Saturday, January 8, 2011

Welcome New Countries! January 8, 2011

Hope you're having a great day! We'd like to welcome the following countries that have joined our growing list of readers over the past week: Barbados, Belgium, Pakistan, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, United Arab Emirates!

Please check out The Story Behind The Upbeat Dad to find out what we're all about! Also, at the top of the page, look for the section: Check Out Our Most Popular Posts to see the stories that our readers like the most. Each Friday we do an Upbeat Dad of the Week feature where we highlight a father whose involvement has made his kids' lives better.

We encourage you to become engaged in our conversation by posting comments to the posts you read. Also, join us on Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

You'll enjoy and share our excitement about fatherhood. Everybody's welcome - dads, moms, kids and anyone who believes strong, involved fathers help make strong kids.

Come back often. There's always something new!

Have an excellent day!

The Upbeat Dad

Friday, January 7, 2011

New Milestone and Upbeat Dad of the Week Preview!

Well today’s Friday and the weekend is here! One week of the new year down and 51 more to go. What a start to the 2011 it’s been! Something new is in the air – something wonderfully exciting; a real breath of fresh air. 

You feel it? Pause and listen and if you really pay attention, you’ll feel it too! The calendar has started anew and we have another opportunity to pursue our goals and dreams for ourselves and our families!

Today we hit a new milestone on the blog – 6,000 pageviews! You might recall that last Friday, December 31, we hit 5,000. So we’re currently at a 1,000 per week pace. And that’s so gratifying! I had a conversation with a colleague yesterday and what I shared with him was that I love to see the increasing number of pageviews. But why? 

Here’s the deal - I’m not simply seeking new pageviews for the sake of running up numbers. If that were the case I could easily ask friends and family to just click on the page repeatedly and run the numbers sky high. But to what end? That would be pointless.

The most powerful point I could make on this matter is this: each pageview represents a life – a life that can be touched by our positive message. There are several billion people living across the world. Once a week – generally on Saturdays – I try to do a post to welcome the new countries to our growing list of readers. On tomorrow’s post you’ll see us welcome at least 7 new countries. When I write, I think of this large audience. 

I don’t know who exactly will read, or what will be there specific circumstance at the moment. I don’t know who they’re connected to. I don’t know whether they’re happily married, divorced, depressed, suicidal or anything. I just know that there is a positive message to be shared.

And every post I ever do, I seek to do in such a way to give hope to the hurting, to encourage fathers and mothers and kids in every way possible. Each time someone clicks on this blog, there’s a new opportunity to enhance someone’s life – that’s a powerful concept and an awesome responsibility. And with every fiber of my being, I seek to fulfill that responsibility.

On Fridays we generally do our Upbeat Dad of the Week feature. Since we have so many new readers to our blog and since this is the first week of the year, I wanted to take today’s post to introduce the feature to our new readers. I also want to preview some upcoming featured dads and then invite you to nominate someone who we can showcase to our worldwide audience.  

We started the Upbeat Dad of the Week to share stories about fathers who are what I like to call the “foot soldiers” in our campaign to get dads across the world more excited about the very influential and unique roles that they play. It’s not something to take lightly by any means. 

These fathers are not perfect necessarily – but they have all gone above and beyond the call of duty to be actively involved in their kids’ lives. They’re from various backgrounds but they share a common bond – they’re exceptional dads and that’s why I like to highlight them.

Far too often, we hear about a deadbeat dad who’s not paying child support. Or about fathers who are physically or verbally abusive to the extent that they scar their kids for life, sometimes literally, sometimes figuratively. 

And as is often the case, these kids grow up and repeat the same destructive cycle. These stories may make for good TV or radio ratings, but they also cause lives to be damaged – and in some cases, damaged beyond repair.

So at the Upbeat Dad, we choose to highlight stories about fathers who make us all believe in the good of humanity. Some ask the question, “Where have all the good men gone?” Well they’re so many out there – and at least on this blog, we like to highlight them.

