Dad

Dad: (n) informal for father.

It’s really two stories.

There was the story that should have happened and then, the tale that truly unfolded.

It is impossible for me to be an unbeliever. I don’t think I’m gullible, but I have seen enough surprising things come to fruition that I can no longer muster the doubt of Brother Thomas.

For you see, I should never have been a dad.

Don’t misinterpret the statement. I don’t want you to think that I despised the position or even that I wish it had happened differently.

But I also want you to realize that each time I became a dad, there was no planning, no bank account prepared and often not even a correct determination on the time of the blessed arrival.

I shall not get into all of those stories with this one essay.

Suffice it to say, I was a singer, a songwriter, a piano player, a vagabond—and I was a brat about never wanting to work for anyone else. As you can see right there, I perhaps should be eliminated for consideration for “father of the year.”

So I did it all with my children.

While I was teaching them to be better humans, they were teaching me how to be a good dad.

That’s the way it should be.

As long as you’re willing to look like an ass, identify it quickly and then change your mind, your kids will love you to death.

I drug my kids all over the country.

I had them playing instruments on stage in front of audiences.

I home-schooled some of them.

I lost one child along the way to a hit-and-run car accident.

And somehow or another, all the others arrived at adulthood, found magnificent partners, and are living full-blown, solvent, intelligent and spirited lives.

I will take credit for the fact that I was there, remained, repented and transformed.

But still—someone sprinkled something onto the mess, to turn it into a passable casserole.

What does it mean to be a dad?

  1. Be prepared to be watched twenty-four hours a day.
  2. Be prepared to be wrong—and admit it.
  3. Be prepared to laugh at your children when they act like you’re killing them because of a discipline you must levy.
  4. Have a life of your own, so they can see what you think is important.
  5. Encourage their mother in front of them.
  6. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
  7. Take them—your children—very seriously.
  8. When it’s obvious to them that you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t pretend you have a secret plan.
  9. Don’t try to be a best friend to their best friends.
  10. Try as hard as you can to never embarrass them.

Even though I was not a natural, I decided to naturally learn from the experience instead of giving up on it.

Now, my sons are dads.

My grandchildren call them that.

And I sit back in my resolute journey and watch my sons learn how to become “Dad.”

 

Classroom

Classroom: (n) a room, typically in a school

I wish they would have told us the truth.

I suppose they were afraid if we knew the truth, we might get discouraged. Maybe we’d give up.

For some reason, our teachers and school administrators thought it was best to dangle the possibility of growing up to be adults someday
instead of letting us know that “who we are now” is pretty much who we would end up being.

We might have spent more time trying to do better instead of sitting in the back of the classroom hiding, hoping no one would call on us, refusing to emerge from our turtle shell to become lions and tigers, yet knowing that such a position would be impossible unless there were evolutionary stages in between.

Yes, somewhere along the line, in that classroom, we needed to transition from single-cell organisms into a more complex species.

They didn’t tell us.

Maybe they were hoping that high school, church, tests, our first sexual encounters or even college would stir us to new awakenings.

But since we carried the same personality and fears into each opportunity, we came out almost every time with identical conclusions.

So the fourteen-year-old kid who’s insecure becomes the eighty-four-year-old woman who still wonders if she’s pretty.

It is a bucket of shit.

I know that sounds gross, but it is the only description I can give for thinking that you can “leave well enough alone,” and well enough will give you anything…but being alone.

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Brunt

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Brunt: (n) the worst part a specified thing

As a man, I must learn how to take the brunt without becoming a brute.

Maybe that’s also true for women. I’m not sure.

But having raised six sons to adulthood, I realize there were times that I needed to buck up, hide the pain, take the short straw and survive the greatest segment of difficulty.Dictionary B

It isn’t an issue of being macho–it is more the situation of realizing that somebody will probably end up being the fall guy, and choosing that position is better than being drafted.

I’ve always been proud of the fact that I provided for my family, but there were close moments. There were some times when groceries were less plentiful.

And I will certainly confess that my big, fat belly wanted to take the lion’s share of the macaroni and cheese and hot dogs, but instead, I divided it evenly among the family–only to realize there still was not enough, and limited my intake to a couple of quick bites over the pan on the burner.

There is pain in life.

It is always better to count the cost and choose what portion you’re going to receive.

But to live in a world where no one is willing to take the brunt of the responsibility is to welcome a congress of liars and an adult playground occupied by emotional babies.

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Brother

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Brother: (n) a man or boy in relation to other sons and daughters of his parents.

I had four brothers who shared a common uterus with me. Not at the same time; we had different leasing arrangements.Dictionary B

I will tell you that those four individuals have importance in my life because we lived in a common household. But they are not closer to me than other folks who have stumbled across my path.

I believe we could have been great kinfolk–more intimate. But it is really the mother and father who decide how tight the bond will be among the children.

For instance, it is possible to accidentally pit your offspring against each other. Too much competition in a house creates enemies instead of fellow-laborers. And of course, favoritism makes one child work too hard and another one skate on thin ice.

