired and stressed and can’t handle it, so they run from their problems. But is parenting really a problem? Is life really a problem? As Rocky balboa said (in one of my favorite quotes) “The world aint all sunshine and rainbows..” Life i shard and will keep you on your toes, but you can’t run away from it… and not that i ever would. But what I have learned is that you need time to recuperate.  It doesn’t have to be a week, but a weekend every now and then, or a night with the boys/girls: something to let you have some “you” time and refresh.

AS much as I have missed my kids this week, I think it was a week like this to really help me realize how important these breaks are. I would much rather see my kids every day than not, but the occasional weekend or day off I think is best for everyone.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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