Here are all the features we're done in this series thus far:

Next Friday’s post will be about a divorced father who has two boys – one of whom has autism. Please be sure to read that post – you’ll be blown away at the measures this father takes to ensure he’s there for his boys. Later in the month we’ll feature a man who, for most of his career, was the chief administrator at a home for boys, many of whom are orphans or abandoned. 

These stories are what the world needs to hear more about and I’m committed to sharing such stories to encourage us all. I think it’s a breath of fresh air to hear stories such as these. 

If you would like to nominate anyone for this feature, please do so by sending an email to: You may nominate your dad, uncle, relative, friend or even yourself for this feature. Also, you can always correspond with us by posting comments here on the blog, on our Facebook page or on Twitter.

I hope that you see where we’re going with this in 2011. It’s a new year and we want to make an even greater impact our children’s lives than we have to this point. It’s been a great ride thus far. But based on all that I envision, I believe that we haven’t scratched the surface yet – much more is in store! And as it all unfolds, families all around our world will benefit immensely. And that’s something to get excited about!

Have a great weekend. And do something fun with the kids. It’ll put a smile on their face and warm your heart in the process.

Enjoy. “Talk” with you soon.

The Upbeat Dad

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Life Lessons from The Karate Kid Movie

I hope you’re having a wonderful day thus far! So far this week, each post has been about setting the tone to have a good year. Every New Year as the calendar starts over, people tend to think of new things that they can do – or things that they currently do but can become more effective. So as I have written each post, with the knowledge that people are already thinking about starting over and achieving their goals, I’ve tried to keep up with that theme. If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to read each post since this past Sunday because I believe that each one is life transforming.
For today’s post, I’ll share with you a life lesson I learned from a movie I watched over the holidays – The Karate Kid. It’s a remake of the 1984 movie with Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita – this version features Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan. If you haven’t watched it, it’s a movie I highly recommend. Smith’s character was a boy named Dre Parker and Chan played a maintenance man named Mr. Han. Parker’s father passed away and his mom got a job in China so the boy, who was about 10-13 years old, had to leave the United States for a new country where he had to learn of a new culture and a new language, among other things. Han worked in the apartment complex where Parker and his mother lived.
Parker had a hard time fitting in socially because he was new and very different. At school, he was ridiculed, bullied and beaten up by older boys. He complained to his mom that he wanted to go back home to the US because he didn’t like it in the new country. He had no father and though his mother loved him, he was a lonely boy who was a social misfit. “I wanna go home!” he cried to his mother.
Before I go any further, I wonder how many of us can relate to this part of the story in more than just a casual way. Perhaps when we were children we had the same plight. Or perhaps right now our kids are facing this same difficult situation. I know that this first part of the movie captured my attention immediately.
In many ways, I was like Parker – I left a small town in Jamaica at age 12 and moved to the big city, Houston, Texas. My first several years here in the US were horrible. I loved my life at home but at school I was a social misfit. I had very little friends. As a matter of fact, kids used to ridicule me and call me the Lone Ranger – because I was always alone. And for the first time in my life, I spoke with a weird accent. Go figure! All of those issues were tough on a growing child who just wanted to fit in and be like everyone else.
I’m so thankful that I had my parents and siblings because I don’t know how I would’ve made it without my wonderful home life to look forward to each day after a miserable time at school. I don’t regret those days at all – as a matter of fact, I embrace them now because they helped to shape and mold me into who I am today.
Now back to the story: Here’s the part of the Karate Kid that I want to highlight. Mr. Han stepped into Dre Parker’s life and not only taught him the physical karate skills so that he could defend himself, he also became a father figure to him. He mentored the young man to the point that Parker’s whole view on life was revolutionized. He developed a certain level of mental toughness that helped him both in the physical practice of karate as well as the mental practice of surviving in a tough environment.

