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Deep Thoughts ’
Friday, December 14th, 2012
While I will always do my best to give you answers about life, there are certain things that just can’t be explained with a reasonable answer. Today will be most remembered as the day a gunman killed seven adults and 20 children at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
People ask, “Why did this happen?”
No one can give a reasonable explanation, because nothing about this incident was reasonable or explainable.
My attempt at an explanation is that some people in this world feel so broken, unloved, and numb that they give up on life.
The irony is, as hopeless and alone as they feel, they still don’t want to die alone.
It’s times like these that cause some people to ask, “If there is a God, why would He allow such an unthinkable event to happen?”
Others ask, “How could an event like this not cause people to turn to God, in the hope that there is a saving grace stronger than the depravity of man?”
In these moments we are forced to both contemplate and appreciate our own lives.
After all, we are the ones that still have the gift of life.
As messed up as it gets sometimes, we still share this gift. We still have the opportunity to love others as ourselves.
People who destroy the lives of others don’t, and maybe even can’t, understand this concept. I’m sure part of the reason is that they themselves weren’t shown enough love in their own life, but that doesn’t give them any excuse.
That’s why as your dad, I will always be teaching you the importance of making people feel special and included. If we all did that the best we could, maybe we could help create a butterfly effect where we passed along hope instead of despair.
I will teach you to seek out the lost, the friendless, the misunderstood, and the lonely. They need a good friend.
And I believe you will make a good one.
We can never explain events like the one that happened today. We can only do our part to quench the pattern of brokenness and fear with a pattern of love and hope.
I love you, Son. I hugged you extra close tonight. So did Mommy. We’re going to take good care of you.
Image credit: Shutterstock, Highway Gantry Sign.
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Thursday, October 25th, 2012
Very seldom do I credit the word “genius” to artists of my lifetime, because it can be a pretty cliche thing to say. People say Quentin Tarantino and Lady Gaga are geniuses. To that, I submit a circa-2010 “Meh…”.
But there is no doubt about it: Dr. Seuss, who died in 1991, when I was only 10, was definitely a genius artist.
There’s a quote which is often credit to him, though it was actually comes from p.115 of True Love: Stories Told to and by Robert Fulgham:
“We’re all a little weird, and life’s a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”
That, my friends, is also genius. That is the kind of quote I am jealous of because I didn’t think of it first.
It doesn’t just apply to the person you marry. For me, it also obviously applies to the relationship between my son and me.
He’s only 23 months-old. So for anything weird he does, like his impression of a snake that involves flapping his arms like a chicken, barking like a dog, and covering his nipples, all while he tries to go potty as his Mommy and Dada watch, he has a solid excuse.
I’m 31 years old. Somehow that gives me less of an excuse to be weird.
Since he’s my son and is exposed to my weirdness on a daily basis, he gets an extra dose; on top of the God-given weirdness he already has.
Needless to say, the two of us have joined up in our mutual weirdness and call it love.
In his ever-renewing resistance to falling asleep for naps and bedtime, I have to step up my game as needed.
Recently he’s been going down less easily, so as of 3 weeks ago, I invented a technique that I, for some unknown reason, named “droning.”
Imagine what it would sound like combining the African back-up singers on Paul Simon’s acclaimed Graceland album with your token chanting monk:
On repeat for like 4 minutes.
It’s basically the human equivalent to the white noise a humidifier makes if you could turn up the volume on one.
I hum this into the side of his cheek as I hold him, then lay him down in his bed once he gets in the trance, and then I do it again for a couple more minutes to let it all really soak in.
If he isn’t deep enough in his sleep mode when I start backing out of the room while still droning, he politely calls out in the dark room:
It’s his way of saying, “Will you keep doing that weird thing that helps me fall asleep?”
I appreciate when he does that. It shows me he likes my weirdness. He asks for my weirdness.
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Saturday, October 13th, 2012
Sometimes I just get in a 1990′s grunge mood.
Last week as I drove my nearly 2 year-old son home from daycare, I was in a somber trance as I let the music of Live’s Throwing Copper album flow through the stereo speakers of my Honda Element.
As I listened to the 8th track of the album, in which the title itself consists a word deemed too obscene to spoken on cable TV, yet it is the normal word for “poop” in most other countries, I realized that in a couple of years, I probably won’t get to listen to whatever I want to in the car anymore; as least not without giving him some lengthly explanation:
“You see, son, that word is a bad word. You can’t say it in school or at home because you’ll get in trouble. It means the exact same thing as “poop” but, as a society, we collectively give more negative power to the other word, therefore we’re not supposed to say it.
I know that almost sounds conflicting with what I normally tell you about how we shouldn’t care about what people think about us, but this is an exception. We have to go along with the rules of society on this one.”
Type any “cuss word” in the search box on The Dadabase and you’ll probably come up with no related articles. It’s just not my style.
