Saturday, February 26, 2011

Welcome New Countries - February 26, 2011

We'd like to welcome the following countries that have joined our growing list of readers over the past week: Azerbaijan, Bermuda, China, Cyprus, Iraq, Jordan, Malta, Morocco, Qatar, Saint Lucia!

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, February 25, 2011

Upbeat Dad of the Week: Nelson L. Moody Sr.

Nelson L. Moody Sr. and his youngest 3 kids
It’s time for our Upbeat Dad of the Week! Because of our Upbeat Dad Community Forum, the past two weeks, we haven’t had this feature. Instead we featured special posts on our forum and the success that it was. If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to check out our detailed post – Special Edition: Upbeat Dad Community Forum Recap.
Let me also say that beginning in March, on the first Friday of each month, we will do a feature on a non-profit / charitable organization that embodies the ideals that we hold dear at The Upbeat Dad. We will share more about this new spotlight in the coming days. I mention this now to say that next week, we will debut that feature. Therefore, the next Upbeat Dad of the Week post will be done on Friday, March 11.
Today’s feature is really a “feel good” story after a situation that started out not so good. At The Upbeat Dad, we like to share posts that inspire people to rise above their circumstances, despite the challenges that they may face. Our dad this week is one such individual. So it gives me great pleasure to say that our Upbeat Dad of the Week is Nelson L. Moody Sr.
He was nominated as our featured dad in response to our open invitation every time we have such a spotlight. I got to know him only while doing the interview and research for this post. As I learned more about his journey, I thought that his personal testimony might encourage many who read our blog.
Nelson was born in Baltimore, Maryland to a single mother. He grew up in a loving home yet he had friends and family who had both parents in their lives, if not in the home together. He never met his father so there always seemed to be a void in his life. When he was 10 years old and began to think about his future, he promised himself that whenever he has children, no matter the circumstance, he would actively be present in their lives.
While in high school, he joined the United States army. Upon graduation he enlisted full-time and traveled around the US and the world on behalf of his country. He received numerous awards including The Army Achievement Medal on 2 different occasions. He was honorably discharged from the armed forces in 1986 after serving 6 years.
When he was 15 years old and still in high school, he decided that somehow he had to fill the void in his life and meet his father. He searched for 15 years – by different means, to find him. Finally, he got a lead from an aunt about how to finally meet the man who was absent for all of his life. On a Thursday, a meeting was scheduled for the following Tuesday. But on the Sunday before the meeting, his father died. So he finally did meet his father – but on the following Wednesday when he saw him in the funeral home. A lifelong quest had ended sadly but at least he did meet his goal.
Nelson is a security officer with Johns Hopkins Hospital in his hometown of Baltimore. He is the father of 5 children. He has been married twice but each of the marriages ended in divorce. Despite these divorces, he has remained close with each of his children. 
His first marriage ended in a way that often causes men to walk away in frustration with the family law system. He has 1 child from that marriage – a son. His former wife alleged that between the child’s birth and age 10, Nelson physically abused him. Despite the fact that there was no evidence to affirm the allegations, this caused him to have to fight for his right to be involved in his son’s life. The police department corroborates his story that there was no evidence to confirm that he was abusive.
Cover of Nelson's first book
While I write this, let me say quickly here that I do not know of the facts of the case. I’m relaying information to our readers. I know that there are multiple sides to every story. I do know, however, that false accusations of domestic violence and abuse are quite prevalent in family law cases. I wrote about that in yesterday’s post Domestic Violence and Its Impact on Families. In many cases, men who are accused have a presumption of guilt in the eyes of the court. I know this from multiple sources including individuals who work within the legal system.
The challenges of the situation frustrated Nelson immensely. He didn’t have the financial resources to hire an attorney to fight the allegations in court. So e represented himself. He had no legal training but considering that he didn’t have the resources to hire an attorney, his choices were to either walk away and lose contact with his son, or represent himself to the best of his ability.
A novice to the legal system, Mr. Moody went from The Circuit Court of Maryland in Baltimore City to The Supreme Court of The United States on behalf of his son. He says, “No one would listen. No one wanted to investigate the case or listen to my reasoning. The opposing side never gave me a run for my money or challenged anything that I presented to any court.”
With the challenges that he faced, Nelson was successful, in that, despite all the allegations, he maintained a relationship with his son. Today they are as close as ever. He says, “Justice is not justice unless you do something about the injustice.”
Cover of Nelson's 3rd book
The first two books are based on the court case. He has written a screen play based on the case as well. He also created the You Tube channel International Fathers, on which he shares videos on fatherhood.
One of the touching parts of his story is that his son who he was accused of abusing, now 26 years old, wrote the About The Author section of his last 2 books. When he told me that during our interview, I must say that a tear or two came to my eyes. That’s touching beyond belief.
He remains close to his other children as well. His youngest 3 children are from his 2nd marriage. They are 9 year old twins and a 7 year old. He and his former wife share custody, with the kids spending most of the time with him.
When I asked him what message about fatherhood he wanted to share with our readers, he said, “Little children watch what big children do and say. Big children watch what adults do and say. Therefore, watch the example that you set.” There are no words to add to that profound statement; I couldn’t have said it better.
I hope that you have enjoyed learning about who I consider to be a great man, Mr. Nelson L. Moody Sr. So often you read about fathers who are missing from their children’s lives and their only excuse is that they didn’t grow up with a father so they don’t know how to be one. In other cases, you learn about fathers who get so frustrated with the legal system that they just give up and walk away – leaving their children more vulnerable than before.
So when I learn of stories such as Nelson L. Moody Sr’s, I’m encouraged to know that there are men who still care to impart their knowledge and wisdom into their kids’ lives. A friend of mine said to me, “Kid’s aren’t for keeps – they grow up and then they leave home. So you have to teach them the right thing when they are young.” Based on this statement alone, I believe that Nelson ought to be applauded for choosing to be a loving, caring father.

