Must See TV (or Web Streaming): Black In Latin America

The series began in April 2011 and our family has been catching up on episodes over the last few weeks. Henry Louis Gates Jr. does a phenomenal job exploring the lives of African descendants in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Brazil, Mexico and Peru. Every story goes into the history of how Africans arrived in that country and why those descendants are in the economical and cultural condition they are in today.

Does your family need to watch?

Do YOU need to watch?

Ask yourself and your children a few of the following questions and decide:

– What does my family know about the Trans-Atlantic slave trade?

– Was the United States the only country that imported African slaves?

– If not, did the United States import the most African slaves?

– Why is Haiti so poor?

– Why does baseball bring players from the Dominican Republic and not Haiti when they are right next to each other geographically?

– Why does the United States not have a good relationship with Cuba?

– Why do Brazilians speak Portuguese?

– Why does Brazil consider itself free of racism but not the United States?

– If you are considered an African-American in the United States because of your dark skin, what is someone from Mexico considered if they look just like me?

– If they are considered different, why, and how did it get that way?

There is so much more that can be asked as those only scratch the surface!

Ironically, American’s often speak of the necessity of knowing a second language like so many other nations around the world. However, American’s often want to learn a country’s language in a vacuum, without learning about the country’s culture, it’s people or the history.

Then again, American’s tend to have selective amnesia when it comes to its own history, so I’m really not surprised.

What Do Reggie Jackson and My Father Have In Common?

Today, Mr. October Reggie Jackson turned 65 years old. My dad recently turned nearly the same age at almost the same time. Reggie Jackson is a lover of muscle cars, my dad is as well. Reggie Jackson’s public persona seems extremely complex. Well, my dad’s public and private personas are complex as well. Reggie seemed to be one who did not believe in turning the other cheek. My dad’s advice to me was always throw the first punch because you don’t know if he’ll lay you out with his first blow. Reggie was born in Pennsylvania, my dad’s relatives are in Pennsylvania (okay, that one’s a stretch but I still counted it as a kid!).

But there is one glaring difference between the two men. Reggie made his fame and fortune from baseball and my dad hated sports. He made his fame at home and his fortune in the plant. Both men got dirty and worked with their hands, but in two very different ways.

Yet, had it not been for my father, I never would have looked up to “the straw that stirs the drink” (and Reggie did not mean that the way the reporter told it by the way).

Despite the fact that my dad never liked sports, he never discouraged my passion for baseball. As a matter of fact, two things he taught me early on that I’ve carried for over 30 years:

1.) Do not cheer for the home team, because they are losers.

2.) Look at Reggie, and how he handles himself, and that’s how you must handle yourself in this world.

 Dad knew the impact the ‘hood could have had on me. While we weren’t exactly living in the projects, many of the problems of the projects existed, just in a cleaner neighborhood. Selling drugs, or what we called “rollin'”, was still the fastest way for a kid to make a lot of money and have a lot of girls fast. Shootings across the street from our house were common along with break-ins, car theft, and fighting. Thankfully, we also had many parents working solid middle-class jobs to always keep the neighborhood a float. Since they weren’t allowed to move into traditional white suburbs, they were forced to stay in their own community so in many ways, it benefited us all as a whole.

What we also had commercially, was a lack of black athletes on television when they were not on the field. But when dad saw how Reggie mastered the King’s English and commanded respect for his knowledge of the game and demeanor, he was wise to tell me to observe. Reggie often commentated for ABC in the ’70s and ’80s if the Yankees were out of the playoffs.

Little did I know at that time that one day I would have to at least know many of the rules of the King’s English as well when I grew up. I would also have to not be the “typical nigga or black guy” that many of my colleagues would expect me to be, just like Reggie. I would have to talk a certain way at job interviews, avoid being labeled and yet stand up for myself and prove that I deserved to be in that class or office and not because of Affirmative Action. At the same time, I would have to be just as complex, for people in America have a hard time understanding how you can be pro-black and yet marry someone of a different race. I’m sure Reggie ran into this as to some black folks, Reggie was a sell-out with his proper talking, candy bars, and white girls. But Reggie seemed to always make sure that he represented himself and the black community well. He spoke out about teams that did not have enough black players and even advised former teammate Willie Randolph not to take the Detroit Tiger job. They were the worst of the worst in Major League baseball. Reggie threw out the question the black community always asks, “Why do we only get the job/call/White House when things cannot get any worse? That’s just setting us up to fail!”

