Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

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Here’s a short but pretty cool story about my father. Dad is 91 now and not in the best of health, but he’s a pretty amazing guy who’s lived a pretty amazing life all things considered. I plan to write a story about all that one day, but for now I thought I’d share a short story about something that happened when I was perhaps 5-years old.

Dad was a smoker back then, but most men were in those days. Just look at an old photo from back then and you’ll see a cigarette in almost everyone’s hand. Hell, doctors smoked in their office as they examined you. I’m dead serious.

There’s probably a bottle of booze in his drawer too.

The cigarette folks even advertised using doctors. Crazy but true, man.

You cannot make this stuff up. What can I say? People didn’t know. And it was a different time, in many ways better, in some ways most certainly not.

Bottom line, the link about cigarettes and lung cancer had been known for a decade or so, but was for the most part ignored. Hence, Dad the smoker.

Let me take you back to the winter of ’60 or ’61, maybe even ’59. I don’t really remember. I just recall it was winter because there was a fire in our fireplace. It was in the evening, and I climbed up on Dad’s lap as he sat by the fire burnin’ a Lucky Strike.

At one point I reached up and tried to grab his cigarette, because hey, I was a kid. I got my hand slapped, and it was then the following conversation took place:

Dad: “Hey, what are you doing? Stop it.”

Me: “I want to try it!”

Dad: “You can’t. You’re too young and besides, cigarettes are bad for you.”

Me: “Then why are you smoking one?” 

Really, that was all it took. Because at that point Dad paused, looked at the cigarette in his hand, and flipped it into the fireplace.

And he never smoked another cigarette in his life.

I asked him about this recently, and he too remembered that evening. He told me he just didn’t feel he could justify smoking while at the same time telling me how bad it was for you. So he quit to prove a point, on the spot, for himself but mainly for me.

And I’m glad he did.

 

Nope.

Rueters: No one loves the Home of Unlimited Soup, Salad, and Breadsticks as much as one Arkansas couple who has decided to name their daughter after Olive Garden. When Justin and Jordan Garton found out that they would be having their first child in December 2017, they knew they wanted to give her a name with “Italian origins,” ABC News reports. After considering and then rejecting the name Olive Garton, they landed on the much more subtle Olivia Garton. Soon after marrying in 2015, the Gartons bought Olive Garden’s famous “never-ending pasta pass” for $100, allowing them to eat unlimited amounts of pasta and guzzle countless soft drinks at their local restaurant for a set period of time. For six to seven weeks, the couple ate there every single day. Because of Justin’s Italian roots and their love of the eatery, when the couple found out they were expecting, they knew they wanted to give their first child an Italian name. For a while, they considered naming her Olive but ultimately decided it would be too much — they feared kids would bully their daughter named after the Italian eatery. When they landed on Olivia, though, they both knew “immediately” that it was the one. In their minds, that’s a less mockable pun. The couple also landed on a middle name, Michelle. Her initials will be OMG.

Hey Justin and Jordan Garton, let me give you some advice. If you don’t want your kid bullied, don’t name her after an Italian restaurant chain. And what will you name your next kid? Redd Lawbster? Crakker Barrell? Buffelow Wildwing? PF Chang? Wait. That last one might actually work.

And OMG for her initials? Nah, that will never get here picked on.

On a related note, I shall now give my Top 5 restaurants you could name your kid after and it would be cool:

  1. Bonefish
  2. Carrabba
  3. Longhorn (boys only)
  4. O’ Charley
  5. Benihana

Thank you and goodnight.

Back on the late 60s and early 70s there was a baseball camp near the town I grew up in. It was Ted Kluszewski’s Baseball Camp, run by the former Cincinnati Reds’ slugger from back in the day. During the days of the Big Red Machine, “Big Klu” was the team’s hitting instructor. Anyway, it was a cool camp with kids attending from all over the world. Players ranging in age from 6- 17 attended the camp, and local baseball teams would go there to play against the campers. Bottom line, I spent a ton of time there, either playing in or watching games.

As I’ve mentioned before I used to spend a copious amount of time at my Uncle Myrl’s house and I basically went wherever they went, which leads to my story.

My Aunt Dorothy had taken my cousin Mick and I to the camp to watch some games, and it being the late 60s and all she just dropped us off and left, telling us she’d be back in a couple hours. Alas, it was a simpler time. Anyway, she returned later to pick us up, and we hopped in the backseat for the ride home.

However, as we were pulling out of the lot a guy waved us to a stop, and as I recall he didn’t look happy. Aunt Dorothy rolled her window down to see what was up, and the following conversation (as I remember it) then took place.

“Ma’am, I’m sorry to stop you but your boys have something that belongs to us.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Your kids stole some of our baseballs. I have people who saw them getting foul balls and sticking them down their pants.”

[Those of you who want to insert a “balls in your pants” joke may do so now.]

What I witnessed next was the most epic ass-ripping my young ears had ever heard, and believe me, I’d heard a lot. But alas, my aunt’s gush of fury and vitriol wasn’t directed at us. Instead, Aunt Dorothy tore into this poor dude in every way imaginable, letting him know in no uncertain terms that she had not raised thieves and there was no way on God’s green earth we would ever stoop to the level of a common criminal.