I encourage you to share this post with those you believe would benefit from it. I also encourage you to get any of his books that you believe would help yourself or others. Nelson turned his lemons into lemonade and now they can be someone's lifeline. It's all about sharing a positive message from a loving father. 

If you’d like to nominate someone for Upbeat Dad of the Week, please do so by sending an email to: You can nominate your father or other relative or friend. You can even nominate yourself. We love to highlight fathers who are active participants in their kids’ lives.
Enjoy your day today and every day.
The Upbeat Dad


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Domestic Violence and Its Impact on Families

Today’s post is about an issue that I wish didn’t need to be addressed. But it is a reality in homes around the world. And considering that many come to our blog for encouragement and solutions about life issues, I believe that part of our responsibility is to address matters that may not necessarily be pleasant to talk about. So today’s topic is about domestic violence and its impact on families.
Several years ago when I lived in Houston, Texas, I recall watching an episode of the television show COPS. If you’re unfamiliar with the show, it’s one that features police officers carrying out their duties in real incidents as they occur.
On that episode, the police were called to a home where two men had a physical altercation. As they got to the scene, they learned that one man had hit his girlfriend in the presence of their children. The woman called her brother and he came over to the home and got into a fight with the other man.

When the police finally restrained them, the woman’s brother said, “I had to fight him. Ain’t nobody gonna hit my sister if he ain’t married to her!” Did you hear that? That’s exactly what he said! “Ain’t nobody gonna hit my sister if he ain’t married to her!”
Can you imagine the mindset that it takes to come to that conclusion? In other words, had the sister been married, it would’ve been just fine with her brother if she were beaten. I guess in his mind, that’s a privilege of marriage. So very sad.
I strongly believe in the family structure. I also believe that children are a blessing to couples. What concerns me greatly is that domestic violence is a way of life for many couples. Most often, it’s a man being violent but that’s not always necessarily so. I know of many cases of men being abusive. I also know of cases where women are abusive. And in other cases, both men and women are.
This issue of domestic violence is so multi-dimensional. We have to consider what occurs in the home. We have to consider what occurs with kids. And we also need to consider the legal angle to it.

