Now that on Facebook I’ve stopped engaging myself in conversations or debates involving anything political, religious, or regarding a plant-based lifestyle, or curing cancer through Gerson Therapy…
Or being sarcastic and therefore confusing people, or posting phony status updates meant to mock the desperate cries for attention and pity that are so abundant, well… Facebook just isn’t that entertaining to me anymore.
And I think Facebook is a better place now, without me playing that role. These days all I do on it is just publish my letters to you and “like” peoples’ pictures.
So basically, I’m only on Facebook for 5 minutes a day, looking at my friends’ pictures to learn if anyone is having a baby or just went on a trip.
Or, by default, seeing pictures of them running in a half marathon.
Through that process, I’ve realized the nirvana I wish to achieve on Facebook:
To be one of those cool parents who runs half marathons and otherwise leaves the general public guessing on their personal opinions and lifestyles.
To be someone who Facebook friends ultimately only know through pictures with no captions.
I admire those people. I think they are cool. I wouldn’t mind being a little mysterious… (As if this helps!)
Lucky for me, today is Mommy’s birthday! (She and I are the exact same age for 9 months of the year; and that 9 months begins today.)
So yesterday, the three of us went to Fleet Feet so Mommy could try on some new running shoes, with the advice and direction of an expert. After all, she and I have had our old running shoes since before we were married over 5 years ago.
And for the past couple of years, she’s been telling me she wants to run in a half marathon.
Though I’ve always encouraged her to do so, there evidently was something motivating about this birthday that caused her to decide to take the plunge… by actually buying the official, right shoes for it.
So as Mommy was picking out her shoes, I turned aside to her quickly as the sales associate was checking the back of the store for a different size shoe for her:
“Hey, should I get shoes too, and join you in that half marathon?” I asked.
The rest is history. It seems like only yesterday… oh wait, it was.
Mommy is now the proud new owner of a pair of New Balance’s- and for me, a pair of Mizuno’s.
This is a pretty big deal for us. Mommy and I get to have a hobby! We get to be somewhat of experts on a thing.
Even if it’s simply running for a sort of long distance in a race we’re not actually trying to win.
In the process of buying these new shoes and doing YouTube searches on running a half marathon, I am now quickly becoming familiar with “front foot running.”(When you run in place, you put your weight on the front of your foot, not your heel. “Front foot running” is using the running-in-place model to move forward, to keep from permanently damaging your joints.)
I have to admit, I’m starting to feel pretty cool all of the sudden… on my way to be one of those half marathon parents!
Not that Mommy needs a new hobby to be cool. She’s way cool. And way beautiful.
Not to mention, she’s so sincere and giving of a person. You and I are so blessed to have her in our family of three. But you already know that.
If/when marijuana becomes legalized, how will that affect parenting in our nation? Will America go to pot? Or are the overworked, stressed-out, anxiety-ridden parents better off filling the void with prescription anti-depressants?
I consider myself an evangelical Christian, a self-admitted health nut, and a law-abiding citizen. Here’s the twist: I am a proud cannabis activist. In other words, I openly support the full legalization of marijuana. Yet I’ve never in my life actually consumed the stuff.
If you’ve simply been reading the story headlines on MSN.com within the past couple of years, you may have noticed the growing number of articles talking about the further legalization of marijuana; especially as more and more states having been approving its use for medical reasons- like for cancer sufferers, for example.
The issue of legitimate marijuana use is a slippery slope, thanks to the fact that the plant happens to have plenty of undeniable medical purposes.
Having grown in up the Eighties during the prime time of “Just Say No” and the D.A.R.E. program, I believed that marijuana was a dangerous drug that wrecked peoples’ lives.
But after struggling with the knowledge that marijuana has been used by human civilization for over 5000 years and there has never been one documented overdose, yet thousands die every year in America from prescription drugs, even aspirin, I figured something might be fishy about the stigma of pot.
Another thing that bothered me is that we all can easily think of 5 people we personally know who have a DUI for alcohol, but none of us can name just one person who has a DUI for marijuana alone.
