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Deep Thoughts ’ Category
Sunday, November 10th, 2013
2 years, 11 months.
As you know, I just got back from my 2nd trip to Detroit yesterday, to visit the OnStar and Buick headquarters.
In addition to your official souvenir (giant toy car) that you received yesterday, I’ve also brought back some more souvenirs… photos from Detroit- most of them being goofy shots of me.
However, this one, a shot of the brick wall as soon as I walked inside the new Whole Foods in Detroit…
It’s more interesting and innovative than anything; at least according to my perception of what I thought was simply a quirky phrase which could be destined to be a bumper sticker.
Thanks to Google, I learned that “Say Nice Things About Detroit” is actually the name of a novel by Scott Lasser.
However, I like to stick with my own original interpretation of the phrase…
I feel that the way Detroit has been perceived in media in recent years (I’ve made it clear before I’m not a fan of CNN or Fox News because they’re both so ridiculously one-sided, as they cater to their appropriate uncompromising political party) is unfair to the city.
Now that I’ve visited Detroit my 2nd time, including downtown, even at night, I am so grateful to not have taken the sound bites seriously in mainstream media, when they create headlines about the sky of Detroit falling.
What helped keep me open-minded on my trip is that just two days before I took the flight to Detroit, I saw on MSN’s homepage that Detroit is currently America’s top “turnaround town” for real estate:
“Instead of sinking when the city of Detroit had just filed for bankruptcy, its housing markets took on a quiet resurgence. In the second quarter of this year it ranked seventh in the report, and this rapid jump to number one speaks volumes about its pace of acceleration.”
This is a perfect example of why I will always reinforce to you the importance of being open-minded and why I will encourage you to always question the mainstream ideas and look for the answers yourself.
Detroit is a really cool city. I actually look forward to my next trip there.
In fact, in my next letter to you, I will be sharing some more pictures of the city, from the scavenger hunt I partipated in with OnStar and Buick.
(That’s how I got this cool new t-shirt from Pure Detroit, a local culture shop there.)
Everyone I met in Detroit, in every part of it I visited, were all very friendly and optimistic.
It was almost if they were unaware of the same regurgitated “news” that outsiders are being fed.
Without any of the citizens of Detroit saying it, I literally felt it in their presence: They believe in the rebirth of Detroit.
I know I do. And by the time you’re old enough to read this letter and really process it, I’m sure the old stereotypes of Detroit will be outdated.
Now that I have visited that great city (with its really nice downtown) and seen for myself its passion to rise again, I too am passionate about not simply refraining from saying negative things about the city, but instead, about saying nice things about Detroit.
Because they’re true.
P.S. A special thanks to fellow dad blogger, Fred Goodall, of Mocha Dad, who took the picture of the Whole Foods wall. (He has a smart phone and I don’t.)
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Deep Thoughts, Nostalgia, The Dadabase
Saturday, November 9th, 2013
2 years, 11 months. (7 days from your 3rd birthday!)
Good Morning, Son. I’m actually writing you from Detroit today. That’s a bit unusual, huh?
I’ve been up here in Michigan for the past couple of days, as General Motors invited me to be part of their “Connected By OnStar” Immersion program.
Yesterday, while particating in a Twitter chat with other fellow parent bloggers, I learned two things:
1) We missed randomly meeting Jimmy Fallon by less than an hour, as proven by the “19h” and “20h” which explain how long ago the event took place:
The Decision. (American or Lafayette Coney) #Detroit#BOTHhttp://instagram.com/p/gdocXVvZ72/
Meanwhile, this is the group Daddy was with:
If there was any doubt @Mochadad proves the American Coney Dog wins!! #puremichigan#tmom @ American… http://instagram.com/p/gdiU3MiTXC/
(For what it’s worth, I invited Jimmy Fallon to dinner with us (via Twitter) but I later learned he had already flown to Chicago shortly after lunch. Hey, I tried!)
2) As we were sort of going around the room, telling each other how many kids we all had, and by default, comparing, this nugget of wisdom was born:
“People who have less kids than you don’t know what they’re missing… people who have more kids than you are just plain crazy.”
As I’ve shared that quote with my Facebook friends and Twitter followers, they seemed to easily agree.
Of course, I was one of the parents in that Twitter chat who only has one child, with no definite plans of having another. So for me to agree with that statement, which I do, is to say that parents with even just two kids are crazier than I am!
And by crazy, I actually might mean… more disciplined and patient, exponentially as compared to me.
Or, maybe they really are just crazy… who knows?
But as for me, I can’t imagine taking two of my own kids to the zoo. I look at these “photo op fails” from our last trip to The Louisville Zoo and think how that was big enough of a challenge for me.
I loved it, don’t get me wrong, but, more than one kid- well, I guess I just don’t know what I’m missing.
P.S. For more on “photo op fails”… click on this other letter I wrote to you back in the summer:
“Celebrating Photo Op Fails With My Kid”
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Thursday, November 7th, 2013
2 years, 11 months.
Tonight was the first time I’ve ever talked to you over the phone.
Mommy picked you up from school instead of me today, so I called you both to check in.
When Mommy handed the phone to you in the back seat, I had an actual conversation with you:
“Hey Jack, what are you and Mommy doing right now?” I asked.
“We’re at Whole Foods. I’m gonna eat pizza for dinner,” you replied.
Prompted by Mommy, you ended the call by telling me that you missed me and loved me. I can tell your words were sincere, though.
I mean this in the best way possible, but that was pretty weird for me. I was actually carrying on a legitimate conversation with you… like I would an actual human being!
Without your visual right there in front of me, I was forced to absorb only the sound of your voice.
I mean, I’m used to talking to you during the whole ride to school and back every day, but it’s a whole other thing without any prompts or crutches.
Wow. You and I can actually talk… over the phone.
I heard your voice. I’ve never paid attention to your voice before. Normally, I’m so focused on the circumstances surrounding the conversation that I hear the words you say, but not your actual voice.
Even though it may seem like I’m making a bigger deal of this than I need to, this for me is a bookmark as your Daddy.
Just days away away from your 3rd birthday now, this is a significant moment as I recognize you as a boy; as a fellow human being. Not a baby.
I can talk to you. And not about just superficial stuff like the “monster trucks” (Toyota Tundras) you see as we’re driving down the highway.
But instead, you can tell me what’s going on in your life… over the phone.
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Sunday, November 3rd, 2013
2 years, 11 months.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I wrote a letter to you called “Family: A Witness To The Best And Worst Parts Of Life,” in which I explained how building a marriage and a family isn’t the cure for problems in life.
Our family of three is no different.
I’m pretty sure we have the same basic struggles and weaknesses as most families out there; despite the religous affiliation.
It’s just as easy for me to crop out the rough spots for social media, as the next parent on Facebook could- and instead, post a geniunely positive photo for everyone to see, as if the cloudy and stormy days never happened.
A strong marriage and family provides a more stable support unit for the good, the bad, and the ugly that makes up what life is all about. To me, that is real love and real life.
I also mentioned in my letter the importance of being the kind of love we want to receive. I told how love isn’t easy; it’s hard work, a true investment- not simply a given.
While others could surely and easily disagree with my wording, that’s how I see it.
And now, as I write this today, there’s a related blog post that is going viral. It’s so viral, it’s currently impossible to look at my Facebook news feed without seeing at least a half a dozen people of sharing it in any given hour.
I’m referring to a blog post, simply entitled, “Marriage Isn’t For You.”
The author, Seth Adam Smith, is not a famous writer; at least, if he wasn’t a famous writer before, he’s probably becoming one now. He managed to publish a simple, yet revolutionary idea that is totally resonating with people I know.
In the post, he quotes his father’s words of wisdom:
“Marriage isn’t for you. You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. More than that, your marriage isn’t for yourself, you’re marrying for a family. Not just for the in-laws and all of that nonsense, but for your future children… Marriage isn’t for you. It’s not about you. Marriage is about the person you married.”
So perfectly said.
I think that like most people, I went into the article thinking it was going to explain that certain people just aren’t good at, or ready for, being married.
Instead, he totally surprised me with a fresh concept: Marriage isn’t for me.
This Seth Adam Smith guy is on to something. I’m going to be mindful of his (and his father’s) words for everyday of the rest of my life.
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Wednesday, October 30th, 2013
2 years, 11 months.
I guess in a way you could say this is the accidental sequel to “You’re Not Entitled To Much In This Life, Except…” from a few days ago.
So this is something I meant to say, too:
The reward for a job well done is more hard work.
That’s definitely the case at my job in the office. I don’t assume I’ll get a raise simply because I’ve been employed there for a certain amount of time.
I see it more of an old school concept that you get a raise based on time. Instead, I work with the mindset that I need to daily show my employer that I’m one of the most proactive, diligent, and creative workers there.
Basically, as I prove myself more each day, I’m rewarded with new tasks and responsibilities- in other words, more hard work.
The concept is that I will eventually hold so many responsibilities and successly completed projects that a new pay grade will eventually be unavoidable.
Until then, I’m working hard and being rewarded with more hard work.
I wish I could tell you that life was easier than that. I don’t think it is.
The thought of ever retiring seems not only impossible for me, but it simply seems like a joke; not just because I have no faith in the Social Security program. It’s also that I can’t imagine not feeling the pressure of accomplishing tasks all the time.
I’m afraid I’m one of those people who would die within a year after retiring. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.
Therefore, I plan to stay moving and active.
As I write all this, I can’t help but think about how this mindset makes me think of being a parent. With each new phase I complete, like the get-no-sleep phase when you were a newborn, I graduate to a newer and more advanced job.
Nearly three years ago I was cleaning bottles, whereas these days I’m helping you potty train.
If the reward for a job well done is more hard work, then that means hard work is rewarding. Weird concept, but I get it. Actually, one of my favorite books in the world is Ecclesiastes, which is widely believed to be written by the wisest man who ever lived, King Solomon.
This sums it up for me in a way I can appreciate:
“5:18 This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. 19 Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. 20 They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.”
If that’s how I see the world, and how I see life, it would seem difficult to feel entitled to much.
Needless to say, I am your daddy. That means the reward for being your daddy is, being your daddy.
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