Two of my brothers have already passed on. The oldest one never totally understood me and we never came to peace with each other. The second ghost and I had a violent relationship, which simmered into a warm broth, which we were able to enjoy.

And my other two brothers–well, we bounce between contact and alienation.

Now, it was my joy to be the father of three sons and three other young men that I “godfathered” to adulthood.

I must have done something right, because they don’t hate each other. Or maybe they just decided to ignore my attempts to generate boundaries and chasms, and worked on finding common ground.

I don’t know which one it is–but I will give you the definition for brother:

It is not someone of your own household who shares a mom with you.

It is not a male Christian counterpart who communes with you at an altar.

A brother is, and always will be, someone who refuses to believe the gossip he hears about you, but instead, comes to you directly…to get the real story.

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Biological Clock

Biological clock: (n) an innate mechanism that controls the physiological activities

Dictionary B

Some years ago, a friend asked me to come and stay at his house. He showed me my room and when I noticed that the alarm clock sitting next to the bed had the incorrect time, he explained that I was welcome to try to change it, but that he had found that the clock always reverted to being exactly fifty-two minutes fast.

So rather than throwing it away, he had decided to adjust.

I squinted at him, a bit perturbed, but during my week-long stay, found myself becoming quite adept at time-transfer.

I bring this little story up because to a large degree, we have done this with the human race.

We have totally ignored the natural biological time schedule of human growth, and instead have inserted a social structure which has nothing to do with the reality of our personal timetable.

In other words, puberty begins in the early teens–but we strongly suggest that people refrain from marriage until their early thirties.

A woman’s primal time for having babies is 14-35, but if we don’t marry until we are thirty, then there has to be a real rush if we’re going to squeeze in our 1.8 children into the statistical anomaly.

I suppose we could try to become more sensitive to the natural order of human activity, but that would require that we ask our children to skip being rebellious, foolish and slackered teenagers and instead, take on the mantle of adulthood much earlier.

This would be ridiculous.

What would we ever do with video games, juvenile detention centers, drug rehabilitation facilities and over-expenditure on trendy clothes? We might actually infuse premature emotional stability and spirituality into our offspring before they have a chance to sow wild oats–which, by the way, are rarely usable for making bread.Donate Button

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Bar mitzvah

Bar mitzvah: (n) the religious initiation ceremony of a Jewish boy who has reached the age of 13Dictionary B

I’m not Jewish. Matter of fact, I’ve never played Jewish on television.

Years ago I surgically removed “Judeo” from my Christianity. It’s not because I have any resentments against the Jewish race–it’s just that I like my Jesus ala carte.

But I have to admit, I find the Jewish tradition of the bar mitzvah very enlightening because it brings to the forefront a valuable question: when does a boy become a man?

The Jewish people had it figured this way: the dude has a penis, he’s grown some hair, it’s ready to do business, so we better make him a man.

Therefore there was a lot of responsibility on Jewish moms and dads to mature their children to mental, spiritual and emotional adulthood before unleashing them into a possibility of procreation.

I assume they took this seriously.

We in the Western world have decided to forego this mission and instead, put off calling someone a man until he is emotionally, financially and mentally solvent.

  • At one time we considered this to be 16 years of age.
  • We then had to revise to 18.
  • 21 seemed popular for a while.
  • And now we’re not so sure anyone actually matures until age 30.

So according to our culture, probably more than one-third of your life is gone before you are prepared to have a family, house, and affect change in your neighborhood.

It gives you pause for thought.

That comes to 17 years of having a full-fledged sexual member which is on the hunt for satisfaction … ruled by a brain that is still focusing on video games.

 

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Apostasy

dictionary with letter A

Apostasy (n.): abandonment of a belief or principle.

Fascinating.

In actuality, I have abandoned many beliefs in order to embrace principles.

For when reality takes hold in your life, you realize that any notion of God which is not in synchronization with nature is superstition rather than truth.

And in like manner, any reverence for a natural order that does not in some way include a creative force is believing that life occurs in adulthood with no reverence for the birthing egg.

I guess in many ways I practice apostasy all the time–because I am equally as disillusioned with religion as I am with the secular world. I am perpetually unimpressed with the presence of a practice that ignores reason and the appearance of a reasonability that denies faith.

So on the occasions that I sit around with my brothers and sisters and listen to the common conversation proffered, I often find myself internally asking more questions than actually receiving enlightenment.

Many years ago I decided to abandon an agenda.

  • I am not a promoter of the Republican or the Democratic party.
  • I do not particularly find the Judeo-Christian form of governing spirituality to be edifying.
  • And I certainly cannot go along with the populist view that my family is “more special than anyone else in the world” simply because it was conjugated from my sperm.

Sooner or later what we call apostasy becomes a gentle move of common sense towards inclusion.

Often it’s just including good information.

Usually it involves including others without prejudice.

But honestly, mostly it includes the possibility that since knowledge has expanded, there is the chance that it will continue to do so.

Locking ourselves into a prison of platitudes is the best way to end up looking foolish to our grandchildren.

I guess I’m apostate–because I’m not satisfied with what I’ve discovered.

What I have uncovered has only made me hunger and thirst for more.

 

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