A key part of the movie that stood out to me was how Han got Parker to even begin developing his body for the art of karate. Each day when Parker came for lessons, Han would tell him to stand in one spot and take his jacket off and then put it back on. He would simply say, “Jacket off!” Then, “Jacket on!” He repeated this process for hours every day. Parker became increasingly frustrated with what he believed was Han punishing him. He kept saying, “Can we start learning karate now?”
One day after another lengthy “jacket off, jacket on” session, Parker got so upset that he quit and walked away. On his way out he said something to the effect of, “I know why you won’t teach me karate. It’s because you don’t know it. You don’t know how to do it!”
It’s at this point, when Parker became so irate that he was willing to just quit and walk away, that the beauty of this unorthodox training was revealed. Han called Parker back and showed him that the entire “jacket off, jacket on” routine was to develop his muscles in a unique way that he could excel as a karate champion. All those difficult, frustrating, boring hours that Parker thought were a waste of time were actually an investment in developing his own body. His reflexes were much better. The entire learning process became so much easier because he went through what he thought was punishment by a man who really didn’t know what he was doing.
As it turned out, Parker entered a karate tournament against some of the best young karate experts in China and based on the rigorous training that Han put him through, he won the entire tournament! What an accomplishment!
There are so many life lessons in this story. First of all, Mr. Han became a father and mentor to a fatherless boy. He helped to guide him by teaching him the essential skills to succeed in the tournament and overall in life. How many of us have sought out young boys and girls who may not have the best home environment and try to mentor them? My heart goes out to such young people. And even if they were like Parker who had a loving mother, they still need the valuable lessons that a positive mentor can give.
Another lesson in the movie is that sometimes we learn the best lessons in the most unconventional and unorthodox ways. There was Parker thinking the boring routine was punishment; while at that time he was in the developmental stages of becoming a master at his craft. One phrase that I have coined is, “That which I thought was the death of me became the key to my victory.” That could certainly be said of Parker.
As parents we should know what’s best for our kids. And yes, sometimes they get frustrated and rebel. Sometimes they say, “But everybody else is doing this, why can’t I?” It’s at those times that we have to do what’s best for them even if it pains them in the process.
Today I had a wonderful meeting at Sun Life Stadium with a Senior Manager with the Miami Dolphins football organization. We spoke about The Upbeat Dad project and my vision and it was a real enlightening meeting in which we exchanged beautiful ideas. One of the things that we talked about was mentoring and reaching out to kids in our communities before they make some life altering mistakes. It’s easy to try to get them back on the right track after they’ve made wrong decisions but how much more powerful our efforts would be if we helped to keep them on the right path before they make those mistakes.
I hope that this life lesson from the Karate Kid movie has helped you think of new, innovative ways to become a better parent and a better citizen to those in your community. I strongly believe that if we see ourselves as valued citizens of our communities, then we can positively impact the lives of those within our sphere of influence. Whether it’s a “jacket off, jacket on” lesson or something else, always seek to do what’s right and what’s best for our kids.

I hope that you have a wonderful day.
The Upbeat Dad

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Birthing Process!

I hope your 2011 is off to a great start! I know mine sure has! I really really feel that this year is going to be special in so many ways. Each of us has had goals and aspirations and I feel quite strongly that now is the time for many of our dreams to take flight. So let’s stand back and watch each other soar!

I recall when I graduated from college in 1993, I bought my then dream car – a BHAC! What’s BHAC you ask? Well, keep reading. My closest friends from college could tell you that for the 2 years leading up to graduation, all I spoke about was a BHAC! I never owned a car before. All I could do was dream about graduating and going to work for a Big 6 accounting firm, even with my humble grade point average. The finances weren’t there. The grades weren’t there. But I had a dream – an awesome dream.

And would you believe it? 2 years after I spoke about my BHAC and working for a Big 6 firm, I realized my awesome dream! Oh, I forgot to tell you what that BHAC is – it’s a Black Honda Accord Coupe! That was my dream car in college! And I bought it just exactly as I envisioned I would.
Why do I share that story? It is to tell you that your dreams are conceived in your head – however ridiculous they may seem. But they’re your dreams and no one else’s. As you nurture these dreams, somehow, in the fullness of time, they are birthed! Yes, they are born. So a silly story about a BHAC is really a profound life lesson from which we can all learn.
Just yesterday evening I had conversation with a close friend of mine – one who I think of more as a brother than a friend. I shared with him my genuine excitement about 2011. I told him about The Upbeat Dad Community Forum that I wrote about on Monday's post. It will be held Thursday, February 10 in South Florida. Then I spoke with him in general about the new things that we’re doing at The Upbeat Dad and just my overall enthusiasm about finally seeing with my eyes what I’ve seen in my head for years. I spoke for about 10 minutes just updating him on all of these things.

