Tuesday, September 27, 2016

My love story - Part 3


I was that guy.



You know the type. I was the one that was nice and kind to all but not that kind of guy that would be boyfriend material. Don’t tell me you don’t know what I am talking about. I know. I have seen it many times. But, there will be more on that later.

Let me just say that it was not a great time in my life going through the whole puberty and raging hormones thing. Of course, I would doubt that anyone that looks back at their life as a teen would say it was great and full of roses either.  I had a hard time for lots of reasons. Actually, it was my own little piece of hell most of the time.

First of all, I went through a huge change in a very small amount of time. I hit my growth spurt early around 7th and 8th grade and have not really grown since . . . well not taller anyway. Rounder? Well that is another story. I was awkward in every sense of the word. My limbs were long and unfamiliar. I was tripping on flat ground for goodness sake! How embarrassing is that? My voice dropped to a resonance of a creepy stalker which made me feel like a stranger was usurping my mouth when I talked. And most of all, girls confused me. No really. I did not understand how they thought, how they decided anything, or most of all – how they chose to be a girlfriend to anyone. For a guy who had a body that was a complete stranger to his mind, this was a nightmare to have all these wants and needs but have a body that rebelled by shear change in hormones. I . . . was . . . hopeless . . . and lost.

To add to this, I really hated how the whole process of getting into a relationship worked. It was complete craziness to me. There were times when I watched how these guys played out their role in getting girlfriends thinking that I was watching two roosters fight over hens. For guys to have these competitions over a girl seemed liked the stupidest type of male silliness that there was on the face of the earth. I just didn’t get it. Then there was the whole idea of the girl actually provoking the behavior even more. It was insane. On top of all this were the couples that abused each other with purposely hurting each other’s feelings with either deception or gossip or some kind of obsessive control. All of us know that kind I am positive. In the end it seemed as if they would be on a trampoline bouncing in and out of a relationship falling apart and getting back together when to every outside sane observer it obviously was not meant to be. In some ways it was like watching a movie that had no plot or a game show that had no prize with everyone losing.


Well, I was not boyfriend material obviously. I learned early on that girls just did not like me in that way. I did not see relationships like other kids did. To me it was not a game or a competition. It was emotional and should be intuitively simple and straight forward. I talked to them to see if I liked their personality but to them it was too subtle I guess. I was not aggressively pursuing. To be honest, I had no idea how those guys in my school actually got a girlfriend in the first place. It was not like there was a book laying it all out for us. I honestly thought being nice and kind was the way to get a girl to like you. I guessed wrong. Then I saw how these guys treated the girls and I was sure that the world was insane.


And then there was the my annoying habit of being extremely shy. No one who knows my teacher personality would describe me as shy or introverted, but I am, and it was to the extreme back in my teenage years. I have gained a lot of confidence and esteem over the years with my wife but back then, nothing made sense to me. I had a hard time talking to girls and asking them if they would like to spend time with me. I would be the stag in the herd that hung out on weekends separated while the rest were all hooked up. I would say only a couple of words when spoken to or stumble my words. I was embarrassed easily and girls giggled at the way I acted. I was that guy.

It was not until junior or senior year of high school before I actually had the nerve to ask out a couple of girls. And that is when I learned a phrase that I would hate and loath for years – “You’re nice but . . .” I was not the kind that girls wanted to date or were interested in. I was the kind that was a good friend and nonthreatening. I had no ulterior motives nor was I looking for more or some such stuff that put all girls on their guard. I was just the nice guy. Trust me it only took a couple of times before I knew I was blackballed in my school. I had no chance. I mean really – we only had 90 some kinds in my whole graduating class. Think about it. I had no chance what so ever. I was a permanent “friend Zone” kid. Ugh, it was depressing.

It was hard to even decide who to date. With such a small class in school, there was a very limited amount of choices. The girls were either too freaky or scary or they were the very essence of Mean Girls, or they were too snobby. The girls that I considered good were seeing these guys that were treating them bad. I thought they deserved better but darned if I knew how to change that. Man, my teen age years figuring out the whole girl and guy thing were an exercise in confusion and lost causes.

