Dad, Do They Know You Still Love Them?

 

A couple of weeks ago, our church started a group of meetings called the Life Action Summit. Quite honestly, my percentage level to attend was under 50%, as those “revival” type meetings are usually full of bad theology, financial begging, and as my boy Rob would say, “Momma-say-momma-sa-mumombusa”…in other words…speaking in tongues with no sign of an interpretation coming from anywhere.

All I can say is: OUCH.

I went for 11 days and:

Many of the lessons that I heard exhorted me to return to my first love, Jesus Christ.

Many of the lessons that I heard exhorted me to return to the love and commitment I have for my wife.

But many of the other lessons the I heard exhorted me to return to being the father that I am supposed to be as well.

Now why am I writing this to you?

Even if you are not a Christian, I think what I’m about to say applies to you.

Do you need to return to the love you had for your children when they were born?

Like a wedding, I’ve found that parents have showers, celebrate, cry, tell everyone and are just so excited about becoming parents when the woman announces she’s pregnant and delivers the baby. However, after a few years, just like marriage, that loves seems to change.

From 0-5, they are cute and we are patient, as they discover this world and still have a smile that melts our hearts.

From 6-10, they’re not as cute and that smile now gets accompanied with a frown when they don’t have their way, and our patience lessens.

From 11-15, we often go through the motions as they become their own person that we like/dislike and our lives are full of school events, sports, and “stuff”.

From 16-18, we are just trying to endure to the end. We back off as to not “push them away”, as they scream silently, “Mom, Dad, would you please give me some direction and guidance?” Then high school graduation comes and as they walk across the stage we say, “Where did all the years go? There’s so much more I wish I could teach them…”.

Quite honestly, some parents say, “Get out! You’re 18 now!”

What happened to all the promises we told ourselves? Promises how we’d protect them, provide a stable household for them, tell them that they can always come to us, kisses and “I love you-goo-goo-ga-ga” accompanies with goofy faces.

Tonight, I’d like for you to reflect on whether you are truly still thankful for your children.

Next, ask yourself (and if you are really daring, your wife), if someone you didn’t know were to ask your kids, “Does your dad ACT AND SAY that he loves you?” What would the answer be to that person? What would your kids say?

So your CSD-homework assignment for this week? Tell your child/children that you love them. That’s it. I bet you acted like you did they were born, but what about now?

Let me know how it goes…

Photo taken at: Creation Museum

If you ever have an opportunity to go to a Life Action Summit, I cannot recommend it enough. It has certainly made a difference in my life and I’m not typing anything to you that I have not had to struggle with myself, as I’m far from the perfect dad. But over the last couple of weeks, I had the opportunity to sit with all five of my children and renew that love that I had for each one of them when they were brought into my life.

Just starting with “I Love You”, can be a way for you to begin that same journey as well.

CSD

 

The World Is A Ghetto: Motown Getting Mo-Crazy

I grew up in the D. when terms like crack, carjacking, and checking-in were being born.

This was one famous Detroit group that you won’t find ever performing at a halftime show.

At the same time, terms like Reaganomics, Star Wars defense, and pull-yourself-up by your bootstraps also thrived in this country’s vernacular.

But as bad as things were back then, some of the things going on today make shake my own head.

I’m I getting older or do you feel the same way?

Yesterday, Marvin Winans of the famous gospel group, The Winans was carjacked and robbed in the middle of a gorgeous afternoon in the ‘hood. For my readers not in this area or country, the streets don’t matter, but trust me, he was stopping in the ‘hood.(Story here: http://www.wxyz.com/dpp/news/region/detroit/pastor-marvin-winans-carjacked-and-robbed-in-detroit)

Now, I also grew up listening to The Winans as they were on my dad’s approved music list. My close friend’s father used to pick us up in the Ford panel wagon LTD and she’d have a Winans tape jamming every morning on the way to school. When my family heard the song Tomorrow before I did, I remember them telling me, “We know you’re going to love that song” and they were right. To this day it’s still one of my favorites.

