Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A New Service for Boys Escaping their Mother's Wrath!

I am going to start a new business venture.  My empty nest is going to become a place of refuge for teenage boys that need to escape maternal wrath.  When mom is fired up, it’s just best to leave the country.  You need a refuge that is owned and operated by an empathic male that has raised boys of his own.

One of my favorite middle-school age boys is Teddy. (not his real name. I have changed the names to protect the guilty). I met Teddy not too long after he was potty trained. We go way back.  He’s a great kid!  Teddy is intelligent, articulate, and it appears he is going to be favored among the ladies.  But poor Teddy is on the receiving end of some maternal wrath at the moment.

It seems that Teddy told his mom another boy at school punched him.  And it happened more than once… They don’t make moms any better than Teddy’s.  She went up to the school and had a firm, but respectful chat with the assistant principal.   She doesn’t want her sweet Teddy being bullied!
After a follow-up discussion, the truth finally surfaced.  It turns out that my friend Teddy was bullying a boy that is two years his senior.  And the kid finally got enough, so punches were thrown.

At this point, any self-respecting male has to feel empathy for Teddy.  His mother’s blood pressure is slightly elevated. Teddy is one step away from maternal wrath.  He is instructed to apologize to the older boy. That’s a done deal.  Boys make up quickly and easily.   But he is also told to issue a sincere apology to the assistant principal.  At this point, a life sentence on the island of Alcatraz sounds better to Teddy.  But he accomplishes that feat as well…

Teddy should not go home. Under no circumstances should he get in his mother’s car after school.  Nothing but wrath awaits that poor boy.  He needs to come to my place of refuge.  We will calmly discuss the entire event over ice cream. And then we might take the train over to the American Airlines Center and take in a Maverick’s game.   There is nothing quite like a refuge owned and operated by a veteran dad that has raised boys.

Actually Teddy’s mom is a rarity in a culture that is out of control.  She has taught her son what accountability looks like.  He has learned some life valid principles in this incident.  Such ideals as humility, confession, and reconciliation have been firmly and most likely permanently imbedded on his heart.   A good boy is going grow up to be a fine man.

But…if he feels the need to escape the wrath, my business is up and running.  I will send him a bill when he becomes a successful adult thanks to good parents! 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Concealing Drugs in an Almond Joy Bar: I am Guilty!

My firstborn son reminded me yesterday that I used to attempt to conceal Dramamine tablets in Almond Joy bars when he was a little boy.  I had totally forgotten!  I actually thought it was a really clever idea. MY dad was of the mind to give me Dramamine without the added help of chocolate and coconut.  I was just told to “suck it up.”

Randall’s comment scared me… What else did I do or say during his formative years that I simply don’t remember. Memories are way too selective. I remember that I built the boys the coolest fort and hide-out ever known to mankind.  It even had turrets for water guns.  And I recall going up to the elementary school to have lunch with Randall and his brothers. We took Saturday expeditions from our rural community to go to Walmart, Toys-R-Us, and neat museums on cold winter days. We went camping. And I made up the best bed-time stories ever. Such yarns were full of adventure and intrigue. And I always left the boys hanging!  The story was continued the next night.  I went on countless school trips. I was the "room dad" when Randall was in the 5th grade.  I remember those things…

I am firmly convinced that I said and did things that were hurtful or damaging. I remember some of those events too, but my memory is quite selective. I wish the worse thing I ever did to one of my children was disguising the Dramamine.  But that’s not true. That time has passed. My children are adults. I can’t roll the clock back.  But I can encourage young parents with a few words of encouragement based on my own experiences.

·       Don’t fail to laugh.  We did laugh a lot. It’s important.
·       Do things out of your comfort zone.  (I failed in this department.)  That’s a valid pursuit.
·       Work together. Make yardwork or chores around the house fun.
·       Expose your children to interesting people.
·       Encourage them to be independent. (Beware…they will move off to Los Angeles.)
·       Don’t be an enabler.  Allow them to suffer the consequences of their choices.

But most of all…build those memories that they can take with them for the rest of their lives.  It appears they will remember more than you will. Memories ARE selective....

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Consequences of NOT Being a Grumpy Old Man

I am planning on being a grumpy old man.  It would probably be a good idea to go on and tell my kids.  But I think they already know. Believe it or not there actually are men that age quite well without the addition of any grumpiness.  I know one quite well.  He is a widower in his 80’s. 

A week or two ago it was pointed out to him that there was a man at church who recently lost his wife.  My friend immediately reached out to him.  They enjoyed a meal together.   The man adjusting to the recent loss of his wife was asked: “How are you doing with this whole grief thing?” He told my friend that he was doing “just fine.” He said he was “toughing it out.”  Now of course my dear friend knew better. But he wisely kept his thoughts to himself and allowed the man some needed space.

They met again for another meal.  The same question was posed. “How are you doing with this whole grief thing?”  By this second encounter, the man toughing it out broke down and cried. He misses his wife of 51 years more than anyone can imagine. My friend immediately empathized and cried with him.

Tonight, my amazing comrade is accompanying his new found friend to a grief support group.  They are quite the pair right now.  The man new to being a widower has an ally.  He has someone traveling on a very similar journey to accompany him. When I saw them together yesterday, I realized what kind of people I have to call friends. I am blessed.

I am thinking I had better abandon my natural inclination to grumpiness.  As I continue to age, there will be no shortage of people in need.  I won’t have time to be a grump.  Perhaps I too can experience aging without any hint of grumpiness. Maybe….