I had all the same wants and needs of a teen too. I wanted to be close to a girl and be a boyfriend. Hey, I am a red blooded boy after all. Damn if I could figure out how to get out of the stigma I was in. I had crushes like normal kids where a look or a word from a girl would set my tummy fluttering. Of course my shyness was my enemy and I had no idea how to respond or get the girls to notice me in some other way than “friend Zone.” I was pretty hopeless and I am sure that the adults around me just shook their heads. Have you ever seen Big Bang Theory? Yeah, I was like Leonard – all hope and too much nerd. I just couldn’t figure out what the other guys did to get girls. Even if I did, it would not be my style so I would not have done it anyway. It was all just too complicated for me.  

I guess I really never changed from that guy in high school. I am still very much like that. I am still pretty shy and would never know what to do if I was looking for a girl. Just the thought of dating again sends fear wracking my insides. I lucked out though that my wife saw in me the type that would be faithful and steadfast. To this day I really don’t know what it was that drew her to me. I was still that geeky nerdy shy guy that was stuck in the friend zone. It was meant to be I guess.

I learned a lot about the motivation of people and how they really didn’t know what they wanted. I remember thinking that girls sure do like to be sad and misguided a lot. I just was not one of those people that wanted to get into all that drama. I wanted to find a good girl and stick with her awhile. Even though I was lost most of the time back then I did know one thing – I was not going to change who I was to join in on the craziness I saw all around me. Not that anyone was that interested in me anyway. I was that guy.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Marriage roles - an unpopular view


Why does my marriage seem to work so well? I seem to get this vibe a lot from my friends and those I am around. I mean, to an outside observer, I would guess that they would view my marriage as “perfect” or some closeness to that. Well, as I sit in church I understand that I have naturally gravitated towards the way the Bible describes the roles of husband and wife. It takes bit to really internalized what the bible is really saying about the jobs of the husband and wife. The problem is that the normal procedure with this topic is to pick and choose what verses gives one or the other more power and control in the scheme of marriage. What a death stroke to a marriage right off the bat when a couple takes this route. Context is the key here.

 First of all, I cannot stress to you enough that diligent, proactive, and deliberate choice is essential to start a marriage. Know what you want and expect out of a marriage before you choose your wife (I will speak as the male perspective). It is the guy that needs to make the choice and to ask the girl to marry. It is the choice of the girl to accept (because she has been doing the same diligent and deliberate choosing too, you see). I cannot say this enough that the beginning of successful marriage begins with the choice and the knowledge of oneself before you need to add another self to the whole thing.

 Probably the most used verse that is mutilated in meaning that is known to many is the whole “wives submit to your husband” and the “husband is the head of the wife.” That is only part of the story. If you read further down the passage, it says basically that husbands should treat their wives with the care and consideration as they would treat their own bodies. This I think is where the real lesson on the roles in marriage lie.

 Men, be the head of your marriage. This is a very deep and meaningful statement. It holds quite a bit of responsibility. A man needs to be a leader in his marriage . . . NOT a dictator. We as husbands are commissioned to make the decisions and the choices that will affect our lives. Some may feel this is too old school but I think it is more out of protection for the wives we hold so dear to us. When the husband makes the decisions it saves the wife from the guilt and inner pain of making decisions that don’t work out. It also gives them comfort that someone is doing something. It is a way for husbands to show that they taking care of their wife and protecting them. It is a way for us to show our love. Leading a family is done out of love and not out of control over another.

 By now it may seem that I feel wives have no part in a marriage other than to be bare foot and pregnant. Far from it! Men need to listen to their wives as they listen to their bodies. How can you carry on in life if you don’t understand how you feel and trust that your body is giving you information you need to carry on? Men need their wives to talk to. To bounce ideas off. To have  a second view point and perspective. Wives need to be supportive and trusting but also they need to be honest and up front. They should not be silent if they have concerns and misgivings. They need to express their worries and insight with their own knowledge and experience. The husband would do well to not be put off by this and be defensive but to use the person they should trust most to guide those decisions. One of the thousands of reasons I chose my wife was because she has strengths where I am weak. That is a big asset to our marriage and an advantage to us working so well together. Besides, it just adds more for me to admire with her being able to do with such ease what I find so difficult.