I do not believe that people just wake up one day and decide to become violent. I have learned from a colleague who’s a family therapist that, more often than not, people who display those traits have been exposed to it for much of their lives. You may have heard it said that children live what they learn. How many times have you heard of someone who’s violent in the home and then you later learn that they grew up around that type of behavior?
A family attorney who’s a colleague of mine told me that since the economic downturn, divorces have decreased significantly. But domestic violence cases have risen substantially. Isn’t that interesting? His conclusion is that the pressures of a bad economy are probably causing people to stay together when they probably ought to be apart. They can’t afford to divorce so instead they stay together and sometimes let their emotions get the better of them.
The sad consequence in all of this is that the children who grow up around such behavior become affected emotionally. Anxiety and fearfulness are just some of the results of their experience. And if not adequately dealt with, these same children grow up and likely find themselves in abusive relationships. Boys become men who believe that being physically intimidating is a proper way to settle the normal disagreements that couples have. And women think that it’s normal for a man to act that way.
In many cases, men blame women and women blame themselves when there is a domestic violence incident. Have you ever heard a man say, “If she wouldn’t have done          (fill in the blank)             I wouldn’t have had to hit her?” Or have you heard women say, “I know he loves me but he’s just a little frustrated? If I wouldn’t have done          (fill in the blank)             he wouldn’t have to do it?”
And as I said earlier, women are at times violent with men. At our Upbeat Dad Community Forum 2 weeks ago, after the event I was speaking with a gentleman who told me that he got divorced 5 years ago. During the marriage, there were times that his wife would become so enraged that she would slap him in the face and kick him. He said that although he was tempted to retaliate, he knew that in doing so, once the police become involved, as a man, he’d be the one who goes to jail. So he typically just left the house.
This whole area of life bothers me greatly. Let me share this with you. There’s nothing normal about being physically violent with anyone – particularly one with whom you’re in a relationship. My thought is that if things are that bad that you have to resort to violence, you should probably walk away. No one should drive you to the point where you lose self control to that degree.
There are certain television programs and movies that I do not watch. I recall watching the movie What’s Love Got to do With It? – the Tina Turner story. When I saw the scenes where she was physically abused by her husband, I couldn’t look. I pressed mute and waited until that scene ended – checking periodically to ensure that it ended. I just don’t like the thought that people say, “I love you that’s why I have to beat you.” It just doesn’t make sense to me.
The legal angle to this is also something that ought to be considered. A family attorney friend of mine told me that, particularly since the O.J. Simpson murder trial, judges tend to be more cautious than ever in dealing with domestic violence cases. So they grant restraining orders more quickly and easily – opting to err on the side of caution. If there is really domestic violence, someone could actually lose their life. That’s much worse than having an innocent person wrongly convicted of the act.
Let me add here that an unfortunate consequence to all of this is that people use domestic violence accusations as part of their legal strategy in divorce cases. In the United States, it’s not out of the ordinary for restraining orders with false accusations of domestic violence to be filed by either party in order to get ahead in the legal process. It’s much easier to get the house and custody of the kids when you label the other party as a violent person.
My thought on all of this is that it’s sad that people who once loved each other need to go to such measures just to win a court case. Particularly when there are children involved, the unintended consequences of such strategies can be really damaging.
This entire blog post is one that’s not easy for me to write. I know it may be difficult for some of you to read. It’s not out of the ordinary to think that someone reading this may be presently in an abusive relationship. We’re living in a real world and real people are dealing with these issues.
If you find yourself in an abusive relationship at this point, I encourage you to get help. If you’re a victim, please get help. If you’re the abuser, please get help. Particularly when there are kids in the picture, there’s nothing good that comes out of these situations. Perhaps counselors or family therapists need to be involved. Perhaps law enforcement needs to be involved. Whatever the situation may be, please get help.
This blog post was a sobering one, I know; but also a necessary one in my view. I always try to be positive in all my writings. And it’s no different here. If nothing else, I hope that what you've read here has brought some level of awareness to this issue. And I hope that it will be a catalyst for positive change in our homes.
No one deserves to live in an environment where violence is a way of life. Far too many people are in such a plight. Please share this post with others who you believe would benefit from the message. My intent is that, as with all our other writings, this would be an agent for change.

