Saturday, March 12, 2011

Staying Connected with Your Family Even When You're Apart


Today's post is a really quick one. But I think it makes a powerful point. This past week was more hectic than I could tell you. It really was. On Friday afternoon I had to go home early because I just think exhaustion got the better of me. Rest, rest and more rest is what I needed more than anything.

Anyway, one thing that keep me going is that whenever I get voicemails from either of my parents, or my wife or daughter, I never delete them. It takes 45 messages to fill up my voicemail anyway. These messages get deleted automatically after 60 days so I just think it's good to have the voices of those who mean the most to me available 24/7/365.

When I'm exhausted or having a bad day - yes, the Upbeat Dad has bad days - I just call my voicemail and hear a warm, friendly greeting from my wife or daughter or my parents. My son is only 7 months so he's not leaving me messages just yet. But I can't tell you the "picker upper" that it is for me to hear those voices.

Another thing that I do is take pictures and videos of my wife and kids with my cell phone. That way, they're always with me. I can see my son trying to creep. I can see the family just doing its thing. My daughter's a talker like her dad. My wife is so lovingly tender as she cares for our son and brings him along. We have a really good thing going and it's great to capture those moments.

What am I saying in this? I encourage you to do those little things that remind you who is most important to you. For me, my reminders are voicemails, pictures and videos. For you, perhaps it's the same. Or maybe it's pictures of your family on your desk at the office. Whatever it may be, it's so important to keep our families at the forefront of our thoughts and minds.

Life is really beautiful and when you can celebrate it with the ones you love and who love you, there's never any distance even though you may be physically apart at different times.

I hope this has encouraged you to do something special to keep your loved ones in your minds at all times. We only live once so let's shower our loved ones with love and let them know they mean the world to us.

Enjoy your day.


The Upbeat Dad

 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Your Gift that Keeps on Giving!


Today's post is about the need that each of us has for self-actualization. We are most fulfilled when our lives are used in service to our fellow men. As we take this journey, let me give you a brief testimonial.

When I started The Upbeat Dad organization last October, I felt strongly that writing the blog would be a fulfilling experience. I had a message to share that I thought could impact the lives of people all around the world. I knew in general what I wanted to write about. The specifics would work themselves out along the way.

What I didn't know was that the blog would have taken off so quickly. We're now at a pace where we have over 1,000 hits each week. And as I always say, each hit represents a life that can be touched by our positive message.

Also, what I didn't know was that I'd have so much material that I could do a blog post each and everyday. I really thought that after a while, I'd end up repeating myself because there are only so many issues to write about concerning fatherhood - or so I thought.

These days, I'm so consumed with work as an accountant and writing the blog posts and planning the community forum and building relationships with colleagues, readers and others, that I don't write each post quite as timely as I'd like to. Besides, I'm a husband and father, so my 24 hour life is really consumed with activities.

But believe me when I say that there is no shortage of material to write about. Every day - literally ever day, I get new ideas to write about. I really don't go looking for them - they come to me. Sometimes it's as a result of me just thinking about life. Sometimes it's from something in the news. Sometimes it's from something a member of my household says or does.

Sometimes it's from talking with a member of my extended family or a friend. Maybe it's from someone who I'm speaking with for the first time. My point is that there's always some new message to share to encourage others, even if the nature of a subject matter isn't quite so positive.

This leads me to make a very important point. Please make note of this because it can literally change your life. Most persons want to make a positive impact on the world in some way, shape or form. We often don't know how we can be most effective - we only know that we want to make a difference.

Here's how you know that you're on to something big: when everything you do, think and say on the matter causes what you envision to expand. Let me repeat that: you know you're on to something big when everything you do, think and say on the matter causes what you envision to expand.

This is so profound that it can change your life. If you look throughout history at the lives of the great men and women who have shaped our world, you'll see clearly that a common thread connects each of them. Their work is much bigger than them.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died over 2 centuries ago, yet he's still celebrated today as one of the most brilliant musicians the world has ever known. Mother Theresa of Calcutta died in 1997 but today her work is synonymous with the sacrificial giving of one's life for the advancement of others. Martin Luther King died the year before I was born yet the dream about which he spoke still lives on today.