Then when he began speaking, my lips were sealed. As he continued speaking I could only think of the old TV ad about E.F. Hutton – remember that? “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen!” If you get to know me, one thing you’ll know is that I love to talk – and not just idle chatter. Motivational speaker Jim Rohn says, “I like to talk about things that matter with people who care.” That’s me. The persona you know from reading the blog is me in my full essence. I always have much to say.
But can I tell you something? I absolutely love to listen to people. I even taught a seminar sometime ago called The Art of Effective Listening. I love to keep silent and listen to wisdom come from the mouth of one who knows just what (s)he is talking about. When my friend began speaking, I quickly took out my electronic notepad (my Blackberry) and had to capture the wise words that he shared.
As I took those notes, the last thing on my mind was that I would end up doing a blog post based on that talk – I just needed to capture that information for myself. What he shared with me yesterday is what I’ll share with you now. It’s that profound.
The title of this post is The Birthing Process. As I shared with him how I’ve gotten to the point of launching The Upbeat Dad, I told him that way back in 1995, I first had a glimpse of starting a worldwide organization to positively impact the lives of others. I also reminded him of some of the challenges encountered along the way (he already knew of many of them). But despite the challenges as time has transpired, I have always had the vision. And now finally today I’m beginning to see much of what I had a glimpse of over 15 years ago.
He told me this, “What you’ve experienced the last 15 years is a pregnancy.” A pregnancy? But I’m a dude! I’m a man! “Yes, Rodrick,” he replied, “you’ve been pregnant and all that’s happening now is that you’re giving birth.”
Before I say anything further, I hope you realize why I’m sharing this post with you today. Some of you are pregnant right now and you don’t know it yet; some perhaps in a literal sense, but most in a figurative sense. My desire as I write this is to help you to recognize your pregnancy and value that which you carry in your womb because it is precious.
Now back to the story: I wrote down some specific things that he mentioned. It wasn’t long before I concurred with him that in fact I have been pregnant. He spoke of my wife. Just last August, we welcomed our wonderful baby son into the world. As a matter of fact, at 3:18 PM today, the 5th, he’ll officially be 5 months old.
We found out on my birthday, December 22, 2009, that we were expecting. Little did we know that she conceived in late November. But before long, we knew it. Our doctor knew it. And those we chose to share the news with knew it. But after a few months, she started to show, so it was obvious to anyone who saw her.

As time transpired, things she normally did were not so easily done anymore. Getting dressed, standing up, walking – all these things increasingly became a chore. As all this transpired, our little son was growing. First he was practically the size of a grain of sand, then a pea, then an apple, then bigger and bigger.
While all of these changes were taking place both with my wife and our unborn son, the inevitable due date was coming up. No matter what happened, he was on his way into the world and all we could do was prepare and make room for him.
My friend then made a powerful statement to me that just made my jaw drop in awe. Here’s that statement, “When a woman reaches full term, her womb is stretched to its capacity. It can no longer contain the baby. Therefore she begins to feel discomfort. Then she experiences increasingly intense labor pains. And then the baby moves through the birth canal and is born. In the fullness of time, the world sees with their eyes what 9 months before no one knew was there.” Wow! I could not add any more words to that profound statement.
You see, my friends, our dreams are conceived inside of us. Sometimes we do not realize that they are there. But it doesn’t mean that they’re not. Then we realize and acknowledge then they’re deep within us. We could be living in a house with loved ones and they have no clue that there is something conceived and living on the inside of us. But that which is conceived is real and it is living.
My wife took prenatal vitamins to feed our little baby as she carried him. As you nurture your dream, you need to feed it the right nutrients so that it can grow in its own natural process and time. Over time, as it grows, you do begin to experience some discomfort because you’re not used to carrying this extra weight. It becomes a burden – one that you know must be released. You want to release it but it’s not yet “the fullness of time.” So you wait in anticipation and at times, with some frustration.
Did you know that there’s a certain point before which a fetus cannot survive outside of the womb? In our own lives, sometimes we try to give birth to our dreams but somehow those plans quickly fizzle and fade away. That’s because it wasn’t time to give birth just yet. But the inevitable due date awaits. There is a due date for the dreams conceived on the inside of you. That due date is as sure as the rising of the sun – it is inevitable. Your responsibility therefore, is to nurture your dreams until they become reality.
I hope you get the profound picture that I’ve sought to paint in this post. You are loaded with potential. And I really hope that this year, 2011, you will embrace the dream that lives on the inside of you. As you nurture this dream, it grows continually. Yes, there are times when it becomes painful to carry. And yes, there comes the time when it appears too much to bear. But hold on –could it be that you’re giving birth to it?