I can’t say I idolized Reggie. The man never put food on my table, but he did wave at me when I yelled his name at a California Angels game…he did…really! I’ve memorized many of his stats, read his autobiography, visited the Baseball Hall of Fame to have my picture taken with his bust, and even named one of my kids after him. But my fascination with Mr. Jackson was never about him, but about what he represented. He was a man of class, determination, dependable, clutch-performer, and he danced to the beat of his own drum all the while paying homage to those like Robinson, Aaron, and Mays that bought the drum.

Overall, the man was much like my father.

So dad, who are you allowing to influence your son? Is it a street pimp, a corporate pimp, a drug-dealer, or a prescription drug-dealer? Do those people reflect the values that you want your son to have or the values that you have or at least want to have?

Understand this, somebody and something will influence your boys. You better take advantage of the time that you have to determine what kind of influence that will be. I’m glad my dad had the insight to do that when I was younger. While I’m no where near the man that I wanted to be, I’m no where near the man I could have been.

Happy Birthday Dad and Mr. October!

…just 15 Minutes: “Play Ball!” Style

Finally, a couple of back-to-back warm and rain-free days allowed me and the boys to get out and throw the baseball around. Now we’ve gone out a few times already this year, but now it’s finally beginning to feel like baseball season.

For nearly 10 years, I played in the typical softball league and then I even decided to see if I still “had it” and play hardball. It was good to face real pitching and play with guys who took the game seriously (too seriously sometimes). Then I broke my hand and was forced to spend the next six months in a cast and a sling. I could not play with my kids the entire summer besides running and I officially retired like Barry Sanders. My wife doubted my retirement like Juanita Jordan, but I’m yet to step on the field again. Why, because I now have my own team to play with. A team that needs me more than any other. Not being able to be a Five-Tool Dad (run, throw, catch, hit, and teach), was too much for me and something I never want to experience again.

I am so impressed with the progress my six and twelve-year old sons have made. The elder has played baseball for six years, but the sport seems to be taking on more meaning for him, especially as he reads through a biography on Willie Mays. Recently, he drew me a picture of us playing ball together and labeled the ball park as the Polo Grounds. Now, there aren’t many kids today who even know who Willie Mays is, let alone what the Polo Grounds represent!

My six-year old, aka Big Homie, is showing the quick hands of an infielder and can throw with a little sizzle as well. This is a 180-degree turn from the boy that was scared of the ball just a year ago and threw like Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn. 

That’s one of the greatest parts of being a CornerstoneDad. Being there and assisting our children doing things that let us know they are “growing up”. Sure, mom keeps the teeth, hair from the first cut, and remembers the first step. But dad remembers that first game, keeps that first glove and that first model car.

Right now, I really don’t need “the fellas” to play ball with or other people to do something I enjoy. I can do it with my own boys (and my girls as I was out cruising with my 5 year old daughter the night before) as they can now throw hard and play hard. They are even able to heckle me when I make an error out in the field. Wow, these boys are learning fast. Dad does tend to crank-up his sweet-o-meter quite a bit when the ball comes his way, so the criticism is well deserved I guess.

I’ve also learned that I don’t have to spend all day outside playing with the kids, but if I can continue with starting with just 15 minutes of playing catch, throwing the ball around, or even giving occasional instruction if necessary, the payoff is immediate and appreciated. Just remember CornerstoneDad, 15 minutes is where you start. (See: http://cornerstonedad.com/2010/11/21/just-15-minutes/)

Whenever we leave the park, my 12 year old is always quick to say, “Thank you for taking us dad.” I often respond, “Thank you for going.”

Little does he know, I am the one who is far more appreciative as I have a more finite idea of time than he does.  Sons, I thank you, and will do all I can to remain on the field of play as long as I can with you.

How about you CornerstoneDad? What is the spring activity you remember learning/playing with your dad? Are you still able to play with them today?  What do you enjoy playing with your children this time of year? I’d love to hear about your experiences.

Tips On How to Wash Your Car for CornerstoneDads and CornerstoneKids

The weather in my area finally hit a temperature where a person would feel guilty if they were not outside doing something. Many people take this time to actually clean and wash their car as they are good about getting the dirt and salt off during the winter, but a car may run around quite dirty during spring as after all, “Why wash the car since it’s going to rain anyway?”

Now for my family, the kids know the deal. When I go to the coin car wash, wax the van (hey, the minivan needs love too!), or even clay bar the van, they jump out and ask if they can help. Those little hands help indeed, as it often cuts my time in half and when they have done it often enough, they get pretty good at their assigned responsibilities. “Big Homie, knock out the wheels…Boney, get around the edges of the door…”. Ahhh…it’s good to have eager labor.