So I spent a couple of months researching to find out why marijuana is actually illegal. I posted my findings on my personal blog, NickShell.com, which also hosts ”Dad from Day One,” the blog that spun off to become The Dadabase.
Marijuana possession may land you a life sentence in prison, whereas murder or rape often does not; yet the mysterious cannabis plant is quite intriguing to us, especially on the Internet where people can read about it privately.
We laughed at the pot brownies scene in Transformers 2, yet condemned Michael Phelps when he celebrated his Olympic victory with a bong hit. Americans have a weird relationship with marijuana. We know in our hearts it’s just a medicinal plant, but we continue to allow good (non-famous) people to be arrested over it; and force cancer sufferers to live without it, in many of our states.
That just doesn’t sound very Christian to me.
Based on how much actual knowledge we know about marijuana now, as compared to even 20 years ago, I am convinced it’s only a matter of time (maybe 10 years?) before it’s legal again. (It was legal from the beginning of time… until 1937.)
A lot of it comes down to a changing public perception, especially within recent years as the taboo of it has tremendously faded. Obviously, I don’t fear writing about my pro-marijuana stance here on Parents.com. It’s not something I felt the need to clear by my editors first. But a decade ago, it might have been different.
Honestly, is this even a controversial topic or am I simply preaching to the choir? I don’t know; but I do at least want to initiate the conversation.
So let’s imagine a world where anyone 21 or older can go to the store and buy a box of joints or just grow the stuff in their backyard.
Does that mean parents start abusing or abandoning their kids? Does the entire country become violent and/or unmotivated? Or is it scarier to think about the fact that an estimated 2 million Americans smoke marijuana every day? Obviously a good number of them are parents.
As a parent, I refuse to be involved in illegal activity. After all, marijuana is dangerous… because it’s illegal to obtain. But if it wasn’t illegal, then it’d be… a safe, natural relaxer that has been never proven to give anyone cancer; much less kill them or even cause someone to get a DUI.
Pour yourself a glass of wine and think about that one.
Yesterday I had to leave work about an hour early to pick up my son Jack from KinderCare: He had a temperature of 103. I knew that because he was still playful, still eating, and not showing any other signs of distress, this would be a “give him fever reducer” solution and not a “take him to the doctor” kind of thing.
But still, there’s something about knowing your child is not well that is undeniably unnerving; the thought that saving your child is not immediately up to you.
Sure, I can protect him from certain things. Admittedly, perhaps I’m overprotective: I won’t let the little guy watch TV or even drink juice. (Yeah, I one of those kind of parents!)
I’ve tried to imagine what I would do if something ever happened to him. How would I psychologically deal with that? Would I be the kind of dad that literally loses his mind if he lost his son? I want to believe that my son will outlive me. It’s both morbid and realistic to think about these dark situations, but occasionally, when I catch myself off guard, I do.
However, the world is full of parents who literally have had to lose their child, including Ruthe and Michael Rosen, whose 14-year old daughter, Karla, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.
But they decided to turn their pain into purpose.
They transformed Karla’s courage and solid optimism into a legacy of community service when they founded The Let It Be Foundation. It’s a nonprofit organization that helps families with children who have been diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses.
The Let It Be Foundation provides services including opportunities for family recreation, housekeeping, grocery shopping and meals, and help in meeting the needs of the child’s siblings. This assistance enables the children and their families to maintain a sense of normalcy at home as they battle the most serious illnesses. So far, The Let It Be Foundation has brought comfort, hope, and joy to families throughout Southern California, and is now in the process of expanding its presence nationwide.
To pass on the meaningful lessons she learned from living with Karla’s cancer, Ruthe also wrote Never Give Up: How to Find Hope and Purpose in Adversity (Cypress House, Sept. 2011), a brave story of faith, hope, and joy in the face of the unimaginable. The book follows Karla’s cancer journey and her unwavering optimism, inspiring readers to turn pain into purpose. Proceeds will benefit families served by The Let It Be Foundation.
Here at Parents.com, the motto is “Healthy Kids, Happy Families.” As the daddy blogger, I want to extend the “healthy” part to parents, too. Because our kids learn their dietary habits from us, the parents.