As I reread the above couple of statements, it is a hard to come out and just say that each person in a marriage has a job because gender roles are an unpopular concept now days. It is vital though. It is absurd to say that men and women are the same. They are not - physically, emotionally, and spiritually. That is the point I am making. How can a marriage be strong if men and women were the same with no differences to meld and complement each other? I feel that when one person uses this idea to smother the other that it is what will kill a marriage or a person’s spirit. Reveling in the differences and adding them to ours is where the strength comes from and that is the secret. Do my wife and I have our roles in our marriage? You bet ya! And we respect and cherish these roles because we depend on each other to make sure we are always adding and never taking away our importance to our marriage.


Monday, September 12, 2016

I am NOT ready to forgive. Not after what he did to me.


The topic came up again – forgiveness. It came up in discussion again. They asked me if I had anyone that I needed to forgive.  “Yes,” I said. And then they waited for me to say that I would forgive them. I just told them that I was not going to. They looked at me with surprise that I quickly declared that I was not going to forgive. Me. The mentor and co leader of our little group was not living out what I was teaching. Yes, I am not going to forgive that man who did me so much wrong.

I will not forgive the man who fired me from my job . .  . the only job I was fired from.

People who know me have a hard time believing that I was fired from my first teaching job. They look at me with blank confusion because they consider me a pretty good teacher. I am not the best, I will admit, but I can get the job done. Anyway, if you really want to know, technically I resigned. But in the back ground my other choice was being fired and my license being revoked. What choice would you make?

The guys at the table did their best to guide me into forgiveness but my clichés were in full force today. “You don’t understand what he did to me.” “I deserve to feel this way.” “You would feel the same if it happened to you.” “He put me through Hell.” Just bringing it up was like reliving the whole time in my life. We are not talking about a day or two or even several weeks. We are talking about a methodical and persevered process of getting enough evidence and case to actually feel like you can have a legitimate reason to fire a teacher. I mean come on; it was just vindictive to do this to a person who was trying to do the best job they could. I was not a bad teacher! It took years . . . years, for him to do what he did to me. What did I do to deserve this?

To this day, I still don’t really know. I never will. Maybe that is part of why it is so hard to forgive him.

Here, let me help you with what kind of hell he put me and my family through.

Let’s start with the first evaluation that changed my life. I came into the office with no idea of the boulder that was about to be laid on my shoulders. I sat down and he calmly expressed that I was doing alright and that I will receive “needs improvement” on my evaluation which meant that I had a few things to work on to make my teaching more effective. No problem, I am always up for constructive criticism and wanted to be better at what I chose as a career. I didn’t see his façade until the next year. So, I went through the whole year going to conferences and weekend developments gaining new things to use in my classroom.

Then when the next eval came up, I received another “needs improvement.” But this time was different. It came with what was called an “Improvement Plan.” This was a set plan of things I had to do that were required or I could be released from my position. Let me tell you, It was close to turning me into a slave. It had lesson plans that were lengthy to fill out and had to be submitted two weeks in advance, it had premade logs to enter all contact for students and parents and even other teachers. To put this improvement plan in perspective, it went as far as requiring me to wear a tie everyday (in which no one else was required) and the types of shoes that I should wear. And then I was told by my representative from the union that this was basically the last step the principal had before firing me.

Well, the year went by with me spending about every last minute with school and trying to keep a family and home going. I left every morning to get to school an hour and a half early so that I would have time to complete the mountainous paperwork. I would stop at a Micky D’s to get a coffee every morning so that I had something that would keep me from getting drowsy. The woman who worked there was a real angel. She would even have the coffee ready for me when they weren’t quite open yet. She would just wave me around and not charge me some days. I am not sure she realized what she was doing for me.

In the end though, it was not enough. I remember sitting in the chair out of sight in a conference room while I had my dignity and decency stripped away as he so calmly stated all the things that I was not able to do correctly. Then he stood up and said that I was going to be released form my job and walked out while I sat stunned and broken inside. I had more classes to teach and there was no way that I was in any condition to finish the day out. That is when the union rep said to go home and he would take care of it. I went home in my broken state and waited. I waited to tell my wife the most humiliating and worst news of my life – that I failed to keep my job. I failed to hold the essence of providing for my family.

The fear I felt is beyond anything I have ever known. The fear of losing my ability to provide for my wife and 2 year old son was suffocating. I promised her that I would care and keep her was fleeing from me and I had to look her in the eyes and tell her that I failed at keeping my promise. I will never get the image and time to fade into a lost memory. Ever.

