Saturday, October 9, 2010

Are You Ready for Some Football?

Ok dads! It's October! Football season is in full swing - both NCAA and NFL! I say you should relax; let your hair down, and take it easy. Afterall, you work hard throughout the week, so why not take a break!

You know, I learned a valuable lesson last Sunday. My 12 year old daughter was asking me about football and how the game works. What a special time it was as I shared with her stuff like: what 1st and 10 means; when a team opts to punt instead of going for it on 4th down; when a team chooses to kick a field goal instead of punting. And of course, what a touchdown is and why they kick the extra point usually but sometimes they go for 2.

As I was explaining it to her, it occured to me that although she's 12, I've never had that "football talk" with her. Maybe I assumed that since she's a girl, she wouldn't have the interest. Afterall, she plays tennis and golf. And does "girly" stuff. But she really had a genuine interest in learning about football.

Then I felt somewhat ashamed. Why? Most of the time during football season I've just done what many dads have done - sit on the couch and watch football almost like I'm at a cathedral. Just me, the television and a "cold one!" Ok, I don't really drink but you get the point. I've kinda missed some valuable time bonding with her while doing something that I love. I didn't realize she wanted to kinda bond with me too.

What's the point of all this? I just think that when we relax and take some time to do the things that we love best, we can think of how our kids can be a part of it too. They didn't come into the world to stop us from "doing our thing." We can involve them as we enjoy our activities.

And also a very important point is that we need to also join them as they enjoy their activities. I'll share more on this point in later blogs. Today's post is more about involving them as we enjoy "guy stuff."

So go ahead! Gather the kids around the TV; get the remote in hand; get the popcorn ready; and let them enjoy your company as you enjoy the game! Are you ready for some football?

The Upbeat Dad

Friday, October 8, 2010

We Have Liftoff!!

Dear Readers:

Thus ends a great first week of The Upbeat Dad Blog - at least the work week part of it. It's been a tremendous success thus far!

We have quite a number of readers of the blog and fans on our Facebook page as well as followers on Twitter. I could say that I'm surprised - but I'm not. Why? Is it arrogance speaking? Nope, that's not it. It just confirms my belief that the responsibility of fatherhood is one that both moms and dads, as well as kids value greatly. Our readers are of both genders and that is particularly gratifying. So thanks to you!

The message contained in this blog, in my belief, is life changing. The principles are timeless and have existed throughout history. The information that I share was really birthed from my own experience but it's opened my mind to the larger pool of persons that need to hear the message.

In the coming days and weeks, I plan to develop this blog into something that our readers yearn to read on a daily basis. As I stated in an earlier post, when I went through a divorce in the early 2000s, I went searching for something like this blog to keep me focused.

You will read postings that are inspirational. And others that are downright controversial! I encourage you, however, to be open to consider the value in the lessons that are being shared.

And please do join the discussions - on the blog then on our Facebook page. It is through good dialogue and debate that many of the more sensitive matters can be addressed.

Welcome again to the Upbeat Dad. Let's hang on for the ride! Because a thrilling ride it shall be!

The Upbeat Dad

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Ouch! That Hurt!

Today my wife and I took our son to the doctor for his 2 month old check up. At the appointment, he got his first round of immunization shots. I’ve never heard him scream quite that loudly in his young life. As far as he was concerned, everything around him was falling apart. Yet as parents, we stood there and watched as all of this went on. When the medical professionals were done with their job, we were right there to comfort him.
I believe that there’s a very profound point to make in this very simple scenario. As fathers, we have the responsibility to provide for our children and protect them from all harm and danger. Yet, as we fulfill this role, there are times when we have to let them endure some short-term discomfort for their long-term benefit. Our son received his shots so though he was screaming in pain, his immune system will now be more developed, thus preventing certain diseases that he could have contracted otherwise.
Today, it’s getting shots at the doctor’s office. Before too long, it’ll be dropping him off at school or the day care center even though he might be crying because of separation anxiety. The point is that, for his ultimate good, we may have to do things that bring him some discomfort. The good thing is that at his very young age, he is developing the awareness that both Mom and Dad are there for him and he can trust us to do what’s in his best interest. I’m sure that in the not-too-distant future, he will begin to cry when picked up by someone who he deems a stranger, opting for the trusted, loving arms of his parents.

