Posts Tagged ‘ religion ’

I Haven’t Said Anything Controversial In A While…

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

3 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

Last week at work, I had a conversation with a co-worker named Matt, who has two small kids.

I was telling him how, the longer I’m a parent, the mellower of a person I am becoming. In other words, stuff is just bothering me less compared to the way it used to.

To my surprise, he agreed- he can also personally relate. We acknowledged that whether it’s gaining more patience, or a greater ability to not allow annoying things to bother us, the journey of being parents has broken us in, for the better.

Over three years ago, when I become a parent, I was a much more out-spoken, polarizing person; especially in regards to the world of social media… especially in relation to politics and religion.

Well, that has definitely gradually changed over the past couple of years.

For example, I no longer care to publically share my political affiliation (or disassociation). I feel that public political conversations divide people; causing them to believe that by putting blind faith into a certain political party, that there’s hope that “the other side” will be converted into an opposing belief system; therefore “getting America back on track.”

I’m so over that. I can’t change people’s political beliefs. Plus, I don’t want to be labeled (and limited) to just one side.

All I can do is hope to change the world through my behavior, which (hopefully) proves the validity of my beliefs in the first place.

Having learned that, I’ve realized that same concept applies to parenting issues which I had previously debated with other parents about.

Like the “cry it out” method, attachment parenting, and circumcision…

I used to be so quick to allow myself to get involved in public online debates over those issues. These days, I strive to not take, or present, the bait.

And really, I haven’t said anything controversial in a while…

Granted, I’m still constantly thinking out of the box, and open-minded to concepts that many people might question.

But now, I’m handling these situations differently than I would have six months or even a year ago:

Has anyone else seen the documentary “911: In Plane Site” on Netflix (will be removed on March 15) or on YouTube in its entirety? If so, will you send me a private message including your thoughts on it? I am asking for a private message response (not a comment) because I am attempting to avoid starting a comments war on my wall, in which I appear as a divisive host or commentator, or am labelled as a conspiracy theorist. I am not seeking controversy; only private answers to help sort out some confusion I’m having. Thanks.

I still like to engage people, and learn from others, but not at the risk of being polarizing. So I’m more discreet and more private about my questions and concerns regarding the world and the people who live in it.

It’s my opinion that the chaotic process of parenthood has forced me to focus on what really matters.

I have gotten to the point where I don’t feel the need to have to explain myself to other people if they find out my point of view and disagree with it. What’s the point in defending your beliefs to someone who is not open-minded to hearing them anyway?

Instead of controversy, I’m seeking the collaboration of ideas with other people.

I seek truth, not simply believing I’m right.

Being a parent has peripherally taught me to focus more on how I can become a better person withthe help of other people; not how I can try to make other people better against their will or conviction.

It’s trained me to not let things bother me like they used to. I don’t know if this necessarily makes sense to other parents, but it’s definitely how I feel.

Parenthood is a humbling process.

 

Love,

Daddy

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Not Having A Smart Phone Is My Sabbath

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

2 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

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.]

 

Love,

Daddy

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To Be One Of Those Cool “Half Marathon Parents”

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

2 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

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.

That’s it.

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.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

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Never Talk About Politics, Religion, Or Food You Don’t Eat

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

2 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

I’ve decided that in addition to writing about the funny things you do and say on a daily basis, and covering trending parenting stories, I want to start teaching you “life lessons from dad.”

So here’s the first one:

I have learned that the topics of politics, religion, and food are so interwoven into emotions, moral beliefs, and sense of identity, that to bring up a point that goes against or even questions a person’s already established viewpoint…

Well, it often ends up becoming an insult, a threat, or a display of arrogance: It could put you in danger of being perceived as self-righteous or judgmental; even if you have the purest of intentions.

While it seems most people are familiar with the fact that politics and religion are sensitive subjects, I recently learned that the topic of “food you don’t eat” is equal in regards to one’s emotions, moral beliefs, and sense of identity.

But my opinion about these topics isn’t worth dividing people. I want to connect to people and make them feel included, and I’ve learned that openly talking about, or even just asking questions about, these three topics isn’t the way to do this.

So for the past month or so, I’ve been trying something out. I’ve been very careful not to use the “V-word” to label myself in regards to my eating lifestyle or the “L-word” to label my political beliefs.

And when it comes to speaking about my religious faith, I am trying to focus on humility, more than anything; which is one of the most important aspects of what I believe anyway. What good are my religious beliefs if my personal beliefs regarding politics and/or food distract people from my faith?

This is me trying to deliberately not perpetuate America’s polarizing tendencies, especially in social media. Both CNN and Fox News are pretty good at that already. I’ll leave it to the experts.

Regarding politics, religion, and food I don’t eat, I’ll let my viewpoints remain as much of a mystery as possible… until people specifically ask, or it works its way into conversation more naturally.

I want to earn the right to have these conversations with individuals, not broadcast my lifestyle across the universe to the masses like I’m the ultimate authority on these three sensitive subjects.

Here’s to finding out if my actions can speak louder than my words.

 

Love,

Daddy

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Brainwashing Versus Successfully Influencing a Child

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Ten months.

What’s the difference between a parent brainwashing their child versus successfully influencing them? After all, a child will ultimately grow up and make up their own mind when it comes to stuff like moral issues and relevance of religious faith. Yet it would be unwise to discount the impressions made on a child by an involved and encouraging parent.

Brainwashing carries a connotation of something forced and militant. That’s obviously not how I aim to influence my child. Instead, it’s a matter of making what’s normal and accepted to us as parents, normal and accepted to him.

My strategy is to simply raise my son in the way I know as right, so that when he is older, he won’t depart from it. My son Jack was born into a specifically Christian household. His exposure to our family’s religious beliefs won’t be presented as a respectable suggestion, but as reality and actual history.

But I can’t make him believe anything for the rest of his life; nor would I want to. As his dad, I can only influence him in ways that most other people will not be able.

What parts of our parental influence will really stick with him by the time he’s our age? I guess we’ll know when we’re sixty. But as for now, we’ll continue brainwashing influencing him in our quirky ways.

Unexpected Bonus!

On a related subject, I am giving away 5 copies of a brand new book called Sticky Faith, which specializes in giving parents everyday ideas to build lasting faith in their kids’ lives, specifically at key transitional stages (i.e. elementary, middle, high school, etc.).

Just be one of the first 5 people to leave a comment on this post, and within 60 minutes, send an email to nickshell1983@hotmail providing your name and address so the publisher will know where to send the books to.

UPDATE: Congrats to the winners of this free book!

J. Valentine from Pompton Lakes, NJ

S. Cruce from Fort Payne, AL

C. Williams from Cincinnati, Ohio

W. Pierson from Houston, Texas

G. Grey from Berlin, Germany

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