Holiday Baby Momma Drama

My friend Rob was a social worker and hated his job around the holidays. You would think there would be more peace, but exactly the opposite, as families fought worst than cats and dogs ever would. He stated the reason was because people are together only for holidays, when they normally avoid each other the rest of the year. Tempers begin to flare, words get said, booze is flowing, then fists start throwing.

However, if you and your child’s mother live in separate houses, you may know a little about those types of sparks during the holiday season. If you have not had that blow up yet, trust me, you probably will. Perhaps you buy the kids with your current wife/girlfriend (don’t date single mothers, there, you’ve been warned) more stuff than you bought for the child you two have together, you might get a phone call (or text these days I guess). Perhaps you do not have the money/gifts she wants to give the child you two have together because child support has you tapped out, or because it needs to be split with your other kids as well, then you will definitely get a phone call or text!

The advice by Rich Cooper is great in this short vid. I love his channel (and he’s a car guy as well so that helps) as Rich is all about telling men to focus on themselves, “Do the Work”, and focus on excellence, not booty. However, he’s also divorced and has a lot of good content on dealing with ex-wives and parenting, so I can’t recommend his channel enough.

If you have any advice on how to avoid, cope or just a story about “Baby Momma Drama” in your past, feel free to share in the comments below!

Furious Styles

CornerstoneDad Podcast – Mixtape #1 Open Letter To J-ICE…(And It’s Minivan Friendly)

Is Rap Changing Your Theology

After a long time away, I’m finally back with a podcast.

But not just any podcast, but a mix to my grandson J-ICE.

Old-school hip-hop heads know that bouncing with some hard beats is always a challenge, even with rap pre-1995. My son likes to roll with tunes that were out when he was still in a car seat, and is now facing that challenge when he’s rolling with my grandson.

I’ll post up the playlist pretty soon, but for now, just turn up that bass, grab the kids, grab your bible, and lets ride…

Click: J-ICE Mix

CSD

CSD Ride Out: Welcome To Idlewild, Michigan

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The Streets of Idlewild

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How big was Idlewild? “By the 1950s and early 1960s, Idlewild reached the height of its popularity. During those years nearly 25,000 vacationers made their way to the community, temporarily overwhelmingly the permanent year-round population. During this era Idlewild boasted more than 300 black-owned businesses.” – Blackpast.org

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Looking forward to The Comeback!

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“Morton’s has been home to music greats such as Aretha Franklin, the Four Tops and Della Reese. Our comfortable, recently renovated guest rooms – some with kitchenettes – Great Room with adjoining large kitchen and cable TV, outdoor open space dotted with lawn chairs, picnic courtyard with umbrella tables and canopied patio are some of our attractions. We provide a warm, inviting place…”- http://www.michigan.org/property/morton-s-motel/

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“While the clubs attracted black patrons, they were often examples of interracial mingling. As one Idlewild resident recalled, the clubs filled to capacity every night, and on some nights, “there were more white people in there than blacks. It wasn’t about race, it was about fun…
Idlewild, like other all-black resorts, would not survive the civil rights movement. As formerly white-only clubs and resorts across the nation integrated in the late 1960s, Idlewild went into decline. Its clubs and hotels closed as blacks began to frequent other resorts.” –blackpast.org

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“Judith Griffin now lives in New Jersey, but her family would drive from Chicago to Idlewild resort in Michigan every summer. Griffin recalls one trip where her father—one of the few black gastroenterologists at that time—pulled over to save the lives of motorists in a very bad accident. ..Because of discrimination, families like Griffin’s were forced to use what was called “The Green Book.” It was a directory of stops that would serve African Americans on the road.” –http://wmuk.org/post/black-travel-during-jim-crow-illustrated-green-book

CSD Saying Happy Father’s Day With Never Released Before Content

First, Happy Father’s Day to all my CSDs out there!

You know, it seems just like yesterday. The years I spent as a single-dad when my son was between 10-15 years old were the worst compared to the other 13 years. During this time period, I was struggling financially and trying to finish school to earn my degree, with the hope of coming up in this land of milk-n-honey. I was also trying to provide for my other children that were being born with my wife and also going to work at various places meant days that never ended and stress that felt like I was carrying a weight 24/7.