I ended up moving states, my wife developed depression, our finances were unrecoverable, we were cut off from the life support of our families, we felt like nomads, and the stress of learning a new culture, a new job and new environment was uphill all the way. This story can go on for pages but the end will still have me in the same place . . . Forgiveness.

I am not forgiving him. I am not. I have a lot of hurt feelings and the fear of that time was worse than anything I had ever felt. I was debilitating. The suffering I had to endure and especially my wife is what fuels my anger and feelings. For goodness sake – my wife’s chemical balance was permanently changed because of it. She will for the rest of her life be on medicine for depression. I forced to move my life, home, and sever all ties to where I was settled and ready to live out our lives. I know that forgiving is the thing to do and it is not for them. It is for me. I just can’t do it though. I will not.

The pain is still too real for me. I just can’t. I am not ready to forgive.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

My love story - part 2


Dad’s lesson

It is needed to have a couple of sections devoted to my dad. Dad had a profound effect on me and how I not only treat my wife but women in general.  I have also seen how important the man is for the raising of children in the house hold. Don’t get me wrong, personally I feel that in order for a kid to really be steady that there needs to be both a mom and a dad in the household. Ma always said if you want to know how a guy would really treat their girl, look at how he treats his mom. I can write a whole book on the man that is my father. He is truly a man that is a model for all men. I am just touching on how he taught me to be a husband but he has taught me so much more.

The first thing I can think of with dad was a day in which he and ma were in a fight. You remember that they are pretty loud and heated. This one was and the yelling was in full stride. Grandpa was there working away with his usual indifference. As a side note, grandpa (dad’s dad) did odd jobs around the house all the time when I was growing up. He would just carry on as if there was nothing going on when ma and dad were arguing. To him, it was their thing and he had no business getting into it. His just did what he was there to work on. I bet it was a philosophy that a lot of your parents had, huh?

Anyway, dad and ma were getting heated when dad called ma a bad name. I really don’t remember what it was and probably didn’t even know it was bad or a cuss word anyway since I was so young. What I did know was what grandpa did. He was not a very loud person but he sure carried a big stick. He stopped what he was doing, looked up at dad from his kneeling position, and said, “Boy,” in a very even steady tone.

In that instant, both ma and dad were silenced with the shock that grandpa had broken into their arguement. Dad responded quietly with his head hanging, “Yeah pa?”

“You will not call your wife names.”

“Yes, pa.”

He gave a short glance at ma with a red face of shame. Then he left the house and ma left the room. Since that day, they still argued but I never heard him call ma another bad name or even cuss at her again. That was quite a strong lesson for me. In my mind it seems like it was recorded in hi-def. I realized then without knowing it that you never ever said anything you didn’t mean to the one you loved. I would not have been able to tell you that day that is what I learned but I have stuck to this since that day.

Honestly, I have never said any word to my wife or even about my wife that I did not mean. I don’t say anything to anyone that I don’t mean. Of course I have been told that I can sometime be too straight forward because of it. I feel that verbally attacking a person out of anger is really an out of bounds thing to do . . . just like grandpa did. I also think that if dad did not react to the browbeating  grandpa gave him, that I would not have gotten the message so clear. As an adult, I have no idea why I would do such a thing. I know though that when a person has their feelings hurt so bad they will lash out to hurt the other’s feelings in retaliation. It seems like a perfectly understandable reaction to a lot of people. It does not to me. I would rather say that my feelings were hurt but I love you anyway. I bet that would get a reaction.

Grandpa may not have known it but there were two boys that day that got a lesson loud and clear.

My love story - part 1


My parents.

A kid’s first view of what real love is comes from their parents or those who care for them. If you disagree then you are just kidding yourself. Denial is the first stage they say. Do you ever think – I wonder what they feel about my relationship with their mom? If you have kids, you know the next thing I say is the gospel – Kids observe, hear, say, and mimic everything they see. It is actually comical to see how well they can see and hear one thing and apply it, in context, in a whole other situation.  I remember when my wife and I were at a stop light with our boy in the back. A car cut us off and my wife smacked the wheel with a hiss of frustration. That is when a small 2yr old voice drifted up to the front, “Damn it. . . Dam it. . . Damn it.”

My parents are where I begin my love story. My parents were my first model and example of what love between two people was supposed to be like. As I look back at how they treated each other I realized that they truly taught me a lot about what true love was. I am not sure how the outside world saw them because hey. . . .I was just a kid. What did I know outside my bubble of trying to get what I wanted at the time I wanted it? I observed much though and I still do.

As I look back though, I realize that I did notice a lot. One of the things that seemed weird to me is how my friends seemed so nervous around ma and dad when they were fighting. My mom and dad had big yelling matches where they really were getting their point across (Nice way of putting it, eh?). It seems like it was a lot when I was little but then I don’t really think there were that many now. They were loud and they dragged on and on. Ma would cry and dad sometimes got to the point where he would hit something – but NEVER ma of course.  It was pretty terrifying to someone that had not grown up in our house. They would eventually lose steam and part ways for a while. Then they would be fine later that day or the next day. They would make up and it would be over. It was just the way they did arguments.

I didn’t realize it at the time but the friends I had looked differently on this from their point of view. They saw fighting as a precursor to divorce or discontent in the household.  For me and my siblings though, we never considered it. All my siblings and I knew from experience that they would make up and settle up and reconnect. I knew then that there is one thing that superseded everything else. They were married and they needed each other.  Fighting was normal but they loved each other and working it out was just part of their way. They never said anything that would hint to not wanting to be with each other. They never took their anger of the fight out on us either. To my siblings and I, the just fought over it a bit and then. . . well it was over.

I learned a couple things about this that I keep true to me today. Fighting and disagreeing is normal because we are talking about two different people who have feelings and those feelings can be hurt. It does not mean that you don’t love each other or that you bail over a disagreement. I also feel that reconnecting is important. Making up even when you still disagree is part of acknowledging the other’s need to be loved no matter what. It is also a way of saying that they are still important to you even if you are still mad or still disagree.

I also had decided that I never wanted a shouting match fighting style with my wife. Even though I was confident that ma and dad would make up and that they just had to get it out of their system, I personally didn’t care for it. So it seems weird to others when I say that my wife and I don’t fight. We really don’t argue or raise our voices at each other. It is kind of a weird concept to others. But I guess that when they see me with my wife they eventually understand. There are times nagging and complaining happen but those are justly deserved and we both start to carry our weight like we should. But as for the yelling . . . it is just not for me.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Fight Box


Have you heard of this?

 Gather a wooden box, a bottle of wine, and two glasses. Write love notes to each other explaining your feelings as you prepare to start your new life together as husband and wife. Seal your letters without letting the other read them.

During the marriage ceremony, put the letters, wine/glasses, in the box and then take turns sealing it shut with nails. Agree to keep the box sealed for 10, 15, 20 years or when you hit a “rough spot.”

I saw this on Facebook and there were pictures of the bride and groom doing this to go along with it. Of Course this had copious amounts of replies and comments of what a great idea it was and how it was romantic and on and on.

For me though, it rubbed me the wrong way to be honest with you. I think it just shows how today’s thinking and teachings about marriage are not where it needs to be. It is almost as if people are saying that either 1- you need to be reminded why you are married in the first place or 2- a “rough spot” is inevitable and it is likely your marriage will not survive it.

This is absolutely ludicrous to me. First of all, I don’t need reminding of the purpose I married my wife. Every day I wake up next to her I am reminded of how much I enjoy sharing my life with the person I chose to marry. I am comforted by the fact that no matter how I feel or think, I am loved unconditionally. Being married was one of the single most deliberate and purposeful endeavor I have made. I knew that I needed to be married and would find my love of my life. I don’t need some silly box for a “recharge” or reboot.

As for the “rough spots” in our marriage: There are no rough spots in marriage. Is it inevitable the every couple will question their marriage? I suppose this is the way a lot (majority?) of the public feel. I don’t know. This, however, is not true for me. I have never once ever had the slightest thought remotely centered on why I was married and if I even wanted to be married. To me it is stupid and unconscionable. Even the thought of being without her is like thinking of severing off a hand and living without it. You realize. .. this is after 16 years of marriage too.