Two years ago, I was 25 pounds heavier, but I have drastically changed my lifestylesince then to get to where I am now. So for those who are interested in heading down the straight and narrow with me as a parent, with this post I am debuting the first post of my “Healthy Parents” series.
We live in a consumer culture where it is acceptable (yet not ironic) for junk foods to come labeled in packaging telling us they are donating a portion of the proceeds to cancer research. Granted, I’m not against the occasional sandwich cookie or chocolate candy, nor am I against finding a cure for cancer or other diseases.
But am I the only one who thinks there’s something obviously illegitimate about an organization doing an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast benefiting research for Diabetes? (I actually saw that on Jay Leno’s “Headlines” one time.)
I am willing to go so far as to say that we are all fighting cancer in some way. For some of us, our parents or grandparents have been diagnosed by this serious disease and are actively fighting it.
For the rest of us who are younger, the risk may be further down the road. I want to help lead the fight through a lifestyle of prevention, alongside outspoken role models like Dr. Oz and celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver.
Why don’t brands of fresh produce (fruits and veggies) feel obligated to give a portion of the proceeds to help the fight against cancer? Interestingly, those are the foods that actually fight cancer in our bodies.
I feel in our culture, it’s taboo to address the issue that collectively we are gung ho about donating money for and raising awareness of, but don’t spend nearly the same effort to prevent those diseases as individuals by our own lifestyles.
But instead of complaining about that paradox, I’m simply going to write about ways we can focus some energy on having healthy families.
Ultimately, it’s about balance; that’s the message I’m trying to convey. It reminds me of what James, the half-brother of Jesus, said about religion: “Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.”
No one deserves to get cancer or any disease. But we all deserve to know how to prevent our lives from being further affected by it.
We should fight, we should hope, we should pray. We should also use our awareness of cancer (and other diseases) for being deliberate about what we feed our families; whether or not the proceeds of our groceries go to cancer research.
Passing the Mic:
Does our culture suffer a double standard of not focusing enough on healthy eating and living an active lifestyle, while over-emphasizing on researching for a cure?
My Mexican grandmother, Lola Mendez Metallo, has always been one funny grandma, though not necessarily intentionally. Like the way she has always prefaced her jokes with “I’m gonna tell you a joke…”.
Or the fact that she literally managed to see the movie Dirty Dancing a total of 37 times when it originally came to theaters back in 1987, though she never learned to drive a car.
Not to mention the way she always found a way to delightfully sprinkle our holiday dinner conversations with mentions of the most recently escaped prison convicts she had heard about on the radio. Classic.
Plus, I’ve never known anyone more intrigued by angels. I remember how when the TV show Touched by an Angel was still on the air, she would never miss an episode and had a talent for relating every life situation back to the most recent one she had seen,especially if the episode had anything to do with an abused animal. (Her favorite show in the ’80′s was Highway to Heaven, which was also about angels interacting with humans.)
Here recently, I have been thinking about her a lot. I know her health has faded more drastically since my Italian grandfather passed away over three years ago. It’s one of those things where I know that she could just one day never wake up; or she could ultimately be here for several more years. In either case, I am consciously aware of the fact that her time on Earth is especially limited.
It’s an interesting (and sad) perspective; to know my grandma may be in her final months, yet everyday I watch my young son grow up a little bit more. I see one life coming to a close and another just getting things started. It’s a constant paradox in my head.
Knowing her time could be soon, I’m literally dealing with her passing, now; before it even happens. People deal with death differently- I guess I deal with it prematurely, reminiscing her life while she’s still here to answer questions I still have and tell her I love her several times in every potentially last conversation I have with her.
I know she’s going to love finally joining the angels she has talked so much about, but I really would mind hearing a couple more of her jokes; especially if she tells me up front that I’m about to hear a joke.
It can be easy to write off human interactions with angels as tall tales, but according to the Bible, we entertain angels unaware. Today, someone will win a free book called Angels, which helps explain the interactions of angels in humans’ lives, backed up with Biblical stories and references.
If you would like a free copy of Angels mailed to your house, just be the first person to leave a comment on this post, then within 60 minutes, send me an email (email@example.com) including your name and mailing address.