My mom always says, “The darkest part of the night is just before the dawn.” Your dreams for your family and for your career are within your grasp. But you can only realize your dreams through the painful but necessary birthing process.

Perhaps 2011 is your year to give birth! Perhaps your labor pains have been disguised as you becoming a victim of the economic downturn and your finances appear to have been cut off. Perhaps your labor pains have been disguised as a bad divorce; or as out of control children.

But take heart – as any loving mother will tell you, when that lovely baby is born, you quickly forget about the pain and discomfort as you hold that bundle of joy in your arms. It makes the labor and the pain worth it all. My wife has little recollection of the many hours that she spent in labor. She only knows that she has a wonderful, healthy, happy baby boy and that’s all that matters.
Your dreams are in the birth canal my friend. The head is crowning. In a very short while, you and the world will see with your eyes what you've already seen in your head. And as you give birth, just know that though your baby is conceived within you and begins to grow in your womb, in order for it to grow into all that it can be, it must be released through the birthing process.

I can’t wait to hear of how your lives have been changed as you give birth this year. I hope that you embrace this very life transforming message because it’s very real. And I hope that you and your baby will impact the world in a positive way.
Enjoy giving birth! We’ll see you soon.
The Upbeat Dad

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

No Turning Back!

Well the year is in full swing and we’re getting back into working mode. I know it takes a while getting into that mode especially after many of us have enjoyed time off during the holiday season. But the cycle starts all over in January so it’s good to get back in the mode of trying to accomplish great things.
On yesterday’s post Announcing The Upbeat Dad Community Forum, I outlined a significant part of my vision for impacting families throughout the world. This forum is such a key component as I carry out this vision. As time goes on, I expect to do more public events – forums, seminars, workshops and conferences. This initial one is key, as it establishes an in-person interactive atmosphere.
One thing that I haven’t really highlighted on the blog is my career as a public speaker. I think I’m equally proficient as a speaker and as a writer. To me, there’s a message to be shared and I just seek to share it by making a connection through words. So whether those words are read or heard, the key is making that connection. I have traveled throughout the United States and overseas doing conferences and other such events for over 10 years. That experience is more fulfilling than you might imagine.
When I write, in many ways, it’s a lonely experience. I sit alone with my thoughts and type them. The wonderful thing however, is that when I’m alone and writing, the thoughts flow in a powerful way and I simply type what I hear. I believe that the words will impact the audience in a positive way. After I write each blog post, and submit it to be edited before it’s posted, it’s like a release of energy that I can’t explain. In a sense, it’s as if I’ve just given birth to something. Then later on after the post is made public, I begin getting feedback. At that point, I know that the message was delivered and I hope it was received as intended.

Rodrick greeting guests after an event
In a seminar or other public setting, the dynamics are totally different. There’s so much more interaction with the audience. There is verbal and non-verbal communication. And the energy level is so much different. If I inject humor into the presentation, then the laughter is echoed in the air and it becomes contagious. It’s just a different dynamic altogether.