To me, rough spots are more about life’s challenges. Being married is what gets you through those rough spots instead of questioning your marriage. It is the fear of the outcome that stresses the marriage. It is sad to think that a bad deal in life, which we all have, would make someone want to throw in the towel on their marriage instead of having their marriage actually carry them through it. Hell, that is one part of my marriage I depend on! Trust me; I have had stretches of my life where I probably would have been broken if it were not for my wife. It is hard to imagine but it is absolutely true.

Fighting too is what I don’t understand. Fighting is just an exercise in hurting your wife’s feelings. Really, what is fighting between two people who love each other? It is the venting of hurt feelings. In the process, feelings only get hurt more because our primal selves can be vindictive and vengeful. (wow, that was an intensely deep sentence, huh?) Talking it over and listening is more of a solution if you ask me. If it is something other than that, then maybe some reevaluation needs to be in order. I don’t think love notes in a box can fix it.

I understand the whole Fight Box thing, really, but on the other hand, there needs to be a better intent in getting married in the first place. In needs o be more purposeful and deliberate. Preparing for the “inevitable” is on the front end more so than some box that is waiting to be opened. I just don’t like the tone this puts on the wedding from the beginning.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Is love all infatuation or romantic?


      I am going to stick to romantic love because I think this is where you are going with it.  After being married for 15 years, this is definitely an interesting set of questions. I would say that if people were honest, they would say that there are some attributes of their loved ones that they don’t particularly care for. At the beginning of a relationship though, these characteristics are masked (or ignored) by the “puppy” love that is experienced with all new relationships.

      As time wears on, this infatuation that makes someone blind wears off and they will start to notice those undesirable attributes more. There is a choice then that they need to make – they love them with those “flaws” or they let the flaws be a deal breaker. This is when you see people that are breaking up due to pet peeves and irreconcilable differences. If they end the relationship it is usually because they may think that they didn’t really love that person after all or they fell in love for the wrong reasons or they were not the person that they thought they were and a whole host of other clichés.

      You know me though; I love my wife with an infatuation that will last a lifetime. I would not be honest if I didn’t say there were things she did or said or was a habit that I didn’t care for but, paradoxically,  I love those things too. I can truly say that I love all aspects of my wife – inside and out. This includes personality, morals, beliefs, and physically. Yes, even the undesirable stuff too. I believe that a person can love their spouse completely and wholly. Everything my wife does is part of who she is and I have grown to love them all – even the things that I don’t care for because they are part of her. In a sense, if those attributes happen to go away suddenly, she would be a different person. On the other hand, people are unwilling to accept that the person they marry will change and not be the person they first married 10, 15, or 50 years in the future. This change is part them and their perception, and part is the journey of life experiences. But this idea is for another time.

      It is difficult to love a person just for personality. If men and women were honest, then they would admit that personality, desire, and attractiveness are all linked together. It depends on which one holds the most pull for each person at first but in the end they all play a part. It is like a good friend of mine said one day, “You know, I used to think that Cathy Ireland was so hot . . . then she opened her mouth.” A girl can be very attractive but be nasty and mean or not very bright and suddenly you wonder why you thought they were attractive in the first place. This holds true for a strong relationship and true love. The stronger and deeper my love for my wife grows, the more attractive she is and the more appealing all of her traits are. Those that enter a relationship with a “wishful thinking” attitude may not really be ready for the love they are looking for. They are starting by looking for faults already. Maybe that is the problem in itself. I think that people are not making sure they know what they want to begin with. I don’t think that a person can truly fall in love with a person on personality alone and not start finding themselves being attracted to them physically or not believing the person is attractive. They would just stay close friends instead.

      I have heard the song from John legend called All of Me, and sometimes lyrics can be too paradoxical or demeaning for me while others will think it is romantic or have some deep truth to them. I think that the song is pointing out all the things that he sees that is negative attributes and then saying that he is okay with them. Personally, I really don’t see any negative aspects of my wife. There are some things she does that are not my way or quite my style but they are not negative aspects, just different from me. These things really are a benefit for me since they can help. I am more like the “Just the way you are” by Bruno Mars. This is more of a song that says that the girl sees all these “flaws” in herself and the guy doesn’t see them at all. He loves her and loves everything about her no matter how she feels about herself. Actually it has a tone that it doesn’t matter to him (other than letting her know that no one else sees such things either) because they are not flaws to him. Perspective you know.

