Saturday, January 22, 2011

Top 10 Dad's of Daughters Challenges

10. We have enough barbies and dolls to open up our own store.

9. Doing hair is a pain in the ass. Maybe it's because it's not mine, or maybe it's because their hair looks like animals slept in it all night. If wife and grandma didn't do it most of the time, I would be in trouble.

8. The shrill playing screams and voices will make me get hearing aids by the time I'm 35.

7. Their attitudes aren't getting any better.......the teenage years.....oh God help me.

6. Manipulation, yes already at the fine ages of 4 and 6. I shouldn't stereotype here, but ladies, you are masters of this skill.

5. They are already talking about boys and who they are going to marry....something that probably won't change anytime soon. You boys are this father's nightmare. I'm not looking forward to the drama that will develop in the future.

4. They fight quite often because they want the same toys, so many times we buy two of the same thing (hence the reason for #1)

3. They make fun of my genitalia. There's something about them pointing and laughing at my "stuff" that is disturbing, especially when they team up to do it. (I know.......I hear the jokes......ha ha).

2. Hormones someday in this tiny house, that's all I have to say.

1. Someday, I will have to give them away. A day that every father dreads. Even with all of these challenges, I love having daughters and I feel honored to be their dad.

Enjoy those little ones! Any of you have these similarities, especially fathers?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Elementary Hoochies

Let me ask you this. Do you think it is ok for girls in elementary school to wear make-up and fake (a few real) piercings? Call me old fashioned, but holy shiznit! Thank God I have some time before my kidlings (both girls) are thrown into or want to be a part of "The In Crowd". "The In Crowd" that tramps around by wearing 1/4 inch thick make-up around their eyes walking next to Kindergartners. Seriously........seriously. Why isn't there a district policy about this?

However, there is one major problem that arises when trying to change certain policies.....parents. Yes, most of you who read this would not let your daughter go out in public as a 12 year old looking like this, but there are way too many that do and support their daughter's "freedom of expression". If this 12 year old was at a middle school setting, I still wouldn't support it, but wouldn't be whining about it. The difference is who sees them. A few years back, there was a student in 5th grade that was wearing too much eye make-up that us teachers (and students) thought was distracting to learning. However, when we informed mom about our concerns she wigged out. "My daughter has the right to express herself in whatever way she deems fit". Ugh! She even threatened to go to "high up" peeps (upper administration) about this. This support for her daughter obviously kind of shocked us. Dealing with this lack of parental support for school rules though has become part of life.

As we always did in our youth, we looked up to those "big kids". When I was a 1st grader I thought those 5th graders were so cool. I doubt times have changed much. Those kids still say those things. In this day and age though it goes something more like this......."that 5th (or 6th) grader is so cool......I want to look like Captain Jack too!!"....ok...not really, but you get the point. Don't we still want role models for younger kids at the elementary school that still show just a tad bit of innocence? What do you think Captain?

When you get to that age though, it's not about playing dress up anymore. This is something I do with my girls, something fun, not distracting, innocent. Hey pre-teen hoochies.........when you are 10-12, you are in the public's eye now. You are influential on my children. You are "role-models" for our future students and younger children. You need to kick your parents in the ass and tell them to actually think about how you should look.

Just venting.....just venting. Hey female teacher friends of mine.....maybe you should cake on make-up like some of these girls and see if you get any parent complaints. Hee hee......just sayin'.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Grooming the Sports Freak

Yes.....I'm a sports addict if you will. Checking my fantasy sports teams everyday, watching my football on the weekends.....all of it. Wife can get sick of it.....the time it takes to study statistics. However, she has learned quickly that this obsession of mine isn't going away, especially after 15 years of dealing with it.  Luckily, there has been a part of her that has never died too. I mean this "girl" used to collect more baseball and basketball cards than I did growing up. Sometimes she even impresses me with some of her sports knowledge.

My parents never really understood what turned me into this "freak". However, in my eyes it's easy to see how in early childhood battle of "nurture vs. nature", nature won. You see......growing up in the boonies will do it to you. The nearest neighbor I had was 1/4 mile away. You could go a whole night without seeing one car drive down the road. My backyard was 20 acres of fields and forests, a city kids dream. It was my playground.

What did I do? Build forts, run around the field chasing cows, and sports. The first day I moved into our house a little before the age of two, I was greeted by two neighbor boys, Kenny and Kevin (brothers). We did pretty much everything together. As we grew older sports took a front seat; tackle football in the field, wiffle ball, and basketball. Dad poured concrete in front of our garage after Santa brought a basketball hoop. I can't tell you how many times I swear I heard the buzzer or the end of a shot clock. We would play through our parents yelling at us out the window, into the darkness, until finally "game over" was made clear when parents had to actually walk out of the house to get us (not happy by the way).

It's amazing how many times conflicts came referee or umpire, we had to talk through it. It was hard to win the battle when I was the youngest in the neighborhood and we had no instant replay. However, it was good for me. Being a country kid I was able to learn not only work ethic, but the importance of imagination and teamwork along with having a playful attitude.  Luckily, these traits were never removed or lost, gladly calling this man home. 

As a father and teacher, I try to teach these kids the importance of sports and the need for sportsmanship and respect . I love to relive and tell the stories of the playful age that I once was, and try to get them to appreciate their youth. The amount of time to do the things I used to be able to do as an active sports nut has disappeared. However, even when the time to "play" is gone, I don't appreciate sports any less. The Ducks, Blazers and Seahawks will never be routed against!

