Tag Archives: children

What makes a REAL dad?

by Michael Mitchell

I’ve written a lot on one of my other blogs on the many qualities I think of when I think about what makes a man a REAL man. Qualities like generosity, courage, simplicity, contentment, strength, and many others. And in many ways, those same general qualities also apply to being a dad.

Even so, as I’ve become more comfortable in my role as a new father, I’ve begun to ponder what it really takes to be a good father. Thankfully, I had a pretty good example in my own old man and so that’s been helpful, but (much like everything in life) I want to come up with my own set of standards for the kind of dad I want to be. With that in mind, I’ve started a list (for some reason, I’m really into lists these days) of what I think it means to be a REAL dad. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

1. A real dad gets on the floor and plays with his children.
2. A real dad looks for ways to add joy to his children’s lives.
3. A real dad is intentional about setting loving, but firm boundaries for his children.
4. A real dad doesn’t blow up at his kids.
5. A real dad is there.
6. A real dad is willing to drop whatever he’s doing from time to time just to be in the presence of his child.
7. A real dad protects, stands up, and fights for his kids.
8. A real dad gives his children increasingly more freedom to explore and test themselves the older they get.
9. A real dad imparts wisdom to his children.
10. A real dad is interested in the lives of his children.
11. A real dad seeks to know his children by asking lots of open ended questions without making them feel like they are being interrogated. Continue reading What makes a REAL dad?

On Being a Bear

by Joey Rodman

There was a time when my youngest would tell people that when she grew up, she was going to be a bear. She did not mean that she would dress up like a bear, or that she would be aggressive, or that she would marry someone and change her last name to “Bear”….she meant she would literally become a bear. If you pressed her a bit she would tell you that she was going to be a “Brown Bear” like in Eric Carle’s book. She was 2.

I often became annoyed with people who would tell her that she could not, in fact, “be a bear” when she grew up. I felt like either she already knew this on some level and they were underestimating her intelligence, or she really did believe people could become bears and they were squashing her childhood wonder. I often battled back and forth between these two poles in my anger toward the idiots who would say “people can’t be bears.”  This was amplified by the fact that just about any of them would turn around a few minutes later and tell that she could be “whatever she wanted to be” when she grew up.

The child wanted to be a bear. I was not going to tell her she couldn’t. I was interested in finding out how she planned to do this.

She is now 7 and if you ask her what she wants to be when she grows up she will tell you that it is “a stupid question.”  Everyone knows, or should, that “…she is queen of the world. While she’s not technically ‘in office’ at the time being, her existence is not predicated on popular opinion of her political power. She is queen of the world. When she is older, everyone will realize this. Right now, we’re all too stupid to ‘get it’ and for that she pities us.”

She is told over and over by any adult around her (save her father and me) that she can’t “grow up and be queen of the world” because it’s not possible. There is no queen of the world. She will of course explain to them that not only is there a queen of the world, but they’re looking at her right now.

I tell you this because I think it’s a symptom of our bigger problem. Not only do we think that things are the way they are because they are “supposed to be that way” but we fail to imagine that anything will really ever drastically change. This type of willful amnesia annoys me the most.

Continue reading On Being a Bear

A Spotless House Is a Sign of a Wasted Life

Hello, RDC community!  Before I jump into this post, let me introduce myself.  My name is Kendy Cox and I’ve been asked to blog about various women’s issues.  I have vast expertise in this content area because, well, I’m a woman!  Regardless, what I write is simply my humble opinion and I want to encourage the sharing of numerous perspectives.

My full-time gig consists of serving the couples and individuals of this state through the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative.  More specifically, I work for Public Strategies, a private project management firm which coordinates statewide services through a contract with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.  My other full-time gig consists of being a wife to a wonderful husband and taking care of two lovely kids (the adjectives change depending upon the day…smile!).  I’m looking forward to musing about the issues on my mind and in my heart, as well as reading your feedback.

So, here we go…

I’ll never forget the day I happened upon this quote on a friend’s Facebook page:   “A Spotless House Is a Sign of a Wasted Life.”

I felt validated for the first time in my adult life.

The reason this pithy statement stuck with me is because I discovered it at a time when I was really struggling to keep everything in life “just so.”  Like many of you, most days are spent working hard at my job, serving as chauffeur to numerous kid-related activities, attempting to fit in a reasonably healthy dinner for the family, overseeing homework tasks, bathing kids and getting clothes ready for the next day, and hoping beyond hope that I find time to exercise and/or communicate with my husband about more than who’s picking up whom and at what time.  As an aside, I do this with the help of my attentive and helpful husband, so I tip my hat to those of you doing this solo!  With all of this activity, I end most days in a state of sheer exhaustion and many times feeling incredibly disappointed by the general disarray of my home.

You know what disarray looks like, right?  Remnants from dinner still on the table, clothes and backpacks strewn across the living room floor, and maybe even two weeks’ worth of laundry waiting to be folded and put away.  While keeping up with the house may not be your particular issue of concern, I know I’m not alone as I’ve talked with far too many women who tie their self worth to their ability to do EVERYTHING.  And not just everything, but everything well.

Now, I’m not striving for a feature spread in Good Housekeeping, but most days I would be lucky to attract the attention of So So Housekeeping.  My anxiety about it is ever present and my own negative self talk is brutal.  But let’s think rationally for a moment.  How absurd is it for any of us to fool ourselves into believing that a spotless home is a more powerful reflection of our worth than any of the other amazing things we do every day?  Let’s think about the activities that dirty up the house in the first place….cooking a great meal, building a fort with our kids, or sorting through weeks of newspapers to find that 20% off coupon we need to buy a pregnant friend a much-needed registry item.  Yes, the result may be messy blankets, newspapers, or dishes, but those are the remnants of a life lived, memories made, and relationships nurtured to their fullest.

So, the next time you look around at a less than perfect home, try to go easy on yourself.  Trust me, I’m working on it right along with you.  Let’s remember that we work hard for our families in many different ways and our work cannot always be balanced equally.  Something’s gotta give, and the laundry will be there tomorrow…just don’t trip over it on your way out the door to do something amazing!