So it bothered me to hear that Marvin Winans was now a victim, especially knowing that he has tried to make a difference in the city.

I’ve listened to some on the radio that criticized him for stopping at a station with a Rolex and a purple Infiniti SUV. But knowing that his QX56 only gets 16 mpg, I’m sure he’s stopped at gas stations in Detroit numerous times without incident.

But not this time.

Plus, is it now THAT bad? It wasn’t THAT bad in the ’80’s. Back then, we watched a Fiero get stripped right across the street in a few minutes in the middle of the afternoon. But I don’t remember it being THIS bad. I’m I wrong or do I have those “back-in-my-day rose-colored glasses on”?

Also, just the week before, this incident happened and lets just say my man certainly didn’t look like he was displaying a Rolex to fake Ludacris you see in the video. (Note: That old-head got with phony-Luda and it’s sad he had to get a bunch of his “boys” to help him buck with a guy twice his age…and the punks hit an older woman too…those fools are hard right there.)

http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/dpp/news/local/couple-robbed-and-beaten-at-detroit-bp-gas-station-20120509-ms

But the gentleman in the video above did everything right. He didn’t look scared and even spoke to the dudes respectfully and didn’t even call them niggas, like I’m sure they call each other. What did he get in return, a beatdown that could’ve been much worse and thankfully it was not for him and his wife.

Are things just THAT bad?

If we say that they are, then what?

My prediction? At the current progression, two scenarios are likely to play out.

1.) Drastic measures will not be taken until someone of European-descent gets beatdown or killed as the national outrage will cause leaders to speak up and the negative attention will reach past the Michigan border.

Does anyone remember the fireworks brawl that got caught on tape in the early ’90’s (and remember, that was before Youtube)?

2.) Notice the event happened at another gas station. Fuses are getting real short on gas stations as they aren’t calling police on crimes taking place on their property and if you do something that effects them, they shoot you. Lack of police response and growing animosity against the police are all making for fumes that could ignite with one “minor” incident.

Does anyone remember 1967?

Back in the day, we knew who Marvin or at least The Winans were because we went to church.

Dad, when was the last time you did THAT with you kid(s)?

I’m not even talking about whether your church is good or not, but at least it puts the moral compass in the right direction.

An atheist sees me and my boys (friends) crewed-up with hoodies, Kangols and Adidas on at night. Why would he/she breath easier seeing us with Bibles in our hands as we walk from the Mission instead of the gas station up the street?

All rights reserved by Detroit Liger

(We may look bad outside the Mission at night, but trust me, we’re harmless)

Why? Because they know that “religious fanatics” have a moral compass and they are glad about it, because if we didn’t and just believed that now is the only reality and there are no consequences for our behavior, then they may be stretched out on that sidewalk and not make it back home that night. In other words, I’m sure the atheist would be glad we hold the fanatical worldview and not their view in that situation.

Now Dad, do you know where your children are?

Whether living with you or not, are they hanging out in the street, doin-dirty?

If you don’t know, you better find out.

Cause while it may not be YOUR kid that’s going to rob or kill you (then again, it could be: http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/news/Son-of-Farmington-Hills-beating-victim-arrested-2-others-seriously-hurt/-/4714498/10918534/-/15dc71oz/-/index.html) because they’ve never been taught to have regard for human life and have determined that they will be the predator not prey, you may one day fall victim.

You may get stuck by a kid who was raised with a lack of supervision like your kid was raised.

So forget the old saying from parent to child, “I hope you have a kid that acts just like you one day!

I now will say, “I hope you run into some kids (or they marry) some kid that has been raised just like you raised yours one day!

Maybe that’s the only way to keep things from getting worse in the D. or any other place, cause I’m getting a headache from shaking my head.