I encourage you to develop the kind of relationship with your children where they trust you wholeheartedly. They should know that as a father, you would never knowingly disappoint them or lead them astray. It’s something that I believe I have developed with my 12 year old daughter, and I aspire to develop with my newborn.  Fathers play such an instrumental role in the lives of children and if we would create an atmosphere of trust, then they can grow and develop, with full assurance that we’re there for them.
Keep up the good work dad! The investment you make in your kids’ lives today will yield great dividends for generations to come!
The Upbeat Dad

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Lasting Legacy!

Good day:

As I've thought about the mission of The Upbeat Dad, I've come to realize that our ultimate responsibility is to live exemplary lives that our children can emulate. Ours is such a huge responsibility that it should not be taken lightly.

I recall when I was younger I heard a song with the lyrics, "Before you be a father, try to be a man because not every father knows where babies come from." It's a bit comical but it's also true.

For today's blog, I'll keep it short and simple. I wrote a poem a few years ago that, I believe, articulates what our purpose should be. The title is A Lasting Legacy and it's found in my book, Poems of Inspiration: A Daily Dose of Self Motivation.

As I share this poem with you, keep in mind that you're building a legacy; you're paving the way for your children and their children. The life you live today will open the door for the lives your children will live tomorrow.  As you read this poem, I encourage you to make it your vow to build this legacy:

A Lasting Legacy

May I seek to serve my fellow man,
and give of myself and do all that I can.
May I love and give a helping hand—
that's the foundation on which I stand.

For what is my life if not to live?
And what is my purpose if not to give?
When my life has ended I cannot relive
the moments I now have to love and forgive.

Each day as I awaken and watch the sunrise
and offer my life as a sacrifice,
may I teach all I know, and give good advice—
displaying integrity with no compromise.

Whenever I come to the end of my days
and I go to my final resting place—
when the sun goes down and I finish this race,
may I leave this world a better place.

This is my vow to humanity—
a vow that will last all eternity.
For my children and all who will come after me,
may I leave a lasting legacy.

So won't you to build a legacy that will last for generations to come. I hope that your children will  reap the great rewards from the positive seeds that you sow into their lives each day.

The Upbeat Dad

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Journey Begins!

Yesterday was the launch of the Upbeat Dad! And it was an extreme success. Just yesterday I joked with someone that the blog and Facebook page got more hits than Lady Gaga! Much thanks to you, the readers, for making this possible. My vision for this project is far reaching – beyond the blog and Facebook page. It’s a worldwide vision – one that I believe will result in many changed lives.
At this point, I see the unfolding of the vision like an airplane. It has just taken off and is rising in altitude. As you’ve heard when you’ve flown “please remain seated until the captain has turned off the fasten seatbelt sign.” We’re headed to an altitude of 30,000 feet and yesterday was just the take off. “Where is our destination,” you may ask? It’s a place where we see more fathers actively involved in their kids lives. And less mothers having to “go it alone.” It’s a place where young children become more respectful to authority and grow into responsible, actively involved members of our society. And so, the journey begins. Hang on for the ride, because I believe we’re headed to a great destination!
Today, my son celebrates the 2nd month of his birth. It was August 5, 2010 at 3:18 pm that he arrived. I recall as I stood there in the delivery room watching him come into the world and taking his first breath, I just thought how I would have never missed that experience for the world. Then I began thinking, how many fathers not only miss that experience but they miss all the formative years of their children’s lives. I recognize that some fathers are bad influences anyway so their absence from their kids’ lives is not a bad thing. But I believe that the vast majority of children would stand to benefit from their fathers’ involvement.
Just yesterday I learned of some disturbing statistics that reaffirm my belief that kids need their fathers to help them develop. For example, students living in father-absent homes are twice as likely to repeat a grade in school.  Newsweek magazine stated, “If men were involved fathers, more kids might stay in school…and avoid poverty as adults.”
As a child, I had no choice as far as schooling is concerned. My father was the school principal and my mother a teacher. She actually taught me in the first grade. Though I wasn’t the brightest of students, I knew there were expectations of me to not only succeed in school, but to pursue higher education and become a professional. We were hardly wealthy by any means. But then again, we were because we had the fundamental belief that with education and hard work, anything was possible.
Today I’m a Certified Public Accountant and my parents are retired. My 3 siblings all have post graduate degrees and are successful professionals. And for that I’m so thankful. My mother is absolutely wonderful and I’m sure with her guidance, we would have all become successful. But the presence of our father and his involvement in our development was so instrumental. I know that his leadership made it so much easier for our mother to raise us.

As you may have read in an earlier blog post, I went through a divorce in the early 2000s. My daughter was just 3 at the time. I ensured that no matter what, she would know her father wasn’t going to let her become a victim to the disturbing statistics that result from men neglecting their obligation to their children. It wasn’t easy, particularly in dealing with the legal process when a marriage dissolves. But my view is that children do not ask to come into the world. They are conceived and are born without their consent. Our obligation, therefore is to ensure that they are well taken care of regardless of the situations that arise.
I know many of you have your own unique stories to share. Some are beautiful stories that one would love to share. But I also know that some are horror stories. You can feel free to comment here on the blog or on our Facebook page about any of these issues. I can’t say I’ve experienced all the challenges that some of you may experience. But I do know that there are obstacles that arrive that affect dads, mothers and kids. My hope is that through this effort, we would shield our children from some of the negativity that result from situations that develop in our lives.
Whitney Houston was right when she sang, “I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside. Give them a sense of pride to make it easier. Let the children’s laughter remind us how it used to be.” How profound!
 We owe it to them to be our very best so that they have the chance to impact our world for the good. Let’s commit to doing our part so that they realize “the beauty they possess inside.”

The Upbeat Dad

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Official Launch of The Upbeat Dad!

Dear Readers:

It gives me great pleasure to officially launch The Upbeat Dad today, October 4, 2010. It's an exciting time as I think of the significance of this launch.

Over the past several weeks, I have shared with different persons my vision for the blog. The truth is, the idea for this entire project was birthed almost 10 years ago, long before "blogging" was a cool thing to do. There's a message to be shared with the world and this is simply one tool through which that message is conveyed. With the internet, a worldwide audience is simply an online connection away. So the timing for this launch, I believe, is ideal.

If you haven't already done so, I encourage you to read the blog post from Friday, October 1. On that blog I gave some background information that led me to this point. I have a passion for fatherhood and you'll see on the post why it's so important to me. This weekend I had two separate conversations with friends - one in England and one in Canada. They both mentioned how desperately this message is needed in their countries.

As you might see on your local news, the absence of fathers in many homes is of epidemic proportion. And many of these fathers are not involved in the lives of their children at all. Without a father's guidance, many children become affected in so many negative ways. Some symptoms of this problem are: crime and violence, decay in moral standards and disrespect of authority.

The mission of this blog is to tackle this issue head on:

- For other dads, I encourage you to read with an open mind. Sometimes, our plight is as a result of our own doing. In other cases, it's due to forces beyond our control. Despite these issues, we have a responsibility to fulfill and we owe it to our kids, their mothers and ourselves to play our part in the nurture and development of those who will lead the next generation.

- For mothers and other guardians of our kids, I say, hang in there. The stereotypical "deadbeat dad" does exist. But there are also "upbeat dads." My goal is to spark debate that will ultimately result in fewer "deadbeats" and more "upbeats" who are truly "enthusiastic about fatherhood."
- For kids, I also say, hang in there. As a child in school I was taught the saying, "The boys and girls of today will be the men and women of tomorrow." You are our future! And you're more precious than fine gold. You deserve the loving guidance that both parents give. I'll do my part, through this blog, to ensure your dads provide you with the security, encouragement, support and peace of mind that you so deserve.

Please share this blog with others you know - particularly those you know are having challenges in the areas that are addressed. Subscribe to the posts, follow us on Twitter and  Facebook. The issues that will be addressed need much dialogue so please do add your comments.

Fatherhood is a privilege. And I hope that this blog will serve as a tool that enables our children to have the loving guidance, nurturing and care that will help them to become the successful men and women that they ought to be.

Great days lie ahead! Enjoy reading!

The Upbeat Dad