      In the end, I just want to put out there one more idea - the idea of romantic love being an infinity emotion. I know I am not old yet but I am old enough and have observed enough of relationships that there is no one love recipe that will cement a lifelong commitment. Every single person has their own unique idea based on wants, needs, desires, preferences, and a host of other criteria. It is almost amazing that any two people can ever have a lifelong marriage. But then again, when they do fall for each other, it is inevitable that the idea of love and what they develop will be much different than what they thought it should or would be. At this point is where that false expectation comes in. The most import thing to realize is that when you criticize another for their relationship , remember it is not yours. Yep, they may be fine with theirs just the way it is just shy of anything that is destructive or illegal. I call romantic love an infinity emotion because of all the variables that inhabit the emotion and the number of people who all have their own unique ownership of their romantic love with their companion. Add to that the gradual change and maturation of the emotion over time and . . . well. See? It is an infinity of possibilities.

                 


Thursday, September 8, 2016

My love story - The Preface.


A love story. When I think of this idea, a lot of romantic movies and novels come to mind. Things like the Thorn Birds, soap operas, the Twilight series and Nicholas Sparks come to mind. I mean – I read a couple of chapters into Twilight and thought “Wait a minute! This is a romance story disguised as a vampire story!” Sorry, I have strong feelings about that. Moving on, these stories send a discordant vibration through my mind and feelings. I shudder when I see this type of romance perpetuated and wonder - How can these modes of media have such a skewed view of love? Why are they so touted on as being so romantic with fluttering women wanting their relationships to be just like them? It is far from the reality of what I have expected out of my relationships. It boggles me.

I have decided that I am going to tell my love story. It will be how I found my wife and the whole struggle to get to this point in my life where I contemplate why my marriage and relationship with her is so strong and steady. It will be boring compared to these over dramatized and unrealistic views I have mentioned. Mine will be inevitably comical and too real for it to be interesting. You see, I feel that my love story started way before I even knew what I thought love was. It does not start the first day I met my wife or the first date I went on in high school or even when I hit puberty. My love story started when I was just a toddler. So that is where the story will begin. A bit unorthodox I know but if you really think about it, you will realize that everything you know about love started long before you even realized it.

There is some wisdom out there that resonates with me in which the person we are today is a culmination of all the experiences up to this point. Insert Captain Kirk, “I need my pain!” It makes you wonder how different a person you would be if you did not have some of those experiences. My view of love is a culmination of my experiences with this weird elusive unpredictable emotion. Most of it was picked up unconsciously when I didn’t know I was learning something but my mind and soul did. People seem to wonder and marvel at my views of my wife and our marriage sometimes when I am talking about her and what I do for her and such. I don’t feel my actions and thoughts or words are that special. To me it all makes sense in my realm of this love idea. I am not sure if they really know how far back I go in my search of lifelong love. We will see if this story is worth telling by the end. Until then, more will be coming.



Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Teachers make a difference

This is long but I am not one to post much. I think as I finish out the year I need to post this email I sent to a friend in education that is leaving the profession. They, like a lot of teachers, were questioning whether or not they made a difference. This is what I sent to them:


That is untrue! Here, maybe you know this story, or maybe not. So, I will tell you why you should have faith that you have made an impact.


The Boy and the Starfish
...
A man was walking along a deserted beach at sunset. As he walked he could see a young boy in the distance, as he drew nearer he noticed that the boy kept bending down, picking something up and throwing it into the water. Time and again he kept hurling things into the ocean.


As the man approached even closer, he was able to see that the boy was picking up starfish that had been washed up on the beach and, one at a time he was throwing them back into the water.


The man asked the boy what he was doing, the boy replied, "I am throwing these washed up starfish back into the ocean, or else they will die through lack of oxygen.


"But", said the man, "You can't possibly save them all, there are thousands on this beach, and this must be happening on hundreds of beaches along the coast. You can't possibly make a difference."