My poor sociology teacher had to read all about my struggles, as I poured my heart out in essay after essay. My son was at an age where he could choose (he was not given that “right” by me, but by his mom and the court) whether he wanted to come over to my home or not, and oftentimes for various reasons, he would not. Perhaps the ultimate knife in my chest was when he told the referee that he did not want to come to my home, as there were too many rules, he did not have fun and all we did was go over his grandparent’s house. My heart stopped beating that day in the court room, as I was fighting to maintain the visitation rights that I fought for when he was just a baby. I thought, “And this is how I get paid back?” “I’m being treated worse than Cain who said, ‘It ain’t mine’ and bounced. For those who have seen Menace To Society, they know what I’m talking about.

But it was all of those experiences that moved me to create this blog years later.

The essay below was one that I wrote in 2001 for my Social Science Theory class. My superb professor had us all develop a theory by the end of the semester, as she knew that social and psychological theories that change the world are not only born when you have a Ph.D.. So it is in the environment above that I have described, that my Alliance Theory was born. When I performed my research for the paper (yes, done without the internet and we had just got a computer for me to type this on), I learned that my theory had basically been previously presented and was known as Parental Alienation Syndrome.

I’ve never shared this publicly, and I’m posting pictures of the essay until I can type a more recent edition. Therefore, you get to see all of my grammar mistakes, the faded paper, etc.. But I wanted to share this on Father’s Day to once again encourage those of you struggling as well. You may not get to see your son or daughter today, as they may choose (or the mother may choose for them) to spend it with a new guy, with mommy or a step-father instead.

I know it hurts. It hurts to watch you and your child’s relationship melt and you seem to be the only one that cares. You know your child has no idea the impact that this is going to have in his or her life. But you hang in there. Never give up and cry to yourself if necessary. Emotions usually spring forth in the only way society allows men to grieve, and that’s through anger and violence. But you probably know that when you lose control in those arguments, you lose. She can just pick up her “toys” if you will, and go home. You look like the bad-guy, and to your child, you are that bad guy. Why? Read the essay below.

Make today a special day for yourself. It’s special because you are still there, whether your son or daughter understands right now or not.

Now this was written 14 years ago, but what do you think? How has your life experience been and does this theory fit your situation? Let me know in the comments below or email me.

So again, if that phone doesn’t ring or no one comes to visit, you at least get a heart felt Happy Father’s Day from CSD my man, and may God bless you.

Peace.

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Single Dad’s, Today Is Now

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Tonight I was talking to a young man who’s about to be a father and wonders if his life is over. May I encourage all of you single dads that actually, your life has just begun. If you think you’ve never accomplished anything in school, at work, or wherever…now you can. If you didn’t have a father in your life, now you can show your child what it’s really like to have one. What can seem like something that has destroyed your life, can be what saves your life. If you’ve been living that “do-nothin” life in this country, they have a cell and/or grave waiting for you. But your child can give you something to set that alarm clock for in the morning. Someone to make you say, “Nah, I’m not going there or doing that…”. Someone that you can put your legacy and values on FOREVER. You will never do that at a job, never do that at a school, but you have an opportunity to do that in your child’s life…and that’s why God allowed YOU to be a father. Everybody else in your life may have said, and may still say, “That ___ isn’t ever going to do anything with their life.” But one day you’ll realize that other people’s opinions don’t pay your child support, hold your kid’s hand, teach them how to catch, or touch you in ways that will have you in tears like you’re the baby. You fellas get up in the morning knowing that you got something to live for, and die for, and be thankful not sorry, that your life will never be the same.

CSD Snapshots: Are You Ready For Some Football?

Today I had the opportunity to shoot my son’s football games from the field. I haven’t shot from the sidelines since his high school playing days and I must admit that I enjoy shooting sports even more than cars. I must say, there’s something about catching the action and emotion of the players on the field.

Although the score didn’t come out is his favor, it’s good that everyone was able to walk off the field. That’s something players should never take for granted whether playing flag-football, high school, or semi-pro like my son.

Enjoy the shots!

Showdown: Michigan Gators vs. Metro Detroit Wolverines

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/

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.

…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:

“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