In my view, it's good to look at such a difficult subject as domestic violence and yet draw something positive from what is an inherently negative topic. That's our goal as an organization. We try to encourage each person to do the best thing for their families and for themselves in all circumstances.
Thanks for reading and do enjoy your day.

The Upbeat Dad


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

How to Develop Good Relationships Between Stepparents and Kids

Last night I came home after a long day of meetings and work. My daughter waited up past her bedtime for me – just so that she could greet me and have a brief chat before bedtime. How precious is that? Anyway, she said to me, “Daddy, I have an idea for the blog; write about how important it is for kids and their stepparents to have a good relationship.” I replied, “Hhhmmm. You make a good point. You know what? I’ll write that post tomorrow.” Well today is tomorrow so, here it is.
My daughter is 12 years old but she has the insight of a child much older. Her mother and I divorced just over 9 years ago. I remarried 2 years – actually this past Monday, February 21 was our wedding anniversary (see Feeling “Upbeat” About My 2nd Wedding Anniversary). We have a 6 month old son so now we’re a happy family of 4. I wrote about the process of our family coming together in The Story of My Blended Family by The Upbeat Dad.
I’m so fortunate that my wife and I came together in a virtually smooth way. And I’m even more fortunate that she and my daughter have a close bond – to the extent that unless we say otherwise, people who we meet think that they are biologically related. That didn’t happen overnight; that’s the purpose of this post.
In Dating 101 for the Divorced Dad, I share my philosophy on dating as a single parent. I lived that life for approximately 5 years before I started dating my wife. One thing that I wrote about in that post is that I didn’t allow my daughter to develop relationships with those who I dated during the 5 year period. I really didn’t want to confuse her because, goodness forbid, if any of those relationships ended, to her, it could be like another divorce. So I was careful about how I handled the process.
When my wife came into my life, things were very different. And in time we got married and started to write our own chapter in history. I won’t rewrite the post about how my wife and daughter got to develop the relationship that they have now. You can read the articles previously referenced in this post. What I want to address is why it is important for kids and stepparents to have a good relationship.

My colleague and friend, Christina McGhee, introduced me to the terms "bonus kids" and "bonus parents", instead of "step kids" and "step parents." I can appreciate the use of those terms because to my wife, she married me and my daughter was a bonus to her. Likewise, my daughter has two biological parents; my wife is a bonus mom to her. Whether we use the term "step"or "bonus", just know that these additional people should be there to enhance our lives. 
My daughter said to me last night as we spoke, “Daddy, you work a lot and you go to meetings. If we didn’t have a good relationship, what would happen when you’re not here? I’m glad we have a good relationship.” The fact of the matter is that many kids feel threatened by a new stepparent – thinking that they are there to take their parent away. And in other cases, they may feel that a new stepparent is replacing their mom or dad.
For instance, with my daughter, I have been very careful to ensure that her biological mother does not feel as if my wife is her replacement. She gave birth to our daughter and though the marriage didn’t work out, she will always be her mother. My wife understands that and has been absolutely wonderful in handing this issue.
And for my daughter, she has no issues in terms of who her biological mother is. At the same time, she doesn’t treat her stepmother as if she’s any less than a mother. She’s quite respectful and really very loving to her. Their relationship has made it so much easier for me to enjoy life.
There are so many horror stories about kids being at war with their stepparents. Not so in our household, thankfully. I don’t think that it happened that way accidentally. Each party has had a role to play. Initially my daughter feared that the new marriage was going to tear her and me apart; instead, we’re closer today than ever.
What’s the secret to our success? Honest, open communication is the key. Another thing is that I am no way differently involved in my daughter’s life today than I was as a single dad. I’m still at the teachers’ conferences. I’m still involved with her life. I walk her to the bus stop. And once a week, we go out for a meal or other fun activity – just the 2 of us.
What has changed is that now there’s a new parent in the house – but one who loves her just the same. My wife is also involved in the schooling and other aspects of her life. We really function as a team in raising her. There’s no cause of concern on my part as I leave the home to travel or go to meetings because I know that we have a loving home and everyone treats the other household members with respect.
For me, it’s such a thrill to see how my daughter has embraced her little brother. She helps in the daily tasks of raising a newborn – changing diapers, feeding, etc. It’s something that’s a blessing to see. They’re just under 12 years apart so, as I told her, she can really teach and mentor him in ways that I can’t as a parent; they’re from the same generation, afterall.
If you have stepchildren, I encourage you to do your best to develop positive relationships with them. It’s easier said than done in some cases, I know, but it makes life so much less stressful when that is the case. And if you’re in a relationship with an individual who already has children and you’re developing relationships with the kids, please do your best to assure them that you’re not there as a competitor with their other parent. That goes a long way, believe me. And feel free to add the term "bonus" to your language. It might give you a different view of this subject.
I hope that this post has been helpful. If it has, don’t thank me – thank my daughter. She’s the inspiration behind what I believe is a very timely message. I trust that it has touched hearts and has encouraged people to make the necessary changes that will build fruitful relationships.
Enjoy your day. And hug your kids when they come home!
The Upbeat Dad