During all of this Mick and I sat quietly in the backseat, not saying a word.

Turns out there was a reason for this.

I recall the guy backing away with his hands up as he said he was sorry for the mistake and left, presumably to look for the real ball burglars or perhaps a corner in which to weep.

You know, we might have gotten away with it had Aunt Dorothy not had to make a sudden stop on the way home in the little town of Bainbridge when some jackass pulled in front of her. But he did, and that was when all the baseballs we’d pilfered rolled out from under the backseat from where we’d hidden them, onto the front floorboard, and around the feet of the woman who’d just defended us to the ends of the earth to a man who’d had the audacity to call us crooks.

Which, incidentally, we now very clearly were.

Well, I thought the tongue-lashing given to our accuser was bad, but it paled in comparison to what was laid on Mick and I now.  We were yelled at, belittled, shamed, mocked and at one point may or may not have been called assholes.

Which, again, would not have been a false statement.

Note: Understand that the fact I was a nephew wasn’t figured into the equation. When I was with my cousins I was considered one of the immediate family in every sense of the word. This was often a good thing but sometimes not. This time? Decidedly not.

We then had to suffer the indignity of returning to the baseball camp, giving back our stash, and apologizing to the man who had accurately accused us of our larceny in the first place. I believe we had to perform this indignity in front of an entire Pop Warner Little League team who happened to be nearby. The fact that a couple of them were laughing at us only added weight to our collective embarrassment.

And I still remember our accuser’s smirk as he accepted the returned baseballs. Dude was absolutely smug I tell ya.

And Aunt Dorothy must have figured we’d learned our lesson because as far as we ever knew she never told my Uncle Myrl or my father Ralph, and for that we were thankful. If she had a more physical punishment would have undoubtedly been administered, and that would’ve hurt a lot more than an ass-ripping by an aunt, the smug-smirk of a baseball camp employee, or the laughs of a couple 5-year old little league punks.

Alas, we survived, although we may have been blackballed from Ted Kluszewski’s Baseball Camp for a week or two, I cannot recall for certain.

Just another day in the life of a Bourneville kid.

Haven’t these people seen Children of the Corn?

The Post: A 3-year-old boy was found wandering alone through a 10-acre corn maze in northern Utah after his family left him behind, not realizing the small child was missing until the next morning, police say.

The distraught preschooler was discovered by a good Samaritan on Monday night near the entrance of the Crazy Corn Maze in West Jordan, near Salt Lake City.

“He was crying and upset and obviously scared,” Kendall Schmidt, co-owner of the corn maze, told The Washington Post in a phone interview Wednesday. “We were trying to calm him down.”

He was handed over to the Utah Division of Child and Family Services for the night. It wasn’t until Tuesday morning that his mother noticed he was missing, police said.

Number one, 10-acres is one big-ass Corn Maze. Number two, if you run a Corn Maze shouldn’t you, you know, run a sweep of the damn thing before you close to make sure there are no people left in there? That’s Corn Maze 101, man. The whole idea of a Corn Maze is for people to get lost in it. Number three, anyone who believes these parents are idiots. They clearly left the kid and made a run for it. Nobody leaves a Corn Maze, goes home and goes to bed without realizing their 3-year old isn’t around. “Hey, anyone seen little Ernie? Breakfast is ready.” That’s insane.

Update: The kid is now in the custody of Children’s Services, thank God. Let somebody have him that doesn’t lose their kid like you lose your car keys.

Singing for his daughter. Cute. Also amazing.

So somebody put together a list of their favorite “Dad Quotes” and I must say there are some gems included. Before I begin, however, let me add a couple of my own.

One time a friend of Dad’s was visiting. I was probably 13 at the time. Dad’s friend casually asked me if I had a summer job, to which my loving father replied, “Are you kidding me? Dave thinks manual labor is the President of Mexico.”

Gee thanks, Dad!

Another time I stopped down at my parent’s house while Dad was putting in an electric fence. Mom was up at the house planting some flowers or something. I walked over to talk to Dad and he noticed me cautiously avoiding the fence. He said, “Don’t worry. It’s not hooked up yet.” Of course at that point I reached over, touched it, and proceeded to get the living hell shocked out of me. Then Dad chuckled and yelled up to Mom, “You can turn it off now! It works!”

Seems Dad was just waiting for a guinea pig and I’d strolled in at the right time. I swear that happened. Dad thought it was quite humorous.

Anyway, what follows are some of the hilarious “Dad Quotes” I stumbled across today. Enjoy:

I remember these days.

[click to view]

Moms, man. Just diabolical.

Boom. Roasted.

So some bratty kid climbed into one of those machines where you try and grab

Future serial killer.

a stuffed animal with a claw, and the internet has exploded with cuteness overload.

Really? Let’s reward the kid for misbehaving? At the risk of offending new age parents everywhere, I shall now peruse the entire article, with my comments interjected:

Washington Post: Damien Murphy’s 3-year-old son, Jamie, is one of those curious, mischievous kids who gets into everything. 

Translation: Little Jamie is a spoiled brat who hasn’t been taught to behave properly. He’s on the road to being a wife-beater, or perhaps a serial killer.

“Whenever I walk into a room and see something that could be trouble,” said Murphy, of Nenagh, Ireland, “I instantly see Jