Friday, June 26, 2009

A post by my husband...

10 things I would like to pass on to my kids

I spent some time today, thinking about my Dad and the many things I have learned from him. My Dad is old school. He is a blue collar guy that has worked hard his whole life. Hugs and kisses were never his way of communicating love. He was never the warmest guy but he was always reliable. I also have been thinking of my success and failure as a dad. I have noticed that over the years the thing that I never wanted to happen has happened. In many ways, I have turned into my dad. Anyway, here are 10 things I would like to pass on to my kids. Keep in mind that we have a very testosterone rich household and many of these are geared toward boys.

10. The importance of a good hair cut. I think all of us have taken a stroll down memory lane and pulled out the old year book or looked at some old photos and have thought “how embarrassing”. Oh yes, even the high and tight Bill Looman went through a period of rebellion and has had to explain to his kids that the “mullet” was cool in the 80’s. Let me tell you, there is a lot to be said for the Johnny Unitas look. It is timeless and shameless.

9. How to fix things. My dad could fix anything. Cars, T.V.’s, the washing machine, the lawn mower, he could do it all. However, he was not the most patient teacher. I did always learn new words when I worked with my dad. I am not afraid to do anything. I have successfully plumbed, done electrical work, dry wall and rebuilt a transmission. We live in a day where if your car breaks down, take it to the shop. If you need electrical work done, call an electrician. I love the sense of accomplishment you get by starting a project and finishing it.

8. How to cook the perfect steak. Have you ever spent $10 / lb on a nice Delmonico or NY strip only to destroy it on the grill? Grilling a good steak is a lot like making love. At least, that is what my dad says. It has to be strategically planned. Stick to the basics. Not a lot of seasoning. The taste of a good steak can stand on its own. Marinating is for people who can’t grill. Get the grill nice and hot (600 or better). When it has reached the optimal temperature, put the steak on the grill for two minutes each side. This sears in the juices. Then turn the grill to low, take your time and cook to order. Well or medium well is not on the menu.

7. Never under-estimate your ability to reproduce. Don’t get me wrong, kids are my source of a lot of joy in life. I love sitting at the dinner table when one of my boys says something that starts the domino of uncontrollable laughter. Our house is a blast. There is a time to have kids and a time not to and believe me (I have 6) they are easy and fun to make. I am hoping that my kids choose to be more productive than reproductive. Set relationship boundaries. Remember “chicken is finger-lickin’ good and one thing always leads to another”.

6. Make the most of your education. My dad never finished high school. He joined the Marine Corp when he was 17. I remember from the day I started kindergarten knowing that I was going to college because my dad said so. I can’t remember what I ate for lunch today but I can remember what happened 39 years ago. We never had much but my dad found a way to send us to Catholic Schools and help pay for college. I admire that so much. My parents were very unselfish that way. I regret not focusing on school as much as I should have. If accomplishment in college was determined by rolling the perfect doobie or how much tequila you could drink, I would have been valedictorian. Those were my rebellious years. I wish I could do it again. Unfortunately, you only get one shot at your 20’s. I could have accomplished so much more. I hope my kids do not make the same mistake.

5. The importance of a good work ethic. My dad taught us how to work. Growing up, we had livestock and a large garden that fed our big family. There was never a shortage of work. We had jobs to do every day. I think so many times, kids are not taught how to work and when they grow up they don’t know how. My kids all have jobs to do and I expect excellence from them and I inspect what I expect. Hopefully they will grow up to expect excellence from themselves.

4. Commit or don’t. I grew up playing sports. I played football, basketball, baseball and ran track. I have trained and completed marathons. Committed people are a dying breed. My son Tyler is getting ready to start football for the first time. He is ready for it but I don’t think he understands the amount of commitment it will take. My dad had a rule regarding sports. If you commit to playing a sport you cannot quit until the end of the season. Once the commitment has been made, you cannot quit until your commitment has been fulfilled. This principle has carried over into my marriage and my job. At work, I am driven to accomplish what I was hired to accomplish. My marriage was a forever decision. Divorce is not an option. Cheating is not an option. My only option is to make it work. I know it is easy to say that and that it takes two which leads me to my next point.

3. How to pick your spouse. I believe that a man should not be able to get a marriage license until he is 30. That is a personal feeling based on my life experience. I started to grow up at about 30 and that is when I began to understand what I wanted out of marriage. Prior to that, finding someone I was attracted to was the first, second and third priority. Let’s face it, no matter how handsome or pretty you are right now, when you hit 40-50, the pendulum starts to swing the other way. It happens for some quicker than others. Wrinkles, balding, gray hair and the disappearance of the six-pack are inevitable. The year prior to meeting Sherry, I went on approximately 60 first dates. I read a book on how to know after 2 dates if a relationship is worth pursuing, and for the most part, never needed the second date. I remember one particular occasion, meeting a girl for a drink. When I found out she lied to me about smoking; I excused myself to the restroom and never returned. I made a list based purely on character traits I wanted in a wife. Things I needed in a woman, things I could live with, and things I could not. There was only one physical attribute on my list (5th) and I believe it is related to character. I pray that my kids find the right spouse and get married for all the right reasons.

2. How to love your spouse. Having a productive marriage is hard work. I’m sure it is harder for Sherry than it is for me. My marriage is not perfect but it is strong. Sherry is a woman of strong character. She is always honest, always trustworthy, and always committed, always thinks the best of me and has never lied to me. She is a good listener. If I had to nutshell “how to love your spouse”; I would say don’t be selfish, always put your spouse’s needs above your own and make sure they know that they are the most important person in your life. I pray that God helps me do that every day.

1. You were created for a reason. God loves you and has a purpose for you. I sometimes wonder how people who don’t believe that get up every day. One on my kids has doubts in God’s existence. It is hard for me to deal with but I have faith in his eagerness to find answers and he who seeks will find. I would be lying if I said I have never had doubts, but as I get older and look back on my life I see His footprints alongside mine. I see who I was and what He has made me (and the work He has yet to do). I see my kids, my wife, friends, and family and I am certain that they came from God.


delilah said... not to take away from the rest of the list (it is a fine list) but I felt a little dirty reading #8. I am not sure how I will be able to eat a steak Bill cooks again.

1-2-3...Get Organized said...

Wow! That is really impressive! What a wonderful blog. :)