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Content Is King!

I've had a few recent conversations with fellow bloggers and other individuals about the journey we've had thus far with The Upbeat Dad as an organization. Most recently, I was contacted by a marketing agent about the clients that he represents doing some advertising on my site. The consistent question that's been asked of me has been, "How do you generate so much traffic?" My response is the basis for today's post: "Content is king."
We launched this blog officially on Monday, October 4, 2010. Earlier this week, we got hit # 14,000 and follower # 900 on Twitter. I always say that these numbers represent lives that we can touch in a meaningful way – they’re not simply for the sake of saying we have heavy traffic.
I’m very new to the world of blogging. As I told the marketer when we spoke, I’m learning about the whole process as I go along. I didn’t start out with the sophisticated marketing plans that so many have. The methods of driving traffic through search engine optimization were unknown to me. The only thing that I knew is that I had a message that I wanted to share with the world. That’s it – nothing more, nothing less.

As I have written, I’ve begun to learn about the marketing aspect to this whole project. I’m also learning about how I can make the organization a global force for change in a meaningful way. I see tangible ways that we can expand our vision into different areas to impact the lives of others. I really see how this vision can be the cause of a lifetime – one that employs resources around the world to effect positive change.
So to address the question, “How do you do it?” I respond, “Content is king.” And how do we make The Upbeat Dad into the global force that I talk and write about? Again, “content is king.” By this I mean that the matters that we raise through these daily blog posts are touching lives all over the world.
I do not take this responsibility lightly by any means. As I write each day, I close my eyes and picture the planet. I see the global economic crisis and the effect that it has on families. I see unrest in the Middle East. I see the impact of the family law system in different jurisdictions.
When I write, I really don’t see race or culture; I don’t see religion; I only see people – people that can benefit from a life changing message. This message says that kids need actively involved fathers in their lives if they are to be the best that they can be.
I don’t have a script as I write. I write from the heart. Different thoughts come to mind throughout each day. Sometimes I jot them down if I believe that they are “blog worthy.” I see programs on television. Or sometimes I speak with someone about a particular topic. And then I write based on that topic. I have a running list of topics in my Blackberry that I reference from time to time.
One thing that I can guarantee you is that whatever topic I ever write about, I will always seek to be positive. Some people are hurting very deeply and look to this blog as a source for encouragement. Almost on a daily basis, between comments posted on the blog, on Twitter or on our Facebook page, I get feedback from people about how encouraged they are by our posts.
I would never take for granted the platform that I have been given – to speak hope into people’s lives. I don’t know how many hearts this blog has touched thus far. I don’t know how many fathers have been moved to the point of making things right with their kids. I don’t know how many mothers have renewed hope in men after reading the positive twist on some matters that are inherently negative. I don’t know how many kids are now better off today than they were before their parents began reading this blog. But I do know that lives are being touched.
Even as we had our inaugural Upbeat Dad Community Forum 2 weeks ago, a gentleman called me the day before the event and told me he even contemplated suicide as means of escaping his daily reality – being estranged from his son because the mother opted to use the legal system to keep them apart. He hasn’t seen his son in 3 years and he just wanted to end it all. How could I not be compassionate when I listen to the voice of a hurting parent in that scenario?
Likewise, women have contacted me as they go through their own turmoil with uninvolved fathers. I’m so fortunate to have a huge following among females. 60% of our readers are female and to me, that’s an honor. The issues of fatherhood are universal and they cannot be effectively addressed without acknowledging the role that women play.
So as I write – and continue to write, just know that I will always endeavor to make a difference through these posts. I lived through a nightmare experience in the early 2000s when I went through a divorce (see The Story Behind The Upbeat Dad).
I want to shield as many kids as possible from the crossfire that often results when happy homes become broken homes. I want to help as many fathers and mothers as possible to do the right thing for their kids. I don’t claim to have all the answers but I do know that if I use kind words to help in difficult situations, lives can be healed and hearts mended. That’s my utmost desire.
Where we are going as an organization is limitless. I have a great vision – one that is unfolding each day. Please know that whatever we may do, the content of the message that we share will lead the way. The message is much greater than the messenger; I’m just humbled to serve in this capacity.
Thanks for tuning in; and enjoy the journey with us – we’re headed to a great destination.