“Either they don’t know, don’t show, or don’t care about what’s goin’ on in the ‘hood.” – Boyz N The Hood

What do you think and how are things in your neighborhood?

CSD

 

 

 

 

CSD Press Rewind Post: A Living Eulogy For My Mother

I was going to write something new for Mother’s Day but quite honestly, I think it’s a good time to revisit a post that I made at the beginning of the year. However this time, I want you to deeply consider whether your mom knows how you feel about her?

As men, many think we spend so much time trying to keep emotion inside. This is not entirely true. Our society only considers it okay to express emotion in certain situations such as sports, certain romantic situations or war. Athletes cry over a game that means nothing to the world, a man can cry at a wedding or tears of sorrow can be shed over a fallen comrade, but to cry at any other time is not considered very manly.

So today as you are remembering your mom, I ask that you read my A Living Eulogy for My Mother (click the title) post, and if you have never TOLD your mom how much you appreciate her, I beg that you do so.

As dad’s we are often under-appreciated. So you know how it feels, so please make sure your mom knows how much you appreciate her because no Hallmark card can express the way you feel.

…and

Happy Mother’s Day to MY MOM!!!

http://cornerstonedad.com/2012/01/03/a-living-eulogy-for-my-mother/

Washington Watch Exclusive: The Parents Of Slain Florida Teen Trayvon Martin Speak Out

I will deal with this story and issue soon. In the meantime, I wanted to post this video from Washington Watch, as it knocks down all the stereotypes that I’m sure people are looking for. Many times people will say, “Well, I’m sure something happened to make that guy act that way” or “Maybe the kid was threatening to the man”.

What saddens me the most is that my son and I were just visiting the Orlando area exactly one month ago. I gave him more freedom while we were away than I normally would at home since his other siblings were not there. My heart rate increases when I ponder on the “what-ifs” like, “What if neighborhood watch would have been following him when he was making the one-mile walk to his cousin’s house?” “What if something would have happened when he was out playing football and on his way home just before dark?”

I think I would be thinking just like Trayvon Martin’s dad said in the above video, he would have been waiting on me to protect him, and I would not have been there.

My mentor Dr. Lyn Lewis used to say something to the affect that black men grow up knowing that they are one step from jail or dead, no matter who they are or what they do in life.

I’ll echo another saying she’d say, that’s some good Sociology right there, because this Trayvon Martin murder proves her point. Good kid, good parents, smart, athlete, but still dead like a L.A. gang member.

Lets keep the heat on this story before it gets swept away by more important things like what the Duchess of Cambridge is wearing or what Peyton Manning is doing.

Photograph: Matt Dunham/AP

Terrell Owens vs. TO; You vs. Your Inner TO – Who Wins In The End?

A friend of mine shot this story to me on TO, or Terrell Owens, or ah, I don’t know…

http://www.thepostgame.com/features/201201/terrell-owens-gq-jeremiah-trotter-told-me-not-apologize-donovan-mcnabb

I just know he’s the guy that dropped the classic line, “I love me some me!” and had the great pom-pom end zone celebration that seemed much less rehearsed than the weak Sharpie-in-the-sock celebration pulled in Seattle in 2002.

Yes, it’s been that long. Hard to believe, but the San Francisco 49ers finally eclipsed the success they had when TO was there this season, as he departed the team in 2003. Back in 1999, there was Terrell Owens, a receiver that looked like he could re-write the record books and quite honestly, he eased the pain of Jerry Rice leaving for 49er fans as his talent seemed limitless. He was in perfect shape, 6’3 220+lbs, with deep-speed where DB’s could hang with him from 0-40 yards but post-40, “bye-bye”.

But then TO was born.

Obviously TO had a lot of fun. The article states that the he earned over $80,000,000 (1). That number is not a typo. However, now Terrell Owens finds himself “broke” (dude’s apartment is still the size of my house plus he’s in L.A., and I have 6 people with me) after suffering a knee injury without a contract, at 38-years old, with big child-support payments. Turns out that TO made a ton of bad business investments and even blames agent Drew Rosenhaus for not protecting him. Over the years, TO has always blamed a lot of people for a lot of things. I just watch the ESPN-tabloid so I don’t know what’s true.