Why do I write about this? Kids learn by observation and experience. Give them the time, show them your playful side. In a time of our lives where we have no choice but to live with less, sometimes sports and play can be so much more, especially for our youth of today and our parents of the future.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Frightening Reality of a Father


Question: Why does any father raising daughters need to be afraid?

Answer: Look at the above pictures for the answer. 

So what does that mean fathers? It means you should be seriously polishing up those guns of yours. I consider myself lucky for having a little bit of time left before the boys come "a knockin'". Now being 6-4 and 250 would help a little in the department of intimidation. However, if a father is protective, it doesn't matter what size he his......those fellas will think twice. 

This brings up a tough dilemma though. I will hopefully always pride myself in the open lines of communication between all of the ladies in my life. My challenge? To not be too overprotective in the day and age where sexual discovery comes much earlier in youth, all realms of media feeding the "monster" that is swallowing our children's innocence is growing even larger and more dominant, and dependency on parents is fading.

How do I do this when I even find myself being caught up in all of it too? Yes.....I have GaGa on "The Pod" and I have even stopped to look at the cover of Cosmo to get a peek at the subjects of the articles about sex (and yes......the ladies that are on them).

I have to come to the reality that it is inevitable for my daughters and the youth of today to be exposed to the things that used to be hidden or happened behind closed doors. The "monster" is everywhere and it's not going away anytime soon. The big deal of holding hands in 6th grade has been replaced with things I don't even want to imagine happening with 11 and 12 year olds. It makes be cringe. Maybe I was too innocent in 6th grade. But was that necessarily a bad thing? Maybe it's because I just chose the right friends or hung around with girls that didn't have to prove they were older than they really were. This is something I see on an everyday basis, hiding their "innocence" behind the caked on make-up is just one sad thing.....nothing I can do as a teacher.

However, with this being said there are some things we can do. Keeping those lines of communication open with our kiddos is the first step. Telling them the difference between what is right and what is wrong. Not sheltering them too much (I can go off about this but decided to hold my tongue) and just plain loving them.......loving our children to pieces. Don't give them something they feel like they have to escape from. Don't allow their hearts to seek out love to fill the holes. Just be good parents. If only you had to have licenses for birthing or parenting children of today!

I have time to get over my over protectiveness (luckily). However, I will protect the love that I have for them in ways that they will never be able to understand.


Sunday, January 2, 2011


Today I have to change my thinking……..I have to get away from the dread of knowing that I have to work tomorrow. I have to stop and remind myself the importance of what I do. I teach. However, many don’t realize what this word really means and the challenges that come with it. As a very green teacher coming in over a decade ago I thought I was prepared to “teach”. As I walked into that empty classroom I was confident that I was easily ready to face students. I thought teaching was going to be a cake walk. In the now, I chuckle within, the veteran coming out in me. How could I have thought that? Some of my mentors still made fun of me years later for some of my “foo-foo” ideas at my first interview. I felt on top of the world. For some reason though, universities don’t teach you about the real definition behind the word “teacher”. Maybe they don’t want to scare you off from this valuable profession and they want us to make our own judgments while experiencing what there is to experience. Statistics show that 1 in 3 teachers are out of the profession within the first three years of teaching. I didn’t understand this statistic until I really started “teaching”.

It would have been nice to have been taught to deal with things like children coming to school in dirty clothing and without food, behavior from these students that even make me sometimes question why I’m an educator (and make me want to bust out the cattle prod), dealing with the child services division, facing the political bullshit and the imaginary soap opera of the district I work in, and putting up with the everyday stresses that come with the burden of having to prepare these students for our society when support is lacking at the home they live in. That first year, I was hit in the face with some of these unknown challenges and even more so now in the setting I work in currently.

However, with all of this being said, this is why I or we teach… give students a chance to succeed amongst all of the world’s chaos. We as parents and teachers have a huge responsibility. Have you looked around the world lately? Unfortunately, our children already have a disadvantage. Technology has changed the way we socialize, taking us away from actually talking with one another. We are losing our ability to socialize face to face. Kids are losing some of their imagination too. Toys (let alone video games) weren’t a big part of my life growing up. This of course turned me into a sports freak, because this was all I ever did in my youth….neighborhood wiffle-ball games, football in the field with friends, and pine cone and apple wars in the forest. Maybe it was just the life of a country boy. Today, the boys in my classroom (stereotyping here) only talk about the latest video game. Exercise and being outdoors have become a thing of the past it seems for many of these children today.

It isn’t just social skills and imagination that these children are lacking or missing though.  For the students I teach, they are lacking hope that their family will just make it by, the confidence that they can actually succeed in today’s world, and the respect that they should be learning from their parents. When there are so many parents working several jobs especially in this economy, we educators really become their second family. It is crazy to think that school aged children now days actually spend more time with their teachers than with their own parents, including my own daughters, but it’s true. The power to change lives as an educator, hopefully in a positive way, is inevitable. Not only do we teach children the standard curriculum, but also the curriculum we are always inventing as a means to truly allow them to appreciate themselves while teaching them "the skills of life".

To teach is not only spitting out dates and facts, it is educating the “whole” being. We have to teach values, build confidence, support these youngsters when their home life is falling apart, and light the fire under them so they seek out information to educate themselves. This is why I teach. You not only have to love kids, you have to love to put up with the challenges. You have to love to be in reoccurring change. You have to love finding ways to make the learning experience of these “children” memorable. You have to love to “teach”.

I’m going back tomorrow humbled by my students’ experiences and invite the challenge of educating them. Thank you for those of you joining me, whether you are an educator, parent or in a job that makes the world better for our future leaders.

“It is today we must create the world of the future.” Eleanor Roosevelt