I love speaking and writing equally because I think that they are both powerful tools of communication that can impact lives in a meaningful way. Most seminars and writings that I have done would be generally classified in the “self-help” or “motivational” category. My book Poems of Inspiration: A Daily Dose of Self-Motivation was on the best-seller list of Amazon and Barnes and Noble in the New Releases Self-Help category when it was published.
That’s an accomplishment that I’m proud of. But you know something? As wonderful as that may be, my greater passion is for our families, because it is the institution of the family that makes and molds the lives of our children. And children later become adults. And adults run the world as we know it.

I’m so fortunate to have grown up in a loving home. My parents have been married for over 45 years. In fact, today is my father’s birthday! “Happy birthday Daddy!” I have only known love and care from my parents - love for us and for each other. Sometimes their love for us has been demonstrated with a smile; other times, with discipline. But it’s always been with love. My 3 siblings and I have wonderful parents and in our own ways, we have become successful as a result of the labor of love that has been demonstrated by them.
So when I found myself in a failing marriage in the early 2000s, that just rocked my world. I wasn’t familiar with divorce and the whole family law system. What’s division of assets? What’s a visitation schedule? What’s child support? All of these were questions that I asked because though I’d heard of them, I really didn’t know what they were in actuality. It’s amazing to me that I lived for such a long time sheltered from this very dark and difficult life that so many have to endure.
When I saw my little 3 year old daughter caught in the middle of a broken relationship, that really broke my heart. And as much as I tried to shield her from it, there was only so much that I could do. The relationship ended and with it came the reality of divorce and its after-effects.
I vowed then, that with every fiber of my being, I would work to help keep as many families as possible from walking down that very unpleasant road. Fathers and mothers sometimes make decisions that will turn their children’s lives upside down. They never really think the entire process through. Marriages and other relationships that produce children fail every day. And unfortunately, the kids are the innocent victims in the midst of it all.
For me, this entire Upbeat Dad project is the cause of a lifetime. Every day since 2001, I have lived the life that I write about on this blog. I know of the emotions that parents and kids feel and express in their own unique ways. That’s why I write as much as I do – these emotions are very real so I try to encourage each person.  
With the forum and other future events, I just want to help give hope to those who need to hear the message. I want fathers and mothers to know that life goes on despite the difficulties that arise in our relationships. I want kids to know that they deserve to have loving parents. I want men to move beyond just being biological fathers and becoming dads to their kids. As I said, this is the cause of a lifetime and I’m ready to see lives impacted in a positive way.
Five years ago this week, I formally resigned from my job. I felt that it was time to pursue certain life goals. Being an entrepreneur is something that I realized a few years earlier was the necessary path for me to take to realize my dreams. The project that we now know as The Upbeat Dad was part of the vision but I knew it was still years away. I needed to prepare myself in other areas, relying on my skills as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and other things I had done professionally. I was entering uncharted territory but I knew this was a necessary road I had to take.

I wrote a powerful poem as I was about to resign from my job. The title is simply, “No Turning Back.” The poem is in my book that I referred to earlier in this post.
Before I share that poem with you, let me say this: We’re in early January. Many of you have made your new year’s resolutions. You know that if life continues as it has in recent years, you’ll become less fulfilled. You know that though others may observe you and think that all is well, deep within your true purpose is calling you to step out and make your visions become reality. I know that as many of you read this, I’ve struck a chord deep within you. And that’s a good thing. Your purpose will frustrate you until you’re actually walking the road that you were born to walk.
I want to challenge you with “No Turning Back.” I call it my personal Declaration of Independence. It’s been a source of liberation to many as they have contemplated their own life altering decisions. I encourage you to embrace the truth embodied in these words as you read:
No Turning Back

Can’t do it any longer; I keep lying to myself.
The yearning and the hunger won’t go anywhere else.
It’s time to feed my passion; it’s time to take control;
it’s time to take some action before I get too old.

How can I serve humanity by sitting on the fence?
How can I give the best of me, living with this pretense?
I’ve got so much inside of me that I’ve got to let it out.
It’s time to give the rest of me, and that’s without a doubt.

No more procrastination; I won’t die in a cocoon.
And no more contemplation; I’ve got to do it soon.
Can’t live with all the sorrow; can’t see my dreams decay;
the fool lives for tomorrow; the wise man for today.