But who’s to blame for this four kids by different mothers? The article states,

Now he is in court with all four women, whom he lumps together like one big bloodsucking blob. None of them are being fair, he says: “They know I’m not working; they know the deal.” Although he never established regular visitation with any of the children through the courts, he says he sees the eldest three as much as he can when their mothers allow it. So bitter is his relationship with the mother of the youngest child, a son, that he has never met the boy. (1)

Now, before I continue on, you may ask, “Who am I to judge?” Well, I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to seek a child support reduction, have a tenuous relationship with my son’s mother and fight for visitation. I didn’t make $80 million dollars, I was making a few hundred dollars every two weeks, worried about the lights getting shut-off, and had to take out a zillion dollars in student loans just to go back to school and re-invent myself because I didn’t want my son working side-by-side with me when he turned 16 years old. So yes, I’ve been there TO.

But TO, you need to start fighting to see your kids, and not just “when their mothers allow it” and you need to find a way to be a dad to the youngest you are yet to meet.

Any other single-dad that’s reading this, let me tell you that you fight. You continue to fight. You never stop fighting. Amazing that a fool is willing to fight and kill over stepping on his Jordans, but will hide like a mouse from our own children. This is not because we don’t care, but because we’re scared.

Scared of confrontation.

Scared of our own emotions and how they make us vulnerable.

Scared of losing because we are not in control of the situation.

But you call yourself “Hard”?

How well do you fight your inner-TO?

I often hear Terrell Owens speak of his grandmother and the impact she had on his life. However, I’ve never heard him really talking about his father. Perhaps it was because he didn’t meet his dad until he was 11 years old (2). In a 2004 Sports Illustrated article, we discover,

“At age 11 Terrell developed a crush on a girl across the street and began sneaking over to flirt with her–until her father told him that he could not “be interested in her” because she was his half-sister. “It took me a while to understand that I was talking to my father,” Owens writes. When he asked his mother why she’d never told him that his father lived across the street, she said that “it wasn’t necessary to explain everything to me.”

TO asks for no sympathy because nothing in his experience has given him reason to expect any. But he is entitled to it just the same, and his critics who read this book might want to lay off him for a while. It’s not hard to understand why a man deprived of his father, deprived of his childhood, deprived of the words I love you, would develop a tendency to call attention to himself when he succeeds.”

 That was Terrell Owens talking right there. A man making himself vulnerable. But TO takes over when that same man, who knows what it’s like to grow up with a father so close yet so far, turns around and continues the same cycle with his children.

If a good man is hard to find, then the impact of a bad father is even harder to get rid of.

Just as Terrell’s dad was right across the street, TO’s image will be just as close for his children as daddy is just one ESPN click, internet page,  and reality show away from them.

For what it’s worth, and not because I’m a 49er fan, I think I’d like Terrell Owens if I met him in person and we hung out. He seems like a guy that I’d get along with and I’d certainly love to hit the steel with him. But it’s TO that I couldn’t roll with, and if the article is true, I don’t think Terrell even wants to roll with TO any longer. Therefore, I hope Terrell steps back up and becomes the man and the father he’s supposed to be to his kids.

Perhaps you’re a single dad or soon-to-be divorced dad and you’re having a hard time dealing with visitation. Don’t stop fighting to see them and having a relationship with your child(ren). It’s not about you and the mom any longer, so don’t let that relationship hinder you.

It’s not always easy, it’s not always fun, but when you look back and know that you fought for something worth for more than $80 million, then you have reason to celebrate like this:

Remember, you only have one shot at this, so do it right.