The boys in my family continue the tradition started by my father: you always need to drive a clean car. We will even wash a rental car. Not because we are trying to make it look like our own, but because we do not want to be seen in a dirty ride! This is yet another lesson that I’m passing on to my children. It teaches them good stewardship of the things they have in their possession, even if they have to give it back to someone else.

I must say, the ultimate is when we wash and clean the car, and jump in to cruise on a Friday or Saturday night. Oh, that’s quality family-time right there!

This article posted by Consumer Reports offers some tips on how to take care of that investment (or two) that’s sitting in your driveway.

Do’s and don’ts of washing your car

FAQs on the do-it-yourself car wash

For many vehicle owners, the weekend act of washing a car by hand is a therapeutic act as beneficial for the person’s state of mind as to the vehicle’s appearance. That’s good, because frequent washing is also the best way to maintain a new-car finish. But as simple as washing your car may seem, there are some things to watch for so that you don’t accidentally scratch or degrade the finish. Here are some basic car-washing tips.

When should I wash the car?

Don’t… wait for a layer of crud to accumulate before washing. Dead bugs, bird droppings, and chemicals from the atmosphere all leach acids that can strip away wax and eventually eat into your car’s paint. If left too long, they can cause damage that requires sanding and repainting the area to correct.

Do… wash off dead bugs, bird droppings, and tree-sap mist as soon as possible. Other than this, a weekly car wash will keep the finish in its best shape. In addition, if you live in an area that suffers from acid rain, rinse your vehicle off after a period of rainy weather. Otherwise, acidic chemicals in the rainwater will be left on the surface after the droplets have evaporated, leaving a mark that can permanently mar the paint.

What kind of products should I use?

Don’t… use household cleaning agents like hand soap, dishwashing detergent, or glass cleaner on the paint. These aren’t formulated for use on a car’s paint and may strip off the protective wax.

Do… use a dedicated car-wash product, which is milder and specifically designed for use on automotive paint. Apply the suds with a large, soft natural sponge or a lamb’s-wool mitt. See our car wax report for tips and advice on all types of waxes.

Grease, rubber, and road-tar deposits picked up from the road often accumulate around the wheel wells and along the lower edge of the body. These can be stubborn to remove and may require a stronger product, such as a bug-and-tar remover. Use a soft, nonabrasive cloth to remove these deposits, as they can quickly blacken your sponge.

Use a separate sponge to clean the wheels and tires, which may be coated with sand, brake dust, and other debris that could mar the car’s finish. Mild soap and water may work here; if not, a dedicated wheel cleaner may be required. Be sure the cleaner is compatible with the type of finish (paint, clear-coat, chrome, etc.) used on the wheels. A strong formula intended for mag wheels, for instance, can damage the clear coat that’s used on the wheels that come on today’s cars. To be on the safe side, choose a cleaner that’s labeled as safe for use on all wheels.

Are there any general guidelines I should follow when washing a car?

Don’t… wash your car when the body is hot, such as immediately after driving it or after it has been parked in direct sunlight for awhile. Heat speeds the drying of soap and water, making washing more difficult and increasing the chances that spots or deposits will form.

Don’t move the sponge in circles. This can create light, but noticeable scratches called swirl marks. Instead, move the sponge lengthwise across the hood and other body panels. And don’t continue using a sponge that’s dropped on the ground without thoroughly rinsing it out. The sponge can pick up dirt particles that can scratch the paint.

Do… rinse all surfaces thoroughly with water before you begin washing to remove loose dirt and debris that could cause scratching. Once you begin, concentrate on one section at a time, washing and rinsing each area completely before moving on to the next one. This ensures that you have plenty of time to rinse before the soap dries. Start at the top, and then work your way around the car.

Work the car-wash solution into a lather with plenty of suds that provide lots of lubrication on the paint surface. And rinse the sponge often. Using a separate bucket to rinse the sponge keeps dirt from getting mixed into the sudsy wash water.

When rinsing, use a hose without a nozzle and let the water flow over the car from top to bottom. This creates a sheeting action that helps minimize pooling of water.

How should I dry the car when I’m done?

Don’t… let the car air dry, and don’t expect a drive around the block to do an effective job. Either will leave watermarks, which in areas with hard water are the minerals left after evaporation. In addition, don’t use an abrasive towel or other material that can leave hairline scratches in the paint.

Do… use a chamois (natural or synthetic) or soft terry towels. If you choose towels, you may need several. It’s best to blot the water up instead of dragging the towel or chamois over the paint. The drying process can be speeded up by using a soft squeegee to remove most of the water on the body, but be sure the rubber is pliable and that it doesn’t pick up bits of dirt that can cause scratches.

Source: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/new-cars/news/2005/dos-and-donts-of-washing-your-car-1205/overview/index.htm

 

Video of how to wash your car:

Source: Youtube

D-Wade, Who Did You Call A Hero?

Today I just so happened to catch a story on Dwyane Wade on ESPN’s E60 program. It seemed like a feel-good story about how Wade’s mother, who was addicted to drugs much of Wade’s life, has now made a recovery and re-established her relationship with her son. ESPN reported that Wade grew up in Chicago, protected and reared by his older sister, while his mother used and sold drugs from the family dwelling. After doing various stints in prison, Wade’s mom later got off drugs, became a minister, and was even called a “hero” by her son Dwyane.

Usually in stories like this, I often ask, “Now where was the father?” Sadly, it’s more of a rhetorical question, as I often know the answer. However, in this case, dad was around according to ESPN and Wade. “D-Wade’s” dad was interviewed in the story and had wanted his son to live with him early on as he knew of the things going on in his “baby-mama’s” household. Wade Sr. and Jolinda had divorced when Wade Jr. was a boy. As the boy was becoming a man, Wade Sr.’s son came to live with him with the agreement of his mother Jolinda.

Now, all I know about the life of these three people is what they and ESPN shared in this short piece. But I was left asking, “Should’ve his dad been his hero? Why was the story not about his father, who was now remarried with a family of his own, and how he brought his son home and raised him into a man despite the things he saw his mother do in front of his very eyes?” It seems that the only time the word “hero” should have been used in this story would have been to refer to his dad, not his mother.

This is to not take away from the progress that his mother Jolinda has made in her life. But all too often, even when men do the “right thing”, it really is “no thing” to our society. I dare say, that if D-Wade’s father would have been a drug addict until his college career, the outcome of this story would have been very different. We’ve all heard it before…the “that man was nothing but a sperm donor who didn’t step-up to the plate” or “he didn’t make me the man I am today, my mother was both the mom and dad in my house”. At last report, Shaquille O’Neal’s father was the one addicted to drugs and prison when he was a child, and the two still do not have a relationship to this day.

 

So until I hear otherwise, I want to give a shout of honor to Dwyane Wade Sr., because somebody needs to give him some credit. Not because his son went on to dribble a basketball well and make shots with the sweet-o-meter cranked to high. But because he stepped in to raise a son who would later be a father, a father that would later fight for his own two children in a bitter divorce custody dispute. (See: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/truehoop/miamiheat/news/story?id=6212517&campaign=rss&source=NBAHeadlines)

Sometimes fathers can teach you much more than how to play sports, but how to be a CornerstoneDad. Sometimes they teach you how to fight for your kids, instead of how to just fight in the street.

Here’s to hoping to hear more about Dwyane Wade Sr. from Dwyane Wade Jr. and the rest of the media.

Perhaps the story below should have been called, The Good Dad:

Should the Government Have the Right to Take Your Child?

The Parental Rights Amendment has been consistently coming up and I decided to look more into it to see it was just another political overreaction or if the issue actually has legs. Well, it may have legs larger than Arnold’s, as there does seem to be enough reason to be concerned. After hearing of this story in Detroit, MI, I figured it was time to get a post going. A Detroit woman shot at a Child Protective Service worker and police escort, as they were there to take the child because they did not feel she was getting the child adequate medical attention.

You can read the details here: http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2011/03/25/tense-stand-off-in-police-situation/

While I am NOT endorsing the mother’s actions without knowing all of the facts, I will say that it raises my eyebrows. A loving parent, could have their child taken, if the government does not feel they are acting in the best interest of the child. While this isn’t completely new, the current “courting” between the U.S. and the U.N. could give the government even more power, and the parents less. You see, if the United States adopted the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child treaty for this country, it could be used as law for all parents in the United States.

So what you say?

Well, remember it would only take a court decision using this treaty to back its decision, to set precedent for other court decisions. According to some, some judges are already beginning to refer to this treaty in their court decisions.

So what you say?

If you are a homeschooling parent, you already are aware of the fact that the government could take away this right if they were to deem homeschooling as unfit for your children.

If your child has been diagnosed as having some disorder (e.g. ADHD) and the school feels that it is in the best interest of your child to be put on medications that you do not approve of, what would you do? You would like to seek an alternative, but what would you do if it gets noted that you refused treatment and you were not looking out for the best interest of your child?

I personally know of a case where a family decided that the cancer treatment their loved one was receiving was just too much to bare. They sought alternative forms of therapy, much of which is not “approved” by Western doctors. Had this been their child instead of an adult, they’d like been jailed if the doctor did not approve of the outside medical attention.

You can read more about the issue and efforts to get the Constitution amended at: http://www.parentalrights.org/

There was a documentary on the issue that was aired on various networks in early March, the trailer is below.

Take a look at the issue for yourself and decide, is this something we should fear or embrace as a parent?

 

“Walking With The Kids”

 

The weather in my area of the United States is finally consistently staying above the freezing mark. I cheer up not only because of the longer days with the sunlight that not only brightens my home but my mood as well, but because I have to opportunity to walk with my kids.

When my first son was born, there was a B-side song that I loved by Huey Lewis called Walking With the Kid. I must honestly confess that the song would hit me emotionally, as I was a non-custodial young father just trying to learn what it was to be a man, let alone a dad to this baby. But the song summarized perfectly the feeling that I had, trying not to be a deadbeat dad like so many around me, yet struggling financially and physically with so-called joint visitation. My time and my physical presence was about all I felt I could give. So Walking With the Kid became our unofficial anthem. I’m sure to this day he has no idea about the song and would probably cringe if he heard it, but I still bounce to it two decades later.

Now, I might have to call the song, Walking With the Kids, as I greatly enjoy the chance to go home and walk with one of the children. It’s an easy way to get Just 15 Minutes with them individually, to find out what’s going on in their world, and to explain my world to them. So far I’ve noticed a difference in the walks already this year, as my nine year old daughter contributes so much more to the conversation and even asks questions. My 11 year old son looks forward to our trips and (in typical guy fashion) takes pride if we run for a few minutes and he can hang right there with me shoulder-to-shoulder. One day soon, he’ll realize it’s not that big of an accomplishment because dad’s not good at running.

Of course, the improvement in health from the exercise is just a side benefit. Our kids need to be taught to move in the 21st century. As one comedian said, when my parents told me to “go play”, I knew that meant to head outside and find something to do. If we say, “Go play” to our children today, they’ll look at us bewildered and ask, “Play what? The Xbox?”

If you have the opportunity to go and walk with your kids, please take the time to do so. Start with once per week, and increase the days as you go along. One day, you may not be able to walk with them or they will not be around or have the time to walk with you. The time you do not take in the present, cannot be saved for the future. Invest and plant while the soil, their hearts and minds, are fertile.

Huey Lewis Walking With The Kid Lyrics

We’re going out on Sunday Afternoon
We’re gonna show the world what were made of
Me & my buddy will be dressed to kill

We’ll cruise to the playgroung & the park
Gonna fool aroung ’til it gets dark
If you think we’ll have some fun well you know we will
All of oursecrets
You know we’re gonna keep ’em hid
When we get home they’ll wanna know
Everything we did

Walking with the kid
Walking with the kid

We’re known around the neighborhood
Yeah we got a real reputation
The bad guys all respect us ’cause we’re family

We’re not afraid of anything at all
Cause we can handle any situation
If my partner gets in trouble well it’s up to me
All our friends are envious
Though they’ll never let it show
Sure enough later on
Everyone’s just gotta know
What we were
What we did

Walking with the kid
Walking with the kid

Walking, talking one on one
Walking, walking with my son

Super Bowl Edition of: “What Did Boney Say?”

Any mention of the Super Bowl, deserves a picture of the 1985 Bears!

My two boys love football and because of this, we did’t have the heart to make them go to bed early on Super Bowl Sunday.

The girls on the other hand…well, they just want to stay up to get the boys in trouble, forcing me and mom to send everyone to bed.

But Boney catches on fast.

It’s her bedtime and my wife says, “Come on, lets get ready for bed.”

Boney: No I want to stay up and watch football!

Mom: You don’t care about football.

Boney: But mommy, I do care about football.

Mom: You do? Who’s playing?

Boney: Nobody, but I’ll watch them!

Somehow I’d bet she has a better chance of picking the winner than I would…

“Junior Raising Junior” – The Cycle of Teenage Fatherhood

While 13 sounds young enough to make headlines, in many areas of this country, that would not seem too surprising...even less if it's a 13 year old girl!

We often talk about generations of “babies raising babies” in the context of a young mother raising a baby, who later becomes a teenage mom herself. However, what about “junior raising junior”, as in a young father raising a son, who becomes a teenage-father?

An article published at the Yale Office of Public Affairs & Communications (http://opac.yale.edu/news/article.aspx?id=7208) reports that the Yale School of Public Health found sons of adolescent fathers are nearly twice as likely to perpetuate the cycle of young parenthood and become teenage dads themselves. While the deleterious effects of teenage motherhood are well studied, often talked about and greatly feared, teenage-fatherhood if often viewed from a much different perspective. However, like teenage-motherhood, the decision to become a father unleashes challenges for both the father and the child.

Those on the outside looking in often ask, “How could this happen? Did the child not learn the lesson watching the struggles of the parent?”

The article gives some indication as to why the cycle continues. ““The mechanism of this intergenerational cycle remains unclear. However, research suggests that parents are a major factor in shaping adolescent attitudes and often communicate their values and expectations through their behavior,” Sipsma said.”

In other words young dad, your actions speak louder than your words.

In upcoming posts we will explore how to be a Teenage CornerstoneDad. It can be done, it is possible and I am a testimony to this fact. I became a father at 19 years old, while working a “deadend” job and still living with my parents. Suffice to say, it cost me far more than I would have ever imagined.

It will cost you far more than what you or any around you can imagine as well. Understand that I am not just talking about money. But, financially you will pay an enormous price as well.

We will also focus on the possibility of a tremendous payoff. This could be the opportunity of a lifetime for you to step up and be the man that you needed to learn how to be, albeit a bit early and before marriage.

If you are a teenage or even a single-father in your early 20’s, I would like to hear from you. Feel free to post your story in the comments section.

 

CornerstoneDad’s Greatest Day Ever

Can a cold winter day feel like a beautiful California day?

Well, when kids experience something great in their lives, they often say, “Today was the greatest day ever!” I think CornerstoneDad’s should say the same thing when they take care of business and do something that they know will impact their kid’s life, even if the child does not know it yet.

Today, my “greatest day ever” or GDE, was spent with my 11 year-old son. Since this week at work is rather slow in the office and I only planned to work part of the day there, I figured it would be a great time to take him with me.

On the way to work, we chatted about the importance of loving your work, so you will never have to “work” a day in your life. I let him know that dad is not there yet and probably will not ever get there at his current job. Yet, I am very fortunate to have the job I have as well as some great managers. But I know my God-given talents are not best utilized at this point and even at his age now, he can begin to take notice of the skills God has equipped him with that will allow him to add value just by being himself.

Did you ever notice even in Hollywood, the kids generally grow up to be an extension of the characteristics that the show writers had in them as a little child?

Do you really think Michael Evans did not at least become a lawyer when he grew up?

Many of us lose the script or just move to a sitcom with poor ratings instead of being what the Master Writer designed us to be in the first place.

"We should have just stayed on Three's Company!"

Time was spent meeting my colleagues and I had him brainstorm ideas for creating his own blog. I felt it was extremely important for him to utilize the quiet time that he never gets to enjoy, as his time and space are always being shared with his other siblings when at home. Before leaving to attend my meeting, we called my dad and they had a moment to catch up on things, something I encourage my son to do often.

Get the old school wisdom while it is here, because one day you, or the wisdom, may be gone.

My manager said that my son would be more than welcome to sit in on the meeting and later my son did join in and sit in the back. During this time he got to see how my company does business with a client who works for a major American company, but he is Japanese. A true demonstration of our global world, diversity in the workplace, and why it is important to be at least be proficient in the “King’s English”.

After our time at work, we headed for the movie theater to check out Tron 3D. There aren’t many action filled PG-movies out there, as thrillers like Transformers and GI Joe are getting closer to R-rated flicks than something you can take your boys (or girls if they like action) to see at the local “overcharge-o-plex” theater. Just like dad, my son looked at his watch and asked, “Why is the movie starting at 2 o’clock when it was supposed to start at 1:30?”

Yea, my thoughts exactly kid.

What was the highlight of my son’s day? Seeing dad with dual-monitors! But 10+ years from now, whether I’m here or not, I think he will benefit seeing dad at work, understanding more of the business world, and of course being the center of attention for much of the day. I remember only a few times visiting my dad at the plant. I also remember going with him to pick up his paycheck a couple of times as well. There is much value of those trips for our children, especially our boys, as they can learn so much just watching dad get up and go to the office, or the factory, or the construction site, or wherever else you go to “keep the lights on”. I am amazed at the number of grown men that cannot keep a job because they cannot get out of the bed to punch the clock. Don’t let your kids be one of those people.