There’s a fire on the inside— one that I can’t contain—
that’s yearning for the outside, where it can have free reign
to lead me to my destiny; to where I long to be;
to burn for me eternally; to make my life complete.

With one look in the mirror, I know I’m on my way;
with each step I get nearer, so I must start today.
The world out there is waiting; it’s time to get on track—
this time, no hesitating; there is no turning back.

I hope that not far from now, you will look back at this poem and see it as the catalyst that gave you the license to pursue your life’s calling. As you make this pursuit, just remind yourself that you cannot and will not turn back, no matter the cost.
Just know that you’re a champion and you were born to accomplish great things. Keep your focus and soon – very soon – you will realize your dreams!

Have yourself a wonderful day!
The Upbeat Dad

Monday, January 3, 2011

Announcing The Upbeat Dad Community Forum!

Happy New Year! I’ve said those words before but today is the first day that it really seems like it’s a new year - it’s the first regular business day and school day of 2011. It’s gonna be a good year – a very good year! I hope you believe it as I do because it will be!
I promised to preview on today’s post where we will be going in 2011 as we continue the journey that we started last fall – to help spread our positive message about fatherhood and the privilege of serving in such a role. Last Friday, I wrote the post Major Milestone and Year in Review to highlight the success of our blog thus far. We’re way over 5,000 pageviews and growing in popularity with dads, moms, kids and others throughout the world.
We have a universal message that appeals to the married, the divorced and the singles of our world. This message simply states that fatherhood is an awesome responsibility and if we can help to get more fathers excited about the roles that they perform or should perform, our children’s lives would be much better as a result. I believe that we’re definitely on the right track.
So here we are now at the dawn of a new year. Where do we go from here? Well, I’m glad you asked. Whenever a military operation commences, the initial phase is called the air campaign. In this phase, the tactical strategy is carried out by conducting air strikes. The next phase is called the ground campaign. In this phase, troops go in on the ground to accomplish what could not be sufficiently accomplished by air. On the ground is where the victory is won.
As we embarked on this journey last October, I wrote about the plans that I have to impact the world for our kids. The blog has done quite well.  You could liken that to the air campaign; now comes the ground campaign. But this campaign is all about building successful families. And that’s why I’m so excited!

I’m pleased to announce our first public event – The Upbeat Dad Community Forum, coming to South Florida on Thursday, February 10, 2011. This is a real opportunity to take our mission to another level. Here are the details of the event:

The Upbeat Dad Community Forum!

 Come let your voice be heard at The Upbeat Dad Community Forum!
You'll enjoy this intriguing discussion on fatherhood!

Cooper City Church of God Fellowship Hall
9191 Stirling Road
Cooper City, FL 33328

Thursday, February 11, 2011
7 PM - 9 PM

Name: Rodrick Walters
Phone: 954-288-4788
RSVP by Thursday, February 4, 2011

Dads, Moms, Married, Divorced, Singles, Everyone’s welcome!
We wanna hear from you!

Free Admission!

Come on out and express yourself on this thought-provoking subject!

Among the issues that will be addressed are:
  • Absentee father syndrome: Where are our fathers?
  • How fair is the family law system?
  • From father to visitor: Being dad after divorce
  • Why every child needs a dad
  • When good fathers go bad
  • Why parents use children as tools in a game of Tug of War?
This forum will be a medium, where there will be an honest, open discussion on fatherhood – the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s a forum, not a lecture; therefore an essential part of the event will be the public discussion. We’re looking to engage in productive dialogue on these subjects.
I believe that this event and future public events of this type are a part of the solution to the problems that we’ve identified. Meaningful exchange of information in a public setting is key as we seek to solve the many problems that I write about each day.
Let me also say that as the vision of The Upbeat Dad unfolds, I plan to have similar forums in different cities throughout the United States and around the world. I have always stated that our vision is global and this next phase is certainly part of the process of carrying out the vision. I believe in the truth of the saying, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” This February 10th event is our first step on what I believe will be an exciting journey as we carry our message to the world.
If you live in South Florida or you happen to be in the area on February 10, do make the effort to come out and join us. It’s an experience that I believe will enrich your lives and make you more equipped. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man, woman, divorcee, single – we need your presence to help make this event everything that it can be.