CSD

(1) Jeff Arnold, Terrell Owens In GQ: I’m In Hell, http://www.thepostgame.com/features/201201/terrell-owens-gq-jeremiah-trotter-told-me-not-apologize-donovan-mcnabb, January 2012

(2) Charles Hirshberg, Sympathy For The Showboat, http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1113703/index.htm, 2004

Happy New Year – from CornerstoneDad

Dads, have you made that New Year’s Resolution yet? Whether you have or have not, check out the tips at All-Pro Dad titled:

Our Classic 10 Ways to be an All Pro Dad  http://www.allprodad.com/top10/parenting/our-classic-10-ways-to-be-an-all-pro-dad/

You can find details at the link above, but here’s a peek at the list:

1.) Love your wife

2.) Spend time with your kids

3.) Be a role model

4.) Understand and enjoy your children

5.) Show affection

6.) Secure your family’s financial future

7.) Eat together as a family

8.) Discipline with a gentle spirit

9.) Pray and worship together

10.) Realize you are a father forever

If you have any other good ideas of goals for dad’s or would like to just share some that you have, let us know in the comments section!

Make 2012 the year you become the dad that you want to be and the year you help make your sons and daughters the men and women that they are to be.

Seven Year Old Steals Car to See His Biological Dad? Can You Be Father of the Year with a Kid Like That?

Sometimes life is truly stranger than fiction...because this kid certain sound like a kid from the Boondocks

By now you’ve probably heard this story:

Barefoot and still in pajamas, the 7-year-old boy stood on the side of a Caseville road on Monday morning, crying and begging to see his dad.

Police say that as his mother slept, the boy drove his stepfather’s red Pontiac Sunfire more than 20 miles from Sheridan Township by himself to try to get there, hitting speeds of 50 m.p.h. with police in pursuit.

“I was hoping he wasn’t going to crash,” Caseville Police Chief Jamie Learman said. “A couple of times he went off the right side, onto the berm in the gravel, and the vehicle was fishtailing a little bit. When that happened, he seemed to be increasing his speeds.”

Learman sped up and passed the boy, as Huron County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Randy Britt helped box in the car.

“I slowed down, he slowed down and eventually stopped,” Learman said about the Sunfire. The boy had trouble pulling over on Kinde Road near Sturm. Then, with the car still running and in gear, he couldn’t get the car unlocked. The officers calmed him down through the window enough to tell him how to unlock the car, then Britt put the car in park.

“He was crying and just kept saying he wanted to go to his dad’s,” Learman said. “That was pretty much it: he just wanted to go to his dad’s.”

Investigators discovered the boy had left his Sheridan Township home at about 10 a.m., heading for his father’s home in Filion. They were alerted by a Rochester man who called 911 after spotting the boy behind the wheel near the Caseville Dairy Queen. The boy’s mother, who was sleeping and had left instructions for the boy to wake her at 10 a.m., did not know he was missing until contacted by police.

“She was frantic,” Huron County Sheriff Kelly Hanson said. “I think we woke her up because she didn’t answer the first time. And when she called back, she was frantic. And when the deputy went down to pick her up and take her to the scene, she was pretty upset.”

The mother and boy immediately went to the county’s department of human services. The incident is also being reviewed by the Huron County Prosecutor’s Office, according to Hanson, who declined to identify the mother or son.

“If any charges are issued, (the prosecutor) is going to want to know things like that: where did he learn how to drive?” Hanson said, adding he did not know the answer to that question.

In his 11 years as chief of the Caseville Police, Learman said he’s never seen someone so young driving.

“Fifteen, 14, but never 7,” Learman said. “I’m just glad he didn’t get hurt, and no one else got hurt. I can just imagine the stop signs and other things he didn’t stop for. I’m just assuming a 7-year-old didn’t follow the traffic laws.”