As I told my son, I may not want to go to work, but I go because of the commitment I have to our family and to God. Colossians 3:23-24 says, ”Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

I look forward to more GDE days with all of my children. Dad, plan some with your children or even grandchildren. Take one out at a time if you can. Each child is an individual with separate needs and wants from you. As they get older, the need for individual time increases even more. And if you don’t give it to them, what are you going to do when they get it from somewhere else?

Great days with dad will equal great children and leaders in this society. Never underestimate, or allow other people to underestimate your influence. 2011 is nearly here, so how about making a goal to schedule at least three or four GDE events with your kids? Post your days and ideas here as we would love to hear how things went for you!

Why Do I Homeschool You Ask? Wait, Why Do You Send Your Kids To School?

 

It is time for me to come out of the closet here at CornerstoneDad. My wife and I homeschool our children. There, I said it. I know, I know, you probably have a ton of questions and they are well meaning. However, some of you do not have true questions, but criticisms about a decision we made for our family.

I do not know why. I would never ask you if your kids attend government schools and then go on to ask more questions in a condescending way. But there is so much on this subject that I will write about in the future. So first, I will kick off my “coming out party” with the greatest article that I have found for the critics.

Enjoy!

Source: http://www.secular-homeschooling.com/001/bitter_homeschooler.html

The Bitter Homeschooler’s Wish List

by Deborah Markus, from Secular Homeschooling, Issue #1, Fall 2007

1 Please stop asking us if it’s legal. If it is — and it is — it’s insulting to imply that we’re criminals. And if we were criminals, would we admit it?

2 Learn what the words “socialize” and “socialization” mean, and use the one you really mean instead of mixing them up the way you do now. Socializing means hanging out with other people for fun. Socialization means having acquired the skills necessary to do so successfully and pleasantly. If you’re talking to me and my kids, that means that we do in fact go outside now and then to visit the other human beings on the planet, and you can safely assume that we’ve got a decent grasp of both concepts.

3 Quit interrupting my kid at her dance lesson, scout meeting, choir practice, baseball game, art class, field trip, park day, music class, 4H club, or soccer lesson to ask her if as a homeschooler she ever gets to socialize.

4 Don’t assume that every homeschooler you meet is homeschooling for the same reasons and in the same way as that one homeschooler you know.

5 If that homeschooler you know is actually someone you saw on TV, either on the news or on a “reality” show, the above goes double.

6 Please stop telling us horror stories about the homeschoolers you know, know of, or think you might know who ruined their lives by homeschooling. You’re probably the same little bluebird of happiness whose hobby is running up to pregnant women and inducing premature labor by telling them every ghastly birth story you’ve ever heard. We all hate you, so please go away.

7 We don’t look horrified and start quizzing your kids when we hear they’re in public school. Please stop drilling our children like potential oil fields to see if we’re doing what you consider an adequate job of homeschooling.

8 Stop assuming all homeschoolers are religious.

9 Stop assuming that if we’re religious, we must be homeschooling for religious reasons.

10 We didn’t go through all the reading, learning, thinking, weighing of options, experimenting, and worrying that goes into homeschooling just to annoy you. Really. This was a deeply personal decision, tailored to the specifics of our family. Stop taking the bare fact of our being homeschoolers as either an affront or a judgment about your own educational decisions.

11 Please stop questioning my competency and demanding to see my credentials. I didn’t have to complete a course in catering to successfully cook dinner for my family; I don’t need a degree in teaching to educate my children. If spending at least twelve years in the kind of chew-it-up-and-spit-it-out educational facility we call public school left me with so little information in my memory banks that I can’t teach the basics of an elementary education to my nearest and dearest, maybe there’s a reason I’m so reluctant to send my child to school.

12 If my kid’s only six and you ask me with a straight face how I can possibly teach him what he’d learn in school, please understand that you’re calling me an idiot. Don’t act shocked if I decide to respond in kind.

13 Stop assuming that because the word “home” is right there in “homeschool,” we never leave the house. We’re the ones who go to the amusement parks, museums, and zoos in the middle of the week and in the off-season and laugh at you because you have to go on weekends and holidays when it’s crowded and icky.

14 Stop assuming that because the word “school” is right there in homeschool, we must sit around at a desk for six or eight hours every day, just like your kid does. Even if we’re into the “school” side of education — and many of us prefer a more organic approach — we can burn through a lot of material a lot more efficiently, because we don’t have to gear our lessons to the lowest common denominator.

