Coax: (v) to persuade

I finally had enough children that I became a fairly decent father. Therefore I’m not responsible for the initial flops.

All kidding aside, one of the mistakes of all parents is investing too much time into the well-being and involvement of the child.

For me, this realization happened at the swimming pool. My first son, two years of age, came down in his cute little swim trunks. I could hardly wait to get him into the water and see him splash around–a vision I had perceived in a dream the night before.

But instead of jumping into the water or into my arms, he stood at a distance, critically, like an old maid viewing a Playboy magazine for the first time.

I begged.

I pleaded.

I made promises. (I’m talking about Baskin Robbins promises. In other words, the big scoops.)

He was unimpressed.

Matter of fact, he was quite enamored that he had gained my full attention over such a small thing. So in his toddler mind, he was dangling me over the abyss of an emotional cliff, giggling over my slipping grasp.

I hated myself.

He never did get into the pool. I must have asked him a thousand times, and I’m not exaggerating for the purpose of literature.

But by the time I got to the second, third and fourth kid, I realized that the key to engaging your children in good things is to always act like you just don’t give a damn.

I did not invite them into the pool. Matter of fact, I passed along the impression that they were “too small to swim.”

I jumped, threw balls in the air, and in no time at all, each of them came over to the edge, bouncing up and down, waving arms and saying, “Daddy, let me come in!”

I elongated the process (so there wouldn’t be any bitching about the temperature of the water). So when they got in, it was an honor.

Children are manipulative. They are not angels from heaven, unless you’re talking about the fallen variety, hanging out with Lucifer at the clubhouse.

Children were meant to come along with us, not us with them.

I have stopped all coaxing. I don’t coax anyone.

You can watch what I do, listen to what I believe or follow me around to see how hypocritical I am. Then decide for yourself.

I, for one, do not have time to talk people into pursuing good crap.


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Abadan and Abaddon

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter AAbadan: a major port and oil-refining center on an island of the same name on the Shatt al-Arab waterway in western Iran; pop. 308,000

Abaddon: (in the Bible) a name for the Devil or for hell.

A couple of evenings ago, after dinner with some friends, we got into a discussion on hell. It was either that, another piece of pie or trying to figure out how to play UNO again.

During this exchange, it quickly became evident that no matter how theologically involved each person was, the general consensus was that hell was not a very good place and that everyone hoped it would not be as advertised–an institution of eternal damnation. Most people agreed that there are consequences in life.

Now, hell is an easy one for me–and these two words personify it. Anyone who digs a hole in the ground, discovers oil and realizes he are rich–BUT the next notion that comes to his mind is, “How can I get richer off of this?” is pretty much a brat of hell.

For instance, if you follow the story of Lucifer, this was exactly his profile. He was IN heaven–actually holding a good position with a nice office in upper management–and one day, he decided, “I wanna get richer.” That’s why he ended up in the basement, here on earth.

Some oil refinery in Iran, filled with people wearing robes and desert hats, who get together and try, in the name of Allah, to annoy the western world by raising the price on their product, causing great grief to working moms and dads across the world, have, in my opinion, already laid the foundation and built the boundaries for hell.

Somewhere along the line, enough has to be enough. If you’ve got enough crap to buy a golden toilet seat, you may just have booked passage to Perdition.  The only thing that links us to the devilish is when we are not willing to be satisfied with our portion of extreme blessing, but instead want to “own it all.”

So heaven begins here on earth, with those who want to do heavenly things with each other. And hell is also instigated in the hearts of those individuals who are constantly trying to come up with ways to make the lives of others more hellish

I am sure the people of Abaddon would resent my tying them in with the lake of fire. But after all, when you live near an oil refinery, you should be careful playing with matches–especially when you’re sitting near a lake.