Copy and paste link for video:

http://www.freep.com/article/20110621/NEWS06/110621012/Police-release-video-boy-7-pulled-over-after-driving-50-m-p-h-?odyssey=mod|mostview

Now there are so many places to go with this one…

Let me start with the heavy stuff. It would have been nice to hear from the biological father on this one. When I was a single father, one of my motivating mottos was, “You let me mold a child until they are 12 years old, you can try to take them away from me from then on, but you’ll never be able to take away the impact I had on their life.”

That boy’s biological father must have had some kind of impact.

But one must ask, what kind if impact did his mother have on his life? If his dad was a such an influence that the kid would be so daring as to take a car and go to see him, was it mom’s influence on him that would make him be so rebellious to do such a thing? Yes, even at seven, this child acted out in a very rebellious and disobedient way (of course I’m assuming he’s not fleeing an abusive situation). He’s not a dog finding his way home from the airport or something. My two children who are younger than seven, would know better than to do something like this as it is considered wrong. Children have to learn that a wrong behavior for the right motivation does not make the behavior any less wrong. But even that’s the responsibility of the adults in this child’s life to teach him that, so I blame them and not him.

But it still makes me ask: Dad, would your child fight so hard to see you? Especially if they were fleeing a dangerous situation?

If you answered “No”, what are you going to do about that?

Roland Martin, journalist and host of Washington Watch said this last Father’s Day, “…a child may be in Saudi Arabia, Australia, Afghanistan, wherever in the world and they make sure they get back home for Mother’s Day. But on Father’s Day, Dad is lucky to get a phone call…”.

Roland was right.

Sometimes dad hasn’t done enough to warrant a phone call and sometimes he’s done everything.  But our children grow up in a TV culture that does not value father’s (e.g. Homer Simpson, Tim Taylor, Al Bundy, and many commercial dads) and they are influenced by what they may see and what they may hear from mom.

So whatever this seven year old was going through at his mother’s home, it is very telling that he made such an effort to make his way back to his biological father’s house.  Also, notice I’ve refrained from saying, “real father’s house”? Well, sometimes the step-dad is the real dad in the home, so I never want to take away from the role that many of those men fulfill in the household as well when they are taking care of business.

Now, on a softer note.

Isn’t it good it happened on “mommy’s watch” and not “daddy’s”? I mean, come on, you know how it is when you’re with the baby or kids and one of them gets hurt and they are with you. Your emotions start flowing just like they did when you were a kid and were scared about what your parents might say about something bad you’ve done! And what do they mean, “If charges are filed…”? Us guys know that had that happened on dad’s watch, we would have been fearing her showing up at the police department and going off more so than the police themselves.

But isn’t it amazing when the kids fall and get a nice shiner on their head or scrap their knee on her watch…excuses are abundant like ”it happened so fast”, “I was right there”, and if all else fails, “Well if you would’ve been here…”.

Sometimes fellas, we just can’t win…

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!

Two Things For You To Remember On Your Next Birthday

In my house, we just celebrated three birthdays over a ten day span. I’m broke from buying gifts, fat from cake and ice cream, and I feel old as Methuselah. But my kids hit me with a few sayings that I, and you, may want to remember the next time we celebrate our birthday.

I told Boney that Daddy’s girl was getting older.

“Daddy”, she immediately replied, “I’m not getting older, I’m getting BIGGER!”

Yea kid, that’s the same for the rest of us and really becomes the case after 35.

My boy, aka the Large Professor, turned 12 years old. I asked him how it felt to be 12 and I was quite surprised at his response. “It feels good, and I’m glad that God let me live to be 12.”

No, not that Large Professor...although LP and the Main Source said some things to make the listener think as well.

Wow, I wasn’t expecting that.

He later went on to explain that since God still has allowed him to live, he must have more for him to do on this earth, and he wants to do what God wants him to do…and one thing he knows is that God does not want him to fall away from him.

I told him that his work is only beginning.

How about you?

Are you just getting bigger each birthday and just “living”, or are you doing the work God has for you to do?

6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 (NIV)

4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Ephesians 6:4 (NIV)

…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: