Thursday, October 14, 2010

Some Days Are Diamonds

You may have heard the song by John Denver:

Some days are diamonds
Some days are stone

Today was somewhat of a stone day for me. Murphy's Law was in full effect. It's one of the days you don't plan for and you hope not to see again for a while. Meeting after meeting, problem after problem. Ya, it was one of those days.

I've got a question for you - what do you do to get you through challenging days? Here's one thing I do: whenever my wife or daughter calls me (my son is only a couple months old) and leave a voice mail, after listening to it, I DO NOT DELETE. Why? Here's why:

By not deleting them, I have their voices on demand 24/7. Sometimes I just need to hear that special voice saying, "I love you" or "You're the best."

The voice mail system keeps older message for several weeks before automatically deleting them. So they'll eventually be deleted anyway.

This might sound silly but it really does wonders for me. It keeps things in perspective. Maybe this might not be your thing. Maybe it's just having a picture of your kids hanging on your rear view mirror. Maybe it's a photo on your desk. Whatever the case, I encourage you to have something in place so that you always have your loved ones with you.

So whether you have diamond or stone days , at least you know that as you cultivate a loving relationship with your family, the diamonds become more sparkling and the stones become easier to bear.

May your diamond days be many and your stone days few!

The Upbeat Dad

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Rescue in Chile!

For the better part of the past 24 hours, the eyes of the world have been fixated on a mine in Chile as the dramatic rescue of 33 miners has unfolded. How wonderful that after almost 70 days buried underground, these men made it out to "tell the tale."

As they were being rescued, I couldn't help but think of the relief they each must have felt. For the first 17 days, there was no contact between them and their would-be rescuers. Many around the world assumed they had died. But as fate would have it, they were alive - all of them! And now the rescue of these brave men has been broadcast all over the world.

As they came to the surface, one by one, I couldn't help but notice a consistent theme. They didn't come up looking for their latest bank statements. Or the value of their investment portfolios. Each of them sought out their families - their spouses and children - and held them as if they were their most prized possessions.

I would imagine that as they were stuck underground for over two months, they were forced think of their relationships with their spouses and children. I wonder if they had any regrets. I wonder how many prayers they prayed seeking another chance to show more love to their loved ones.

You see, when we're forced to contemplate our own mortality, it is then that we realize what's most important in life. In his song Shower The People James Taylor sang:

Shower the people you love with love
Show them the way you feel
Things are gonna be much better
If you only will.

I trust that each of us realizes the importance of the relationships we have with our children. Some of us are married, some divorced, some unmarried, some of us are widowers. But our common bond is that we're dads and that fact alone means we have others to live for.

Let the lessons of this unfolding drama in Chile inspire us to bond closer with our loved ones - the ones who mean the most to us. Because when life presents us with challenging circumstances, it is then that we're reminded of what's most important in life.

The Upbeat Dad

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Your Real Boss!

Just a quick jolt in the arm today! As you head to work, keep in mind who you really work for. It's not your boss or your clients. It's your family. Whether or not you're married, if you're a dad, your kids are your real bosses - the ones you work for; the ones you want to please.

Sometimes it's hard to keep things in perspective. That's why on my desk, I have pictures of my family. When the going gets tough and I'm having a stressful day, I just look up and remind myself, it's my real bosses that I want to please.

So won't you "kiss up" to your boss today! And somehow, things will seem to go right!

Have a great one!

The Upbeat Dad

Monday, October 11, 2010

Every Other Weekend

I hope you've had a restful weekend and that you're ready to take on the challenges of a new week!

About a year or two ago, on country music radio, I heard a song by Kenny Chesney and Reba McEntire called Every Other Weekend. It's the story of a divorced couple who meet every other weekend so that the children can visit their father. It kinda hit close to home for me as I recall the period that followed my divorce in the early 2000s.

Many of you dads had a great time with your kids this weekend. And then came Sunday evening - back to life, back reality. Because this was your "every other weekend." So you had to say good bye until the next "every other weekend."

Because we are men, some of us wouldn't even dare to share with anyone the pain that this time brings. We secretly cry ourselves to sleep dealing with this reality. I don't mind sharing with you that I once counted myself in this number in the aftermath of my divorce in the early 2000s. That was indeed a painful and very real chapter in my life.

When my daughter came to spend time with me, the time was so magical! Then came Sunday evening and Monday morning.  I cringed at the thought of things getting back to normal - life on a daily basis without getting to see her.

I'm fortunate now that I have a wonderful wife and two awesome children and we all live together. But I have not forgotten and will not forget that many parents - both moms and dads - go through emotional turmoil each weekend as this reality presents itself.

If you should find yourself in such a situation, I encourage you to hang in there. Time has a way of dealing with things. If you love your children unconditionally and you're committed to them, then any obstacle that anyone or any institution should put in your way can only be temporary. In time, the true love you have for your kids always wins.

I recognize that some of our circumstances may not be ideal. That's why I try to keep things in perspective. If all the time you have with your kids is "every other weekend," then make the most of it when it comes. Remember, an "Upbeat Dad" is "excited about fatherhood." So come what may, we should ensure that kids don't feel any less loved when the love between a couple fades.

Kids are a joy to have! So let them feel loved all the time - even if you only see them "every other weekend."

The Upbeat Dad

P.S. Check out ths book "Wednesday Evenings And Every Other Weekend" by F. Daniel McClure and Jerry B. Saffer.