I had just returned from dropping off my daughter at her last day of kindergarten when my wife said, “Don’t you have a column to write?” Oh, yeah, that. Hang on.
I pull out my laptop, sit down and take inventory … my 10-month-old son is crawling around my floor yelling out words I’ve never heard before while my 3-year-old is running around her room as she pretends her dolls are her babies and they all must be naked. (Can someone tell me why girls take clothes off their dolls?) The noise is too much, so I have to move to my office, something I should have done anyway.
This is a great example of what I, as a father, have to endure on a constant basis.
To be honest, I love it.
This month, we’re going to celebrate Father’s Day! With the celebration of yet another holiday, let’s peel back a layer and ask: What does it take to be a good father?
Based on the definition of “father,” my dad provided everything I needed so he should have been a candidate for father of the year. However, I look back on my childhood and that’s the last thing I think he should have won.
Being a father starts with being there whenever you’re needed for whatever you’re needed for. It sounds so simple, but we (guys) screw it up so often.
I have a very good friend that is a great man. He provides everything his family could ever want. He provides his wife with the type of lifestyle others would be jealous of, yet he has no idea how to relate to his young children. He loves them as much as you can love someone, but when it comes to spending time with them he falls short.
I also know of (but am not a friend of) a man who is a very shady person. This is a guy you wouldn’t trust to have your kids around, but you put him around his kids and you would think he’s the best father you’ll ever see.
Who’s the better dad?
What I’ve learned is that being a good father is more than just providing for your children or spending good quality time with them. It’s both of those, and much, much more.
I think most men reflect back on their own father for guidance. They may look back and see their childhood as being too controlling so the first thing they do is loosen the reins a little. The problem with that theory is that their kid may need more guidance than usual, so loosening the rules only adds problems. The end result? A failed relationship.
Being a good father is a custom, kid-by-kid job. Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t mean different rules for each kid. I mean a different set of guidelines on how to treat each child.
My oldest brother is the kind of kid that will do things the first time you tell him. Me, I need a little push. If you were to approach both of us with the same attitude, you’d have no way of avoiding failing one of us.
Does this sound confusing? It should. This is why being a parent is, without a doubt, the hardest job you’ll ever take on in your life. There will never be something as important or with such high stakes as your role as a father.
Men need to look into how this is really done before jumping into having kids, too. Sure, it’s a learn-as-you-go environment, but you better put some serious thinking into who you are as a person before accepting that type of commitment. This thought process needs to include more than the “I’m going to be (nothing like) or (just like) my dad.” That doesn’t work. You need to be there for each of your kids.
So, for all you dads out there reading this, happy Father’s Day. We are a very interesting breed, we fathers. We spend all that time trying to ensure they’re OK, only to have them look into the camera and thank their mom when the news interviews them. Perfect! Happy Father’s Day!
As Memorial Day approaches, we think about all the men and women that have died in service to our country. We remember them and as a country, take the attitude that they did not die in vain. They died so that we might enjoy freedom and all the benefits our country has to offer. The holiday originally started out as Decoration Day, which commemorated all of the soldiers that died in the Civil War. It later was extended to recognize those who have died in any kind of military service.
I (Mark) sometimes wonder how many people even realize what the holiday is about. For those that have not as a family somehow experienced or been affected by war, it may not hit home or even register emotionally. For those that have lost a family member it may bring back painful memories and remind them of their loss. Those folks I am sure have a much higher level of appreciation of what our soldiers have fought for and what it has helped accomplish.
If have not served in the military in the past, what kind of soldier would you be? What are some common characteristics that make a good soldier? There was a discussion of this question online and here are a few of the conclusions:
Dependability – Certainty in performance of duty.
Courage – Recognizing fear of danger (or criticism), but proceeds in the face of it with calmness and firmness.
Decisiveness – Ability to make decisions promptly and to announce them in clear, forceful manner.
Endurance – mental and physical stamina.
Enthusiasm – Interest and exuberance in performance of duty.
Integrity – Soundness of moral principles -includes truthfulness and honesty.
Judgment – Weigh facts and possible solutions on which to base sound decisions.
Justice – Able to administer a system of rewards and punishments impartially and consistently.
Knowledge – Both professional and “people skills.”
Tact – Deal with others without creating offense.
