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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Men and Directions

     Something interesting happened in the Sunday school class that I co-teach (yes, we can
argue about my credentials for teaching Sunday school at another time).  To help pass the time, I mean re-enforce the lesson on this day; my cohort had created a craft project for the
students.  She is very organized, and does a great job.  It came complete with
a kit for each student containing what they needed, along with the
directions.  Stereotypes aside, it did appear by my informal count that the girls got right on it while the guys just kind of stared at the bag, maybe wondering what kind of commotion would ensue
if they inflated it and stomped on it sending beads and string into the
atmosphere.  That’s when the most interesting thing happened.  Not thirty
seconds after he had received his kit, one of my students approached me and
said, “What do I do?”  I replied, “Just look at the directions.”  To which he sniffed,
paused, and said, “I DON’T read directions.” 
                Several thoughts occurred in my sleepy Sunday brain. But the first one out of the mouth was, “So what do you do in
school?  I bet you read them at school.”  “Nope. I always just ask.  I NEVER read
directions.”  This took me a second to process.  Maybe this was the evolution of
man.  Instead of refusing to ASK for directions, he simply had evolved to refusing to even GET directions in the first place.  Instead, he relied on whomever was fortunate enough to be in the area, and seemed to have some sort of clue as to what was going on, or for this ten year old, probably the nearest adult. 
               But after some reflection, I had a different thought.  Like, “Where did this kid go to school?”  Because at some point it seems possible that
an authority figure should have laid down the law and let this angel sink or
swim on his own.  I asked a teacher friend of mine, and he said he has seen stuff like this before.  “If the parents don’t correct the behavior, then nothing changes” he told me.  I
guess that makes sense.  If your parents never say, “Hey, it’s time to put on your big boy pants and take care of a few things yourself without the hand-holding” I guess he will continue to get by
until this particular technique burns him.  I just picture a sixteen year old version of him, down at a Braves game, GPS turned off, asking the nearest homeless guy, “Hey, which way to the
Interstate?”

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Goodfellas

  I am going to make some assumptions, despite the catchy saying I always hear about them.  I will assume that there are not many current high school or college students reading a blog about being a Dad.  I will further hypothesize that there is not a lot of women reading this thing either.  That leaves us with some early middle age guys, like me, just trying to keep it honest.  So, if I am correct in these statements, then it probably holds true that you've seen "Goodfellas", since even if you missed it its been in heavy rotation on cable. 

 Today I had a flashback.  It was a flashback to a simpler time, circa early 1990's.  It was the first time (of many to come) that I saw "Goodfellas".  Remember the part where Henry (classic Liotta, probably on a powder diet) is making the sauce, running guns, checking the sauce, avoiding the helicopter, running drugs etc?  Oh the busy life of a mobster.  Today, I felt he had nothing on me.

 My wife is a CPA and she's slammed this time of year.  So the first 2 hours of my day were getting the 3 kids (and dogs!) roused, semi responsive, fed, watered, and to school before the dreaded bell.  Then it was off to work in Atlanta, taming the Atlanta traffic by use of overly loud hip-hop, and the best car dancing moves my seat belt would allow.  Despite my day at the office (and my Post Traumatic Work Syndrome that followed) it was back to pick up the kiddies, feed them again, and then the whirlwind of multiple gymnastic classes at different times, followed in rapid succession by a Girl Scouts meeting.  It was kinda like juggling knives.  One misstep, and the whole night goes up in smoke.  It was very similar to Henry's day, minus the drugs, guns, and cops (I did chug a sugar free Rockstar, which I suspect contains liquid crack).

   But this is no pity party.  I realize there are all over doing this same thing, and many single parents making the magic happen happen as well.  But I am beginning to have the feeling that trying to stretch ourselves as parents so thin so our kids can "have it all" may not be the right thing.  Maybe 1 activity for each child and "no technology" Sundays are a better way to bond as a family.  Thoughts?  Let's all grab our 7 hours of sleep before we rewind and hit the beach head again.