Category Archives: Parenting

When a Father Gives To His Son

I am a father. I have two sons.

Have you seen this image on Facebook?


 I’ve seen it a number of times.  The first time it impacted me was when my cousin (hey cous!!) posted it and made reference to her dad (Hey Uncle Ken!).  Uncle Ken is an awesome guy, and a very giving father.  When I saw his daughter post it, and say this was her dad, I was like “totally.”

Except, one thing bothered me.  I know that in giving parts of himself, Ken is not left with holes.  Ken is fulfilled. That’s just how Ken is, and I can’t imagine him any other way.

I have “given” things as a father.  According to articles I’ve read, having kids is super expensive… to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars per kid. I think those numbers are ridiculous… have these journalists/researches ever bought anything on sale? Or at a consignment store?  I’m not saying you have to be cheap with your kid, but you can spend a couple of bucks to get your kid a brand name shirt (which I think wear nicer than new cheap no-brand clothes) at a thrift store instead of $20, $50, or more from a normal store.

Sorry, this really isn’t a post about disputing the ridiculous “cost” of having a kid… or at the least the articles that seem to be written to scare people away from having kids, because they are unaffordable.

I want to talk about the image above, where a dad gives himself to build (or compensate for differences) his sons (and really, daughters).  I love the message. But something is… missing.

When I think about the times I’ve given of myself to my kids, I don’t think that it is taking a part of me, at all.  Ever.

Oh sure, there was the time when we changed the sheets four times during one night because our baby kept throwing up… the first three were in her crib, the last time was in our bed (bleh!).  I gave up deep sleep, but really, how would anyone NOT give that up for the health, safety, and comfort of their child?

Yeah, there was the time where I gave up my clothes, again and again, when a kid somehow got them messy.  From spit up to throw up, I’ve changed my shirt more than once.  Small sacrifice, I guess.

I’ve given up my time, my “guy nights,” and plenty of money (which isn’t “mine,” It’s more like “ours”).

Understand, I don’t look at my life and think that, or feel like, I have given up much. As I think about it, I honestly can’t think of a time when I have given something that I regret.

Let me put it another way, because this is not about giving and regretting.

Anytime I have given to my kids, I feel like it was giving to me.

That’s what’s missing from the picture.  Giving is not a zero sum game.  Giving isn’t “when I give this to you, I lose something.”

As a dad, when I give, I get. I get fulfilled, I get joy. The miracle of giving, just like loving, is that you are not eroding.  You are adding.

No, wait…

You are not adding, you are multiplying.

I love the picture, but I wish it somehow showed that the sacrifice doesn’t result in a father that is becoming nothing, rather that he is getting so much more than he ever gave.

At least, that is how it is for me.



The Quest for the Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love a good chocolate chip cookie.

Just the other night we made cookies and I remembered advice from THE person who makes the most available cookies I’ve had.  Her dad owns a bakery and she has some kind of midas-food touch.

Her advice?

I simply follow the instructions on the package.

Yeah, like it’s that easy, right?  I do that to, exactly… with a few exceptions.

Those darn exceptions have got to be the downfall of “perfect.”

Anyway, it’s been on my mind this week, and look at this article I just found: Ask a Chef: Chewy chocolate chip cookies

Here’s what I love about this article: instead of a recipe (which there is, actually, at the bottom), it focuses on the science of making a good cookie.  When you have words like creaming process, seeping, “run out,”  hydrated, emulsify, brown the butter, etc. you know it’s going to be fun to read.


Why Homeschool?

Here’s a fun article in my local newspaper about a family in Arkansas who homeschools: ‘Brainy Bunch’ family puts 7 kids in college — all by age 12

I’m not sure how many homeschool families aspire to this (I’m guessing it is less than 1%).  And honestly, getting my kids into school before they are 12 is not on my list.  I love the dad’s line at the end: “Truly, we’re just average.”  “Yeah, right,” most people would argue… average.  That makes pretty much everyone else way, way below average :p

The haters come out and tell why it’s so horrible that these socially deprived kids have lost out on their childhoods, etc. etc. etc.  All the lame, uninformed reasons why no one should homeschool.

Let’s get beyond those sophmoric, insecure whinings, and dig a little deeper.  Those kids seem well-accomplished, driven, and pursuing passions and interests.  Quite a bit different than what I saw in my schooling, with more of the glazed over look, or the socialization that I got, which was how to be street smart (read: not get beat up).

But that’s not why we homeschool.  Here’s part of the article that touches on one thing we love about homeschooling:

“Hannah was whizzing through the math and saying, ‘Mom, do I really have to do the rest of this chapter? It’s so repetitive,’” Mona Lisa said. “And we’d say no just do the odd (questions) or the even ones or just skip the rest of that chapter because we know that you know that… and next thing you know, she’s ready for some advanced math.”

We love allowing kids to go at their own pace, learning what they are interested in… what an awesome part of life-long education!