Rodrick Walters
I will share more about this event in future posts over the next several weeks. I just wanted to introduce this very exciting event today. I hope you enjoy getting back to your normal lives as we begin this new year. Now go out and make it a great day and a great year!
As I said earlier, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I hope that the steps you take today will yield great rewards for you this year.

Have a great one!
The Upbeat Dad

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Someone’s Gonna Have a Breakout Year, Why Not You?

As we prepare to enter the first full week of the new year, I just wanted to give a brief post today to prepare us for a banner year – an awesome year, full of great accomplishments.  I can’t wait to get going because I envision some wonderful things happening! And I hope you do too.
Let’s forget all the chatter about economic downturn and other negative issues. My view is that somebody is going to be a breakout star this year. A new company is going to take the world by surprise. A new athlete is going to impress the world with his/her superior skills. Someway, somehow, somebody is going to own this year as the year that it all came together. So my question is, “Why not you?”
I remember when I was studying at the University of Texas at Austin, I struggled mightily my first two years. Somehow, something just wasn’t clicking. Then, it’s like a light bulb went on in my head and woke me up. Here’s what I learned: The University had 50,000 students and I was just one of them. Whether I stayed or left, the University was fine – it wouldn’t be affected either way. I, therefore, had to force myself into a position where I got what I wanted from the University.
At that same time in the early ‘90s, the Dallas Cowboys were entering a new era in the great history of their franchise. Arkansas businessman Jerry Jones recently bought "America's Team" and was ready to lead them in a new direction. Jones and the Cowboys chose University of Florida running back, Emmitt Smith, to spearhead their running attack. That draft pick was a surprise to many because many so-called experts and pundits said that Smith was undersized and predicted that he would not experience much success at the professional level.

I wasn't even a Cowboys fan - I grew up in Houston so I loved the Oilers. But Smith and the Cowboys won my admiration and respect as I saw a team that went from a 1-15 record to win 3 Super Bowls in the '90s. And Smith was a key part of their offensive game, even being named Super Bowl Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the process. I remember coming up with the phrase, “The Dallas Cowboys will have a starting running back. So why not Emmitt Smith?”

Smith would go on to set an NFL record for most career rushing yards, breaking the record previously held by the great Walter Payton. Not bad for an undersized running back who could never succeed at the professional level, right?
I drew energy from the turnaround of the Dallas Cowboys and the achievements of Emmitt Smith. That energy inspired me do a  180 degree turnaround in my academic performance and I went on the have an extremely successful time in my studies. I have never forgotten this profound lesson that I saw played on the football field.
Here’s where I challenge you – even in the midst of an economic downturn, someone is going to strike it big this year. There will be a new media darling. There will be a new hot stock. Someone will be in high demand by media sources for interviews. Someone will sign a multi-million dollar deal. In other words, The Dallas Cowboys will have a starting running back so why not you? Why can’t you be that superstar that the world has been looking for?
As I say this, let me hasten to say that part of your responsibility as you rise to stardom is that you keep your priorities straight. Your family responsibilities are first and then everything else follows. Don’t be like those who finally get their breakthrough and feel they need to change spouses. Some people think like that you know. And others, while their successes cause a demand on their time and schedule, are willing to sacrifice their spouses and children in the pursuit of happiness.
Would it not be tragic if you gain wealth and fortune and lose your most important relationships in the process? I would classify that as being a successful failure. Let’s learn from those who have taken this road to nowhere, only to realize that your home is the only place where unconditional love and care are a given. Anything else might be a risk that isn’t worth it.

Let’s make this the greatest year of our collective lives to date. Won’t you save this post and talk to me later this year - on December 31. And we’ll see who the new stars are. And who had the breakout year. I'm counting on you! I believe you will be one of the success stories! I believe in your greatness. And I believe that your family will become closer as you rise higher. I look forward to hearing of your stories as what you envision comes to pass.
I’ll close with this final though for the day: your future is bright and your future is now; now go embrace the opportunities that await you.
Have a great day.
The Upbeat Dad