The boy looked down frowning for a moment; then bent down to pick up another starfish, smiling as he threw it back into the sea. He replied,


" I made a Huge difference to that one!" Auhor Unknown~


" I made a Huge difference to that one!" As teachers, we work day after day to do what we know is best for our kids. There are times it is hard and days where the average person may have given up. We see the masses of kids where it seems that there are too many to help or too many have an impact . . . .too many that show no sign that it matters what we do. That is far from the truth! The starfish are unable to tell that boy what impact he had on them -they live in a different world and a different time. But, the boy has faith that he did make a difference. Sometimes as a teacher we keep at it even though there are times and long stretches that it seems like we are not making much of a difference at all, but that is not true. Students are like the starfish and they just don't have the ability or they realize latter on in life what we meant to them. Honestly, sometimes they just don't know how to express themselves. We just have faith that we do and that is why we come to work everyday.
So to all my fellow teachers, you have made a difference. They may not be able to tell you but have faith. You did make a difference!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Life Story - The Octopus Story


 

            This is a life story that is a tried and true for my classes. The kids have affectionately called it The Octopus Story. What the point I try to get to is that kids say the darndest things. I also want the kids to know that there should be no shame in calling anything by its proper name. This one is truly a favorite of my students.

 

 

            One day I was out shopping with my wife and son when he was about two and a half years old or so. My wife was looking at the clothes and you know I love my wife dearly but man can she spend some time looking at clothes! My wife is 5 foot, you see, and when she darts into the racks. . .well, I can’t see her. So, usually I just set up by a rack on the isle.

            This day I was standing in the aisle close to a sale rack in which another woman was peeking at. I was watching my son in his stroller. He was really into looking at this stuffed Octopus we had handed him. You know, it was one of those buy this for five bucks and we will donate ninety nine cents to some charity type of thing.

            Well, he was running his hand over this thing and turning it over and over. He was really giving this thing a once over. He turned the octopus over so that the legs were facing up and he was looking at the bottom. He ran his finger over the embroidered word “happiness”.  The material on the bottom was two pieces sewn together with a seam right down the center with the legs spreading out. He ran his finger down the seam once and then paused and did it again. Then he looked up at me and said,

            “Daddy?”

            “Yes, Son?”

            “Where’s its penis?”

 

            Yep, that is right. He said penis. Now this was not really a huge surprise to me since that is what we have always called it. That is its name so we always use the proper names. Why not? It is better than coming up with all the silly stuff like wee wee or digginy or Bob or some such nonsense.

            Anyway, my son was gifted with the ability to pronunciate any word he hears to the point where there is no doubt as to what he said. So, when he asked me this question, there was no doubt what he asked and it was clear as a bell.

            There was one other problem, the woman on the other side of the rack heard him too. I had no doubt. Out of the peripheral vision, I saw her head snap up and towards me. I did not even have to look to see the expression on her face. Thinking quickly as I could as I felt the heat rising in my face I said back to him,

            “Son, Octopuses don’t like peanuts, Elephants like peanuts.”

            He looked at the stuffed animal contemplating while I just hoped that he heard what I said and went with the change of subjects and finally said, “Octopus don’t like peanuts, Elephants like peanuts.”

            Whew!!! “That’s right son, very good,” I said back as I moved away quickly.

            To this day, I have no doubt that the woman had no questions about what my child had said. And when I think back, I should have just explained it to him and who cares what that woman would have thought about me as a father.

            Yet, it was funny! One to keep in the memory book for a long while.

There is always a beginning



Let’s be honest with ourselves – will you really want to read these blogs? I am not sure really. In my mind I struggle with the idea that I have that much to say that others would want to read. I mean, who am I to feel that what I have to say is so important as to post on the internet? . . . The Internet! Seriously, are my thoughts really that great? Well, we will see.

I am just a simple Guy. I have a normal life with a steady job as a teacher, a wife whom I love dearly, and two kids who are growing faster than I would like to admit. As I have put thoughts out on social media or have spoken to people, I have been urged several times to give a class on being a husband or to write a book of my reflections. But, as with all things, are these thoughts worth reading? The humble side of me just shies away with a blush thinking that I do not.  

So, I have decided to venture into a Blog. I guess it is low risk seeing that people will read it if they want to or it will just sit in cyberspace to collect electron dust of the ethereal. Here is my idea of how it will go – I will blog with the hats that I wear on a daily basis. No, not literally. I am referring to the idiom. I have several personas that I perpetuate: Teacher, Father, Husband,  Ponderer, Artist . . . and so on. These are what I will write from. In the end, this will be a life story, if you will, that will string together how a common everyday Guy goes through life thinking and experiencing his life.

You never know. Maybe there will be something that will strike you and be an epiphany. You never know.