It Is Better Than A Father’s Day Gift Guide


It is Darkest Before The Dawn

They say it is always darkest before dawn and that god never gives you more than you can handle.

Those damn talking heads also say that adversity is where you learn what you are made of and what kind of character you have.

Truth is they say a lot of things and some of what they say I file under bullshit people try to feed you to make you feel better.

Those of you who say I love quotes might wonder and or ask if this means I don’t believe in all of the quotes I post.

The answer is of course I don’t.

When I post a quote it is because I think it will add value to the post, lead to thoughts/discussion and because I hope it will make it more likely people will share my work with others.

There is nothing wrong or contradictory about that nor is there anything wrong with challenging your beliefs or others.

Who I am today is not who I once was.

It Is Better Than A Father’s Day Gift Guide

Sunday night dinner at the current homestead set the stage for a knockdown, drag-out fight about who makes decisions and how not everyone gets a vote because democracy is something we talk about in school and not at home.

A teenage boy adopted a role I remember taking in my youth and questioned why certain decisions are made and insisted upon being given more influence than he is entitled to.

The kids got to see what happens when dad finally has enough and discovered I wasn’t kidding when I said they haven’t ever seen me get angry the way they think they have.

At one point the boy stood against the wall, puffed out his chest, raised himself to his full height and told me he refused to go along with my plan.

I leaned down, put my forehead against his and whispered, “do you want to rethink what you are saying and or change your attitude?”

“No, I am right and there is nothing you can do about it.”

If you told me you heard thunder and saw lightning I would believe it because I responded by channeling my own father.

“You will go where I say you go and do what I say you are going to do because I am your fucking father.”

A second later I followed up with a comment about how this conversation was a million times better than a Father’s Day gift guide.

“How is screaming at me better?

“Because now you know what I really want is a little respect and belief that I am not making big decisions based solely upon anger.”

Star Wars And Parenting

Maybe I should have consulted Yoda’s Life Lessons For Business & Raising Children or The Wisdom of Star Wars On Child Rearing before having this conversation.

Perhaps I would have been calmer or thought to use Yoda’s lesson on my Star Wars loving child, but I didn’t.  I’ll take responsibility for forgetting how young he is and not recognizing there is no way he can really appreciate why this move needs to happen.

The truth is if I told him that as soon as I hit the ground in Texas I felt a sense of relief and certainty he wouldn’t understand or buy that as reason to move.

And even though I am confident that if I can make the move happen on the terms I want I cannot say it will be all I hope to be.

chain of destiny
Churchill is correct.

We are not given the sort of clairvoyance that allows us to foresee every challenge.  Prescience doesn’t exist beyond a very short window of time after which all we have is our intelligence, common sense and willingness to roll with whatever comes.

The real source of my anger stems from a general lack of support and a feeling that lack of cooperation from parties who should be helping forced me into a very difficult situation.

Not to mention that one of the hardest parts of parenting comes from doing your very best to give your kids a better life and a lack of gratitude on their part.

I know why he acted as he did and understand it far better than he realizes but my saying I remember being a teen to a teenager doesn’t work as well as I might hope.

I can’t expect him to blindly accept my word, especially when I never believed my parents totally got it either.

What Came Later

Some hours later I strolled into the garage so that I could lift and burn off some steam.

“How much is on there dad?”

“About a 150 or so.”

“You swing that around like it doesn’t weigh much. Can you teach me?”

He wanders over and we have a conversation about how much he should lift. I tell him to think about form and remind him to consider proportion as part of the process. The amount I lift may not be all that much compared to my size.

The amount I lift may not be all that much compared to my size.

“Sometimes math is useful.”

“Yeah, but it doesn’t mean that I liked Algebra.”

“No, but you took Algebra in middle school, I didn’t take it until 10th grade. This will help give you more opportunities. That is what I am trying to do for all of us, give us more opportunity.”

The net result is he is not thrilled with the idea of moving but he understands why. I suppose that is a good thing, but it doesn’t make having to wait for other people to make decisions any easier.

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  1. Meredith June 17, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    Parenting teenagers sounds like a whole new world. I hope I’ll parent like Yoda, but I’ll probably end up channeling my mom, and I don’t think it’ll be pretty. Sounds like you did OK, though! Good luck with the move!

    • Jack Steiner June 18, 2015 at 9:29 am

      Parenting teens is a different world. At times it is a 1000 percent easier than infants or toddlers and than it is 10,000 times harder. Bigger kids come with bigger problems, but it is always worth it. You just wing it the way we always have.

  2. Janine Huldie June 16, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    Totally had similar conversations with my own girls even at this young or night, believe it or not. Guess it just goes with the territory of being a parent and not just on Mother’s or Father’s Day.

  3. Liza | @aMusingFoodie June 16, 2015 at 3:19 am

    So, I know this is about parenting. But, it reminds me of “Game of Thrones” and the fact that while so many Starks are able to see the big picture, and the grand scheme, they forget to notice what’s happening in the moment to the people around them. That ends up being their downfall – as noble as they are. The Churchill quote made me think of that.

    • Jack Steiner June 16, 2015 at 6:26 am

      That is a good comparison. The Starks (including Jon Snow) all seem to get nailed by assuming everyone will work with them to deal with big picture problems.

      It is a good reminder too as parents to not let ourselves get caught by it either. Our kids aren’t always capable to looking at things as we do so it doesn’t hurt to work with them a bit.

  4. Larry June 15, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    I always thought you enjoyed the quotes.
    Tumultuous. It seems you got his attention.

  5. The Imp June 15, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    Ah, yes. I’ve had that same exchange, but, of course, with ‘mother’ instead of ‘father’

    I thought there ought to be thundering and lightening too, LOL

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