However, I’m not too worried about the words that society chooses as “inappropriate.” I’m less concerned about any particular words and more focused on the messages we send with all words we use instead; as well as the tone we use when we speak.
As a person whose religion teaches him to loves his neighbor as himself, the challenge for me is to refrain from using language that is judgmental, condescending, prideful, or laced in gossip.
To me, that’s the kind of language that is set on fire by the flames of hell. Not the word “hell” itself.
So as my son grows old enough to understand society’s goofy rules on which words we can and can not say, that’s what I’m going to teach him:
“Don’t say those certain ‘cuss words’ because then you’ll get in trouble. More importantly, let’s focus on the words we can say. Let’s find ways to build people up with our words.”
Granted, my words are no good if I’m not already taking my own advice.
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Monday, September 24th, 2012
It would be most appropriate to begin by quoting the opening of the movie (500) Days of Summer:
“Most days of the year are unremarkable. They begin, and they end, with no lasting memories made in between. Most days have no impact on the course of a life.”
Knowing this, I always try to end each day by trying to figure out what made that day special compared to every day I’ve ever lived.
But not today, because I already know.
I want to bookmark this moment in my life, as if some major milestone has just been reached, or some great accomplishment has just been achieved.
Simply put, it really does come down to a 72 cent fire truck I bought for my son yesterday. That’s what makes today special.
I feel more alive today, not just because we finally made it to autumn, my favorite time of year. Instead, my state of euphoria exists because I know I made my son very happy by buying him that fire truck.
On this day, I do not feel overwhelmed as a husband and dad trying to provide for his family. I am not desperately in need of sleep or a boost in confidence in my abilities of what society expects of me or even what I expect of myself.
Nor I am worried about the end of the world; no, I’m not concerned that Communist China will take over America, or Communist Russia, or even religious extremist terrorists.
In fact, if the world as we know it came to an end right now, at least I would know I ceased to exist while in a state of accidental bliss.
It all goes back to my wife and I standing in the checkout aisle at the store and me telling my son, “You’ve been a really good boy today and we know you really want a fire truck, so we’re going to buy it for you.”
He didn’t even smile; he just kept a somber look on his face that somehow communicated gratitude even more than smile could.
It’s seeing him celebrate back at the house by making his fire truck the head of a parade with his other toy cars.
It’s knowing all day at work I was thinking about my son and how happy I made him by buying him some cheap toy.
In this moment I feel extremely needed by a little boy who is dependent on me for little surprises in life, like a toy fire truck.
The meaning of life is to give life meaning. I thoroughly believe that.
And right now, I am experiencing it.
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500 Days of Summer, China, Communism, Deep Thoughts, fatherhood, fire truck, movie quotes, Nostalgia, philosophy, Russia, the meaning of life, toys | Categories:
Deep Thoughts, Growing Up, Must Read, The Dadabase
Wednesday, June 27th, 2012
In his New York Times bestseller, Eating The Dinosuar, Chuck Klosterman proposes a theory I’ve subconsciously thought about for a good number of years now:
“Let’s say you built a time machine to kill ‘Baby Hitler’ in 1889. Committing that murder would mean the Holocaust never happened. And that would mean you’d have no motive for going back in time in the first place, because the tyrannical Adolf Hitler, the one you despise, would not exist.”
Not only would you be killing a yet still innocent baby, who’s to say that an even worse, unstoppable antichrist wouldn’t have risen up during that same time and took his place? Like Super Shredder in the 2nd Ninja Turtles movie.
But forget about killing Hitler as an infant. Instead, as a friend on Facebook recommended, why not kidnap “Baby Hitler” and then raise him as your own, therefore causing him to never become the demonic monster we know him as today?
I’m not endorsing kidnapping infants here, but my friend did get me thinking:
Could pretty much any of us have prevented Hitler from becoming Hitler?
Sure, none of us parents are perfect. But I have to assume that if I raised a future Hitler, with my structured yet loving parenting style, things would have turned out a lot different.
This is an ultimate question of nature versus nature.
But am I wrong? As parents, does our influence not have enough power to raise up a child to be good?
And by “good” I mean “not Hitler.”
I realize this Dadabase post is so weird and abstract and potentially unrelatable (and offensive?) that it may easily never show up in the Most Read Posts or Most Recent Comments section at the top right side of this page.
Just the same, if there are any other parents out there willing to engage me in this hypothetical question, I would love to hear your take on it:
If you raised “Baby Hitler” (or any potential antichrist or at least a serial killer, for that matter) from infancy, would they turn out as a normal human being instead? Would your positive influence on an innocent child be able to prevent the outcome had the actual parent raised the child?
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Adolf Hitler, antichrist, Chuck Klosterman, Deep Thoughts, Eating the Dinosaur, parenting | Categories:
Deep Thoughts, Must Read, Nostalgia, People, Spirituality, The Dadabase