Unselfishness – Avoid providing for one’s own comfort and personal advancement at the expense of others.
Loyalty – Faithfulness to country, corps, unit, to one’s seniors, subordinates and peers.
When I look at this list that is surely not all-inclusive of everything you need to be, I think that as flawed humans most of us would not fit what is required. I think I would be a pretty good soldier, but I would really have to push myself to exhibit the required qualities in order to get the job done.
Here at The Retirement Guys, we have been talking about teamwork a lot lately. Assembling a team of unique skills and talents and all working together towards a common goal. While that goal is important—helping our clients plan for a great retirement, it seems minor when comparing it to something that may require the sacrifice of your life. The comparison relates more to the willingness to work together with others as a cohesive unit to help accomplish a goal, whether the contribution is major or minor. My partner Nolan Baker is a former United States Marine. He did some important work as an electrician during the time he served. He often mentions though, that if his superior officer told him to change a light bulb, he was right on it. He was dependable.
As we think about Memorial Day and those that have died, let’s do it with a renewed appreciation for what has been done for us. Let’s ask ourselves, what kind of soldier would I have been? Let’s also decide to consider all of the necessary characteristics and do our best to apply them to our current lives as soldiers for families and whatever we stand for. Let’s be good soldiers for our husbands, wives, children, grandchildren and friends. Somehow, I think that is what those that have died for us on the battlefield would have wanted. Have a great Memorial Day, and when you think Retirement, think The Retirement Guys.
For more information about The Retirement Guys, tune in every Saturday at 1 PM on 1370 WSPD or visit www.retirementguysradio.com. Securities and Investment Advisory Services are offered through NEXT Financial Group Inc., Member FINRA / SIPC. NEXT Financial Group, Inc. does not provide tax or legal advice. The Retirement Guys are not an affiliate of NEXT Financial Group. The office is at 1700 Woodlands Drive, Suite 100, Maumee, OH 43537. 419-842-0550
There is something remarkable about a golden statuette that keeps audiences interested, especially for more than eight decades.
The Academy Awards, known for its iconic Oscar statuettes, have a rabid following among cinephiles and fashionistas alike. One group watches all of the nominees and predicts the winners; another looks forward to the couture gowns and priceless baubles on the Red Carpet.
A new book “85 Years of the Oscar,” penned by film historian Robert Osborne and published by Abbeville Press, captures this enthusiasm and includes stories and pictures from each year since the inception of the accolades in 1928.
An official publication of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which hands out the Oscars, the 472-page book offers meticulous details of every ceremony and the culture around it.
Osborne has chronicled the Oscars since the Academy celebrated 50 years of handing out Oscars in 1978, when he working for The Hollywood Reporter. The current book is updated and re-released every five years. “85 Years of the Oscar” is an update to “80 Years of the Oscar.”
For the publisher and president of Abbeville Press, Robert E. Abrams, the scope of the book and Osborne’s passion for film are highlights for his team.
“We’re fortunate to have Robert Osborne as the author of ‘85 Years of the Oscar’ because his passion for the art of film shows in the text,” said Abrams via an emailed statement. “It’s rare to have a reference book convey such love for the material and we appreciate Robert Osborne’s contribution to film history with this vibrant record of the evolution of the industry and the Academy.”
For an Academy that prides itself on honoring outstanding achievements in the film industry, this book lives up to the same standard in publishing.
The six-pound book is printed on heavy stock paper with full-color images throughout its detailed accounts of every ceremony and decade.
Oscar winners share their memories of winning on the bottom of some pages.
Lee Unkrich, winner of the 2010 Best Animated Feature Oscar for “Toy Story 3,” shares his memory about his fear of tripping up the stairs on his way to accept his statuette.
“It was a long, crazy journey to winning the Academy Award that ended in eight treacherous steps. Yes, I counted,” he said on page 384.
There are also facts and records featured at the back, including the films with the most Oscar wins (“Ben-Hur,” “Titanic” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” with 11), most honored performer (Katharine Hepburn, winner of four acting Oscars) and the first person to refuse an Oscar (Dudley Nichols, who won for his screenplay of 1935’s “The Informer”).
A massive 46-page index closes the book, followed by photo credits.
With more than eight decades of history, the nonprofit organization certainly has a story to tell. And this one is worth reading.