15 Stop asking, “But what about the Prom?” Even if the idea that my kid might not be able to indulge in a night of over-hyped, over-priced revelry was enough to break my heart, plenty of kids who do go to school don’t get to go to the Prom. For all you know, I’m one of them. I might still be bitter about it. So go be shallow somewhere else.

16 Don’t ask my kid if she wouldn’t rather go to school unless you don’t mind if I ask your kid if he wouldn’t rather stay home and get some sleep now and then.

17 Stop saying, “Oh, I could never homeschool!” Even if you think it’s some kind of compliment, it sounds more like you’re horrified. One of these days, I won’t bother disagreeing with you any more.

18 If you can remember anything from chemistry or calculus class, you’re allowed to ask how we’ll teach these subjects to our kids. If you can’t, thank you for the reassurance that we couldn’t possibly do a worse job than your teachers did, and might even do a better one.

19 Stop asking about how hard it must be to be my child’s teacher as well as her parent. I don’t see much difference between bossing my kid around academically and bossing him around the way I do about everything else.

20 Stop saying that my kid is shy, outgoing, aggressive, anxious, quiet, boisterous, argumentative, pouty, fidgety, chatty, whiny, or loud because he’s homeschooled. It’s not fair that all the kids who go to school can be as annoying as they want to without being branded as representative of anything but childhood.

21 Quit assuming that my kid must be some kind of prodigy because she’s homeschooled.

22 Quit assuming that I must be some kind of prodigy because I homeschool my kids.

23 Quit assuming that I must be some kind of saint because I homeschool my kids.

24 Stop talking about all the great childhood memories my kids won’t get because they don’t go to school, unless you want me to start asking about all the not-so-great childhood memories you have because you went to school.

25 Here’s a thought: If you can’t say something nice about homeschooling, shut up!

 

Great work Deborah, I could not have said it better myself!

 

Mike Singletary: Leader on the Field and At Home, but How About You?

Tonight is Monday Night football night. The San Francisco 49er’s face off against the Arizona Cardinals, with both teams not living up to the pre-season expectations. The 49er’s coach, Mike Singletary, is even on the “hot-seat” accord to many in the media.

This would certainly scare me if I had the ball!

Most remember fiery Singletary for his intense gaze as he patrolled and led the Chicago Bear defense from 1981-1992. In fact, one of my favorite all-time teams was the 1985 Bears that won the Super Bowl that year against the New England Patriots. Singletary lead a defense that some consider one of the best in history.

Yet, Singletary’s biggest contribution to this world was probably not on the football field, either as a player 20 years ago or as a head coach today.  Mike Singletary is the cornerstone of his family as he and his wife have seven children. The Coach has written three books: Singletary One on OneCalling the Shots, and Daddy’s Home at Last. When Singletary first arrived in San Francisco, he snatched highly-talented tight-end Vernon Davis off the field for not being a team player (check out his classic press conference speech below). If there was ever a “daddy moment” during the game for all to see, that was definitely one. Any father that ever had to discipline his child on the field for their antics or any child that has been the recipient of such rebuke could certainly relate. But Singletary’s decision that day earned him the respect of 49er leadership, the rest of the team, and most importantly, Vernon Davis himself. Singletary is a man that knows how to lead men.

Perhaps you are a dad that stepped into a situation that requires you to lead a team that, well… let us just say, “your guys” aren’t on the team. Meaning, you may be a step-dad of children who seem to be set in their ways and you continually think, “If I would have raised you, you would not be acting this way”. You may be a dad who has been in the military and away from your children for large periods of time, and they seem to ignore your discipline when you are home. You may be a dad who has been there, but you have sat back and let your wife handle the discipline because you want to be the “fun-dad”. Whatever situation you find yourself in, you need to be that cornerstone for leadership and discipline inside your home.

Like Singletary, we must be willing to not just lead in the boardroom, factory, or on the field. But in the living room (and not just the bedroom as that tends to be the only room in the house many men want to lead in), our kids classroom, and the chapel. Our kids are waiting and I wish I could say our wives are waiting, but many are not any longer, they are leading and laying down the discipline without us. What a shame. If you do not lead your young men, who will? Is the street capable to lead them? How about our daughters? Will we allow another man to lead them?

Coach Singletary may be on the hot-seat for the 49er’s losing record this season, I would be willing to bet the team’s record does not reflect the impact he has had on the men’s lives that he has coached in less than three short seasons. That is what being a CornerstoneDad is all about, being essential in the building and character of your home. To be anything less is not being a cornerstone, but pet. Maybe that’s why so many men are said to be dogs.