Each of these persons had a vision and as time passed, the vision came to fruition and lives on today, even after their deaths. Think of Walt Disney. He passed away so long ago, yet people from all over the world flock to Disney theme parks to be partakers of what was just a dream in his head decades ago. "I'm going to Disney World," is a familiar cry of professional athletes as they win championships in their sports.

What I'm saying with this post is that when you want to impact the world in a meaningful way, you'll see the tangible evidence that you're making an impact as you move along on your journey. Let me also quickly share this word of caution: it doesn't really happen overnight. More often than not, it takes years to come to fruition. But if you believe in your vision and feed it with positive thoughts along the way, in due time, it will come to pass. And when it does, it's like the floodgates open up for you. What seemed to take years to happen starts unfolding in minutes.

I first dreamed of making an impact on a global level in 1995. I got married in 1996. When that marriage failed in 2001, my world got turned upside down. Still, I wanted to share a positive message with the world. And today, 16 years after I first had the vision to make a difference globally, here we are: on a daily basis, people on every continent are being encouraged by this message. And believe me, the vision is unfolding minute by minute, day by day.

I want to encourage you to do the best and to be the best for yourself and for your family. We are all created to serve each other with our gifts and talents. No one is born without a purpose. However small or insignificant you think your gifts might be, each gift, when developed, can grow into something larger than what even you might be able to comprehend.

Oh and by the way, as your gift takes effect, it will compensate you and your family beyond your wildest dreams. Not simply by financial means but more with the fact that you're impacting the lives of others in a meaningful way. Money should never be a motivator for us to serve others. But in the process of serving others, in time, believe me, the money does come.

I hope that this post has lit a fire in you - one that leads you to accomplish great feats. And as you serve others, I hope that you will be rewarded not only financially but also with the satisfaction of knowing that through your efforts, the lives of others are enhanced. That's something to live for, right?

May your life's journey be filled with the fulfillment of knowing that your gifts will make a difference not only for today but for generations to come.

Enjoy your day.


The Upbeat Dad

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! No, it's Superdad!


I recently had a conversation with a friend who's a family law attorney. He spoke at our inaugural Upbeat Dad Community Forum that we had last month. As we spoke, as I often do, I took out my Blackberry to write down a potential topic for a blog post. The subject matter of our conversation was such that I thought I should share it with our readers. So here's that post.

He told me of the "Superdad" phenomenon in family law. "Superdad? What's that?" you might say? Well, here's what it's about.

In comic books and the movies, Superman is one of the more popular fictional characters. In everyday life, he's just a regular guy named Clark Kent. But when a heroic feat needs to be accomplished, the regular guy wearing regular clothes disappears for a moment and out comes as Superman, decked in a special outfit and cape for flying. He comes to save the day! Whether there's a person in a difficult situation or a natural disaster, Superman can do all things for all men when needed.

Now here's the relevance of all this to The Upbeat Dad. What the attorney told me was that all the time dads who are faced with the reality of divorce come into his office. As they begin the consultation to set the strategy for how they will seek to be successful in court, he asks the dads about their role in the marriage and in the household in general.

Many of the fathers present themselves as "Superdad". They take the kids to daycare and school. They take them to ball games, to the doctor and just about everywhere. In the household, they're attentive to the kids' every need. They cook, clean, help with homework and are just about everything a kid could hope for. They're Superdad!

Then come the attorney's questions:

Q: What's the name of the kids' doctor?
A: I don't know.

Q: What's the name of the kids' school teacher.
A: I don't remember.

Q: When was the last time you were at a conference with the kids' teacher?
A: Errrr, I don't remember - some time last year, I think.

Q: What are the names of your kids' friends!
A: Hmmm, let's see.

You kinda get the idea, right? In everyday life, these dads are Clark Kent. They go to work. They live their life. They hang out with the guys. They go to Happy Hour. Their wives are the backbone of the household - keeping things together while they do "guy things."

