Monday, June 22, 2015

You Can't By Yourself. Reflections from The Airport

I missed my flight.  I MISSED MY FLIGHT!�� With unsuccessful standbies and an overnight airport stay, it turned out to be a major headache, but also a wonderful time of reflection. I was reminded that I can't do what I do as a man (father, leader, deacon, teacher, and whatever other 'titles' I have) without help and direction. I re-realized this watching airplanes.

I sat in a terminal window with the morning sun beaming through (so I could warm up) watching planes prep for takeoff.  There was a lot happening for it to be a successful flight. There were trucks moving back and forth on the ground giving planes whatever they give them. I saw food trucks distributing food. There were trucks hauling luggage to and from the plane. What really got me thinking were the trucks that push the planes from the terminal to the strip. There was a long metal guiding pole that didn't bend or flex extending from the truck to the plane. And it guided the plane out. There were also grounds crew informing pilots when it was safe to begin riding out to the strip. (Dads, stay with me here).

My question to you and me is how successful do you think that plane and flight would be without all those elements running together in tandem? Lets deepen the question: How many people do I allow to really help me be my best (add title)? I truly believe it's silly for a man to think that he can do it on his own. There's a great scripture that says, 'Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble. (Proverbs 13:20 NLT)'. It also says, 'The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice. (Proverbs 12:15 NIV)'. Personally, I need true men in my life who are willing to give me guidance. I also need those real dudes who are willing and able to tell me the real truth about me without bending. Willing to be strong with their guidance, just like the truck and guiding pole that leads the plane out. I am that plane, but realizing that there are so many crucial elements that help me soar. 

I want to soar and I need help to do that. I'm NOS.

Questions to consider:
1. Who's in your life?
2. What men are in your life? (Yes, I know there are ladies who are reading this).
3. Can you call these men your real friends? What evidence shows it?

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Chance the Rapper, 3 Teens, & the Turnpike

My wife & I had the h��n��r of taking my oldest and two friends to a week long summer camp in Pennsylvania. We were driving the Turnpike from the Boogie Down, New York after dropping my youngest to his grandmother's for a week. It felt like I had been driving all day; we drove from Maryland to Pennsylvania to pick up our youngest from camp. From there we drove 
The Turnpike to New York to drop him off, saw family, got a pie (pizza) and then headed back on the Turnpike with its escalating tolls to Pennsylvania. I was pathetically busted after all the driving. The sun has gone down and we had to head back to PA. Did I say I was busted? Well, these three energetic boys ensured that I wouldn't go to sleep. 

I'm flipping through stations trying to find some decent music that all of us could listen to. A song here and a song there popped up, but nothing consistent. Then my oldest says, "Dad, can I put on my music?" WARNING! DANGER! DANGER! WARNING! Loud, blaring music with pointless content being prepared for sound distribution. Granted, he doesn't listen to a whole lot of trash music, but...

So I plug his phone up, which seems to have about 4,276 songs on it. And Chance the Rapper comes on. Yes, that name is correct. I have yet to figure out WHAT he talks about in his music, although at times it's hilarious.  And the boys start groovin (wait, groovin is too mild- let's try unrestrained motion dancing ��) in the back seat. My car was shaking back and forth as their bobbing not just their heads, but bodies, completely jacking up my average mpg's. And the boys begin to sing and rap with the music.  They sounded like some old drunkards who had too much (not alcohol) Kool-Aid singing lyrics to his music. This lasted for about an hour. An HOUR! My wife told me she got a headache. I began anticipating a moment of silence just to hear that little ring in the back of your head when it goes from excruciating noise to nothing. That ring never came. They were having a blast while I was helpless and in a way, hopeless. 

Who am I kidding? I think a lot of the music my boys listen to is crazy just like my parents thought mine (and yours) was senseless. It probably was the same case with their parents. I can remember conversations from my dad about how he thought rap music was some trash when it was just starting to become popular (did I age myself right there?). I just need to know what they listen to, try to keep in step with it, and keep it moving. 

I'm listening to their music with NOS...

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Money Wisdom

So he finally turned 16. A monumental age no doubt. There are so many lessons to be learned during this pivotal year, especially as we prep him for college. One of the first lessons that we need to teach is how to handle money. If you're reading this and you were in college, you can remember the hundreds of Visa & American Express offers you received before you made it to your dorm room. And don't forget the many banks luring you in trying to give you free checking. 

So here's a sure fire way I believe you can prepare your child on how to handle money: by you handling it well yourself. This is also known as modeling. There was a PSA commercial in the late 80's or early 90's where a boy was smoking. The dad walks in and asks the boy where he learned to do that. The boy responded, "From you dad. I learned it by watching you."  I'm amazed at how much our children mimic the things we do.  So give them something positive to mimic. 

I could write so much more on this, but I'd appreciate hearing how you're showing you're children positive money habits. I'm open to learn. Besides, I'm NOS...