Enjoy your day today and every day.
The Upbeat Dad

Monday, February 21, 2011

Feeling “Upbeat” About My 2nd Wedding Anniversary!

Today is a national holiday in the United States – it’s President’s Day. But I’m celebrating for a totally different reason. You see, I’m celebrating my 2nd wedding anniversary. My wife and I are officially 2 years old and growing stronger by the minute. It’s been a thrilling ride since our first date in 2007. And it culminated in our official union on Saturday, February 21, 2009.

This anniversary is quite special to me for many reasons. First, I love her dearly for who she is and all that she is to me. Secondly, having experienced the trauma of divorce, I know that when you’ve found that someone special who you’ll spend the rest of your life with, it makes for something to celebrate.
In the post The Story Behind the Upbeat Dad, I shared a bit of the journey that has taken me to this point. And in The Story of My Blended Family by The Upbeat Dad I shared the story about how I went from being a single dad to the married father of two wonderful kids.

Today is a reason to celebrate for so many reasons. In the immediate aftermath of my divorce, I would’ve never thought I’d see a day like today. I was walking wounded after that experience. It was quite an eye-opener as I got introduced to the whole family law system and what happens with so many families when love leaves a home.
It’s not that I said good-bye to love (as The Carpenters sang). It’s just that I never really thought I could get to the point where I found someone so compatible with me to the point that I’d want to get married again and have more children. If I thought for a moment that I could possibly go through another divorce, then there’s no way I’d consider marriage again. Even more, I’d never consider having more children.
But in my wife, I’ve found a true partner for life. I know that it takes work to make a marriage work. But the starting point to a successful marriage is a commitment to love and honor each other “till death do us part.” And that’s what we’ve found in each other.
One thing that I haven’t previously shared with our readers is the fact that she is the engine that drives The Upbeat Dad blog. My greatest gift is writing. I love to write. It’s just natural to me. I try to write a blog post each day. Lately, because of my busy schedule, I have not written each post as timely as I’d like but the desire to write is always there.
Each day as I write the blog post, it’s my wife who takes what I’ve written and beautifies it. She edits my writing; then she adds pictures and tags to facilitate the process by which search engines find our posts. I generally give her basic instructions about what I’d like to see and she takes it from there. So I could never take the credit for the success of The Upbeat Dad. It’s a team effort and believe me, without her, it could not be as successful as it is.
In her I have found a true love – one who accepts me with my many flaws. I’m also thankful that she embraces my daughter – from my first marriage – as her own child. I was speaking with a colleague who married a gentleman who had kids previously. She said she doesn’t use the word “stepchildren” when referring to those kids. Instead she uses the term “bonus kids.”  I concur with that view. My daughter has a biological mother who loves her dearly. And she also has another mother – the one who married her father and absolutely adores her. That’s something that endears my wife to me more than I could possibly say.
Last August, our son was born. He has been a blessing to us in the 6 months since his birth. Our blended family has come together quite smoothly and for that I’m so thankful. It’s not always easy taking care of a newborn and a twelve year old. Sometimes we deal with homework and teachers conferences. Other times we deal with shots at the pediatrician’s office and running out to get more diapers. We’re on-call 24/7 but we love it! Being parents to these two kids is the thrill of our lives and we’d have it no other way.
I said to my wife this morning, “Two down – at least 48 to go!” And that’s the spirit to keep us going. I don’t know all that the future holds but I feel confident that we move forward together in a love that grows more beautiful each day. This is what life is all about – living and loving those who mean the world to you.
If you’re reading this post and you may not be in the best of situations presently, just be encouraged with these words that I share. It wasn’t too long ago that my life was a nightmare – dealing with divorce and the aftershock of that experience. My mom always says that time heals all wounds. And it has indeed. My reward is this family that I just treasure and adore. I hope the same for you as well. Afterall, if we have a loving family to come home to after facing all the challenges of each day, it makes it worthwhile in the end.
I hope for you and yours – especially your kids – nothing but the best in all things.
Enjoy yourself today.