Then comes the reality of divorce - the legal ending of a relationship. Regular conversations are now less about fun and games and more about real serious issues - like division of assets, child support, alimony, custody, visitation/time-sharing. It's time to exchange the Clark Kent persona for Superdad. For a moment, in order to "save the day" he has to be what he really is not in everyday life.

You kinda see where I'm going with this? Clark Kent is the normal person. Superdad only becomes a reality for a time and season - long enough to get what he wants from a legal standpoint. Then it's back to the norm.

My challenge to fathers with this post is twofold. First, I'd like fathers to realize the very important role that they ought to play in their kid's lives. Superdad should be the norm - being involved in the daily responsibility of raising children. Second, when the reality of divorce is at hand, it may often be too late to save a marriage. But the role of parenthood is perpetual. One might be able to put on the Superdad persona and be successful in convincing those in the legal system that he is a great dad. But as the expression goes, the proof is in the pudding.

Our kids are precious. We should be their everyday heroes - Superdads, if you will. We cannot expect to put on an act for the purpose of getting what we want legally and then go back to being uninvolved in the things that mean the most to our kids. I often say that you express your love to your kids with a 4 letter word: T-I-M-E.

If you're a dad and this post has spoken to your heart and you know you need to make it right with your kids, I hope you'd make the necessary changes. If you really haven't been as involved in their lives as you should be, then regardless of how things may be in your relationship with your wife or the mother of your children, starting today, do make the conscious effort to do better as a dad. Forget what you haven't done in the past - that can't be erased. Turn over a new page and be for your kids what you ought to be.

I try to be positive in all things. This post is not meant to make anyone feel bad. I hope that it's a wake up call for those who need the message. The role of fatherhood is so important that each of us needs to be a permanent Superdad, not Clark Kent who becomes a hero for a moment and then goes back to life as usual.

Let's be the heroes that our kids can look up to. We can make a long-lasting, life-changing impact on them if we commit to being the best fathers possible.

Enjoy your day Superdad!


The Upbeat Dad

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Lesson from the Miami Heat’s Struggles for Families


Tonight my Miami Heat lost to the Portland Trailblazers. It was their 5th consecutive loss – with 3 of them coming in front of a national television audience. Their slump is quite untimely as it comes at the most critical time of the NBA season, when teams are jockeying for playoff position. As a fan, it’s quite disappointing to see what’s happening – our super team appears to be falling apart at the seams.

The season isn’t over yet – there’s still time to get the ship going in the right direction. But for now, it seems like we’ve got a long road ahead. The championship hopes that we Heat fans had coming into the season appears to be more of a figment of our imagination than anything.
“What does this have to do with the Upbeat Dad?” you might ask. Read on - you'll see in a moment. Last summer at the height of the free agency period, the team was on cloud 9 as free agents Lebron James and Chris Bosh signed with the team to join Dwyane Wade to form a super team – the dynamic trio, if you will. Wade and James are arguably 2 of the top 3 or 4 players in the league and Bosh is possibly in the top 10 or 15. So there was little doubt to analysts that this team was going to simply come together and dominate.
Reality has revealed something quite contrary to the expectations of many. The rest of the league took notice of their premature celebration in Miami this summer when Bosh and James signed. And since then, the Heat has been a marked team – villains, of sorts. It is still quite possible that the dynamic trio will win the many championships that they came together to win. But it’s clearly going to take much more effort than they originally thought.
Now here’s what this has to do with The Upbeat Dad. Every day, all over the world, people get together to start relationships. Some end up at the altar in marriage. Some produce children. But whatever results, people enter relationships to live happily ever after.
But then comes reality – living together, paying bills, dealing with each others’ moods, raising kids and just living the day to day life. “Happily ever after” is not how many of these stories turn out. It takes much hard work to make these relationships successful.
Fortunately, many couples are able to work through the kinks, for lack of a better term, and are able to make a beautiful life together. They have kids and do live happily ever after. Others are able to work out their differences with the help of family and friends or professionals, such as marriage counselors. Then others, despite their best efforts, are not able to reconcile their differences. These relationships end in disappointment. And especially when kids are involved, it can be quite challenging.
Sometimes what we see in reality is quite different from what we envision. Still, because we want to succeed in our relationships, I think we should look to make the best of each situation that arises. It would be quite hasty if the Heat should look to trade James or Bosh or even Wade during their first season together, just because it’s taking them some time to develop the championship form that’s expected.
In like manner, it would be quite hasty to get into a marriage and then decide to throw in the towel because the reality of being in the relationship isn’t quite as simple as originally thought. Particularly when kids are involved, I think our relationships are worth fighting for. We don’t quit simply because we’re faced with adversity. Instead we should face the adversity head on and make the best of the situation.
I hope that you’re able to draw a parallel between the simple sport of basketball and the real life situations that we all deal with each day. Who knows just what the Miami Heat will accomplish with their three stars? They’re working out the kinks as best as they can. That’s their work to do.
In our homes we have much more control. We can make the changes necessary to make our relationships work. We can change the ways that we react to the difficult situations that arise at times. We can change our approach to resolving conflict. We can work together to raise our kids to become happy, well-adjusted young people.
Let this post encourage you to do what you need to do to ensure that things in your home are what they ought to be.  And when all is said and done, you’ll raise a family of champions.
All the best to you and yours.

