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Thursday, January 23rd, 2014
3 years, 2 months.
One of your new phrases that you’ve recently picked up is “oh my gosh.”
To some, that may not seem like a big deal. But for our family, it’s not something we take lightly.
“Oh my gosh” is lesser form of “oh my God,” which in my book, is a way of breaking one of the Ten Commandments: It’s referencing the Lord’s name in a trivial way; not in a reverent way.
I feel it’s my job to help you understand the difference in when it is and is not appropriate to use God’s name.
Here lately, you’re really getting curious about being more involved when our family prays together at dinner time.
Last night after I prayed while the three of us held hands before dinner, we all said “amen.” But you kept holding our hands, like you wanted to pray too.
So with Mommy’s encouragement, you paused, then simply said, “amen.” Hey, it’s a start- and I think that’s pretty cool of you to want to participate like that.
Whereas praying to God is the right way to use His name, randomly saying “oh my gosh” is a way to sort of indirectly tear down the holiness of God’s name.
It’s funny, because if you were 10 years-old and saying “oh my God,” I would be relieved for you to start saying “oh my gosh” instead.
But since you’re only 3, “what in the world?” is the phrase we are teaching you to say as a substitute for any form of “OMG.”
However, “oh my gosh” is everywhere.
It’s in kids’ movies and TV shows. You have friends who say it at school. I never thought much of it until it became a phrase I didn’t want you to say.
To be clear, I don’t find “OMG” to be offensive when others say it, because I don’t see how that personally concerns me. I see it as an issue between an individual person and God in regards to how they use His name.
But for us, as a family, it’s a decision we have made, based on the teachings of our faith.
So while it might sound trivial, I’m going to steer you away from “OMG” and redirect you to “what in the world?”
Even if it’s normal and everyone else does it. Even Mater and Lightning McQueen.
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Wednesday, November 13th, 2013
2 years, 11 months.
In the midst of a dozen other bloggers at the GM and Buick headquarters last week in Detroit, it was discovered that I was the only one there who… doesn’t have a smart phone.
(Just so you know, back in the year 2013 when I wrote you this, that meant major cool points were deducted from my street cred score.)
I sincerely laughed along with my fellow blogger friends in their amazement:
“How is it that the daddy blogger of Parents.com doesn’t own a smart phone?”
We all laughed even harder when I explained to them that my “dumb phone” is brand new… I just got it like three weeks ago.
The fanciest feature my phone has is a full texting keyboard. Yeah…
But the more we talked, it made a little bit more sense to all of us: They all blog as their full-time career, whereas I have a day job in HR, in addition to blogging.
Second, I don’t know that my psyche could handle a smart phone. It would totally mess with my internal feng shui.
The thought of “being on all the time” stresses me out. I need time to mentally rest and meditate throughout the day.
In addition to driving you to school each morning (1 hour), working at the office (8 hours), then driving us back home (45 minutes), then helping with dinner and cleaning up afterwards (1 hour, 15 minutes), and writing to you (1.5 hours), it essentially means I work all day long.
What I would love is a routine, whole, solid day off each week, like the Seventh-day Adventists practice… religiously. In so many ways, I already live their lifestyle and subscribe to their doctrinal beliefs.
However, I’m not ready (if ever?) to be so literally serious about taking 24 hours off from any kind of work, as instructed in the Ten Commandments.
So until then, not having a smart phone is my sabbath.
It’s my way of having sanity throughout the day- to not have to wait and wonder who might have Tweeted me or sent me a Facebook message or emailed me.
Until I become a VIP, I will continue living with as much peace of mind as I can, not having a smart phone.
And more importantly, not having to pay for Internet on my phone when I already have it here on my $290 ASUS laptop from which I write to you.
I’m going to stop talking now, because I am losing street cred points by the minute…
[Changes batteries in Walkman Cassette player and continues listening to Collective Soul.]
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Wednesday, October 30th, 2013
October 30, 2013 at 10:45 pm , by Nick Shell
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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Sunday, August 11th, 2013
2 years, 8 months.
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.
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Thursday, July 18th, 2013
2 years, 8 months.
Tonight as I sang “Amazing Grace” to you as a lullaby, you wanted to clear something up:
“What’s grace? Is that a man?”
You had caught me off guard, as I was trying to decide whether or not a second verse would be necessary before I could walk out and help Mommy finish folding laundry. That’s what I was really thinking about.
I replied, “Actually, grace is talking about God.” From there, I paused a moment, attempting to quickly analyze your understanding of God at this point in your life.
“God loves you,” I added.
Your instant response: “Me?”
It was one of the most sincere things I’ve ever heard you say. I was able to see firsthand what it’s like for a person to be told for the first time (and attempt to understand) that God loves them.
Whereas I’ve believed my whole life that God loves me and it’s far from a new concept now, tonight was the night that seed was officially planted in your mind.
The lights were off as I knelt next to your bed, but just the tone of your voice showed me it meant something to you to hear that God loves you.
I continued, “God made you. He wants you here.”
Without any hesitation, you laughed as you declared, “Bow-wow!”
Then you preceded to make truck noises.
It’s a start, anyway.
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