Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Birthday Reflections…

I woke up about 4 AM today almost kicking myself. You see, today is my birthday and I have an annual tradition – I greet my birthday as it arrives at midnight. But I fell asleep on the couch at 11:45 PM and didn't wake up till 4 AM. Each year, I also bid my birthday farewell as it leaves at 11:59 PM saying, "Goodbye birthday, see you next year. I'll be one year older and I hope one year wiser."

As I write this post, I think of the past year and all that's transpired since I last bid my birthday farewell. There have been some wonderful moments. And also some challenging, not so wonderful moments, but here I am, one year older and I believe, one year wiser.

The most significant thing that’s happened in my life in the past year is that one year ago today, my wife and I found out that we were expecting a baby. And on August 5th, we welcomed our son into the world. What a joy and a wonder he is to us! Our young family is now a family of 4 - my wife, our 12 year old daughter, our now 4 ½ month old son and me. I’m really blessed to have this wonderful family.

Then the next most significant thing that’s happened since my last special day is what I consider to be another birth - The Upbeat Dad. I cannot adequately describe to you the burden I've carried for the past several years to share this message. As I described in my post The Story Behind The Upbeat Dad, I went through quite a painful experience in the early 2000s when my first marriage was dissolved. As I went through the disappointment of that experience, a gentleman who I met during the process encouraged me to use the experience to make me a better dad instead of a bitter man.

In the immediate aftermath of that storm of my life, I first got the vision to start an organization that helps others to recognize the importance of having positive, active fathers in kids' lives. Just yesterday I was speaking with one of my mentors from my childhood in Jamaica and I told him of how things are going with The Upbeat Dad and he reminded me of when he visited me in 2001 just as the divorce proceedings had started. I recalled him telling me at that time that I should just let the process carry itself out. But when it ended I would be stronger and a more effective servant to my fellow men.

Over the past several years, you could say I’ve been in preparation mode. But the timing was never right to "give birth" to the vision. So much transpired throughout that time. I went from being a single dad living alone to a single dad raising a daughter; then a husband with a child from a former marriage; and now a husband with 2 children. The varied emotions that I've gone through over the past few years have given me a greater understanding of what so many around the world go through on a daily basis. Yet I've learned how to adjust to each of these circumstances to maximize my effectiveness as a father. 

On Monday, October 4, 2010, I introduced The Upbeat Dad to the world. And what a ride it's been thus far! Since that time I can only say that it's had a meteoric rise. Just yesterday, we hit the 4,000 view milestone – quite an accomplishment, considering we just launched a couple of months ago. Our readers are dads, moms and kids from all over the world. We have readers on a daily basis from every continent except Antarctica! That’s more than I could ask for at this point. I’m very pleased.

Fatherhood is a universal issue - one that transcends cultural, ethnic, political and religious barriers. It's something that we can all relate to. And the crisis in our homes is something that's experienced the world over - kids are negatively impacted when fathers are absent. Our mission is to intercede for these kids, therefore our message is for their moms and dads.

As I reflect on how far we've come in our brief history, I'm pretty satisfied with our progress. But can I say something that might surprise you? We have not even scratched the surface yet. There is so much more to this vision. This blog is a great tool to communicate to a worldwide audience what I've seen coming for years. And now that the message is taking root, in a very short while we will begin implementing another phase of the vision. It's all for the purpose of empowering families – dads, moms and kids.

Thank you so much for tuning in on a daily basis. I try to write a post each day because as I see it, there's always something positive to share with families. Some of you have already shared with me the difference our posts are making in yours and your kids' lives. That's why I write – it's not for me but rather it's for the millions and perhaps billions of people who can be encouraged by our message. We're all about touching lives, one person at a time.

I encourage you to remain engaged because my determination is to see with my eyes what I've seen in my head for these past several years. It’s a burden that I’ve carried – a good burden, in fact; one that, if not released, would make my life somewhat less meaningful. The message I love to share has little to do with me and more to do with the many families that can benefit, especially the children. We hear of fathers’ rights and I’m all for that. But I see fatherhood as an honor and a privilege and I seek to encourage other fathers to be loving, involved “upbeat dads” to their kids; and for mothers to embrace the role that fathers ought to play in the lives of their children. Each of us has a part to play as we seek to effect change. And through our organization, we are here to serve as an agent of this change that will impact our families in a positive way.

If you do not already do so, please join us on Facebook and on Twitter. We send multiple messages each day. And by using these social media sources, you can correspond with us directly. Believe me, I enjoy the interaction that we have on a daily basis. It makes our collective experience that much more meaningful.

Thanks to those of you who have already sent me birthday greetings. It's a true blessing to me so I thank you wholeheartedly. And later tonight when I bid my birthday farewell for another year, I’ll be sure to think of each of you and the profound impact you have on my own life.

I'll close this post with the last few stanzas from my poem How Can I Serve Humanity? The entire poem is found in my book Poems of Inspiration: A Daily Dose of Self Motivation.

How Can I Serve Humanity?

…How can I serve humanity?
What shall be my legacy?
What greatness could possibly be hiding in me
that'll ring on through the hallways of eternity?

Though my name may not be written in lights
and I may not be on stage with all the spotlights,
in my own humble way I'll serve life with delight
As I give all I have by day and by night.

The fame and the fortune don't matter to me
Just the service I offer to humanity;
like great men and great women throughout history,
may my work live for ages long after me.

I trust that you would ask yourself the same question - How can I serve humanity?  And then reflect on the message embodied in this poem. I’m already thinking of how much more I can serve my fellow men before I welcome my next birthday in another 365 days. As parents, husbands and wives, friends and family and citizens of this planet that we share, let's serve humanity by giving of ourselves to make a difference in the lives of others.

I hope that you are enriched by this message of service. And I hope that you have a wonderful day.

Rodrick and family
The Upbeat Dad


  1. Happy Birthday and thanks for sharing this testimonial...Keep up the great work at Upbeat Dad.

  2. Thanks much guys! I appreciate that. Enjoy the rest of the holidays!