The Upbeat Dad

Monday, March 7, 2011

Embracing the Promise of Today!

As you get going on a new week, here’s a quick jolt in the arm to keep you going. You’ve rested and had a ball with your family this weekend; now it’s time to get back to work so that you and your family can live the life you dream about.
My poem Today encourages us to embrace each opportunity that life gives everytime the sun comes up. If we would only think of making the most of each day, then our lives would be so much greater. I hope that these thoughts will inspire you:
Today
By Rodrick Walters

Why wait till tomorrow to make it?
Why not now?  The day is not done,
There’s no better time than this moment,
Don’t wait for tomorrow to come;

There’s no better time than the present,
To get all your plans right on track,
Time never keeps still, it keeps going,
This moment will never come back;

Today is your day you must take it,
Make hay in the shining sun,
Tomorrow's a day that's not promised,
Today's when your victory is won;

You're gifted much more than you know it,
Great things now lie dormant within,
Today you will see the great blessings,
Your gifts and your talents will bring;

Today is your prize, won’t you take it,
Your present in more ways than one,
No question, no doubt, you will make it,
Today’s when your victory’s won.


Make it a great week!
The Upbeat Dad

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Eagle


Today’s post is just a quick note of inspiration. The majestic bird, the eagle, is filled with many practical lessons for you and me. You may hear of a flock of seagulls but you never hear of a flock of eagles. Why? Because the eagle flies alone – it doesn’t conform to the pattern of others but rather it charts its own course and determines its destiny.

My poem The Eagle gives us a glimpse into the life of this bird. As you read it, I hope that it enlightens you and helps you to embrace your individuality.

By Rodrick Walters

If birds of a feather flock together
Then why does the eagle roam?
For whether in calm or stormy weather
The eagle flies always alone

On his own the mighty eagle flies
He soars to heights unknown
Alone he sees the vast blue skies
The world is all his own

His vision is much sharper than
Any other bird of prey’s
From miles away the eagle can
See nature on full display

The eagle can renew his strength
By changing his feathers and beak
Instinctively he knows to shed
The parts that make him weak


A lesson to humanity
The eagle teaches well
More than a symbol of liberty
He has a story to tell

While others fit in with the crowd
On your own course embark
While others sit you must stand proud
If you wish to make your mark

With the mighty eagle’s vision keen
Stay focused on your goal
For you can realize your dreams
They’re under your control

When it seems all hope has gone away
And you need your strength renewed
Just like this awesome bird of prey
Learn how to start anew

Then fly above on eagle’s wings
Fly on and reach new heights
For each man has a song to sing
And dreams to put to flight.

You’ve got greatness within you and that greatness can only be maximized when you embrace your individuality. I hope that by observing the life of this great bird of prey, you can will see how you can soar to true greatness.  So fly like an eagle and reach great heights for yourself and your family.


The Upbeat Dad