The Upbeat Dad

Sunday, February 20, 2011

My Son’s First Word – Da Da!!

Today was no ordinary day for me! You see, today I heard my little 6 month old son say, “Da Da!” Now I know that may not seem like a big deal because, in truth and in fact, he probably didn’t know what it meant. He’s only 6 months old, afterall. But for me, it was priceless.
Yesterday when I was at the office, my wife called me and told me that he said it. I didn’t take her seriously. I thought she was trying to make me feel good, knowing that I work as hard as I do. But she said she wasn’t kidding – he actually said it. I had to hear it for myself.
Well today I heard it and it was special indeed. He said, “Da Da” while looking at me and believe me, I will never forget that moment. If you’ve read our blog for any length of time, you’ll know that I went through a divorce almost 10 years ago. My daughter was 3 years old at the time. I shared some of that experience in posts such as The Story Behind The Upbeat Dad and The Story of My Blended Family. My life came to a screaching halt with that divorce as everything seemed so wrong for such a long time.
To have come through that storm is a miracle in and of itself. But I made it through and lived to tell the tale. I have always dreamed of having a loving family –  a wife and children who I love and who love me. Unfortunately, my first go around with marriage wasn’t so successful.  But here we are so many years later. I’m happily remarried and my daughter lives with us. And the thrill of my life is that I now have a newborn son. A precious little angel is he.
My kids and my wife are my joy and pride. I love each of them with all of my heart – none more than the other. They each have all of me. When I heard my son say the special word, “Da Da,” that was worth it all to me. I just know that during the time that elapsed between hearing my daughter say the same words over 10 years ago and today, so much has transpired. So I could never take for granted just how special it is to me.
I wrote this post today to encourage others. My nightmare has turned into a sweet dream somehow. Still I know that for many, they’re presently living a nightmare. Their hearts are torn as they deal with the realities of life – of marriage, of divorce and separation. They’re dealing with situations that just seem impossible.
Let me encourage you with these words that you may have heard before: love conquers all. I don’t know how it works but I do know that it does. My love for my daughter kept me going through that tough and turbulent period. Now I add my love for my wife and son to the equation and indeed, I can attest to the fact that love does conquer all.
I hope that through posts such as this, persons all over the world will get a renewed sense of hope. Life does get better with time. The struggles that we have make us stronger. If you just hang in there, despite any challenge that you may presently face, you’ll make it just fine. Just make sure you shower your kids with unconditional love and the rest will work out for you.
Enjoy your day and just keep your head up today – that’s where the beauty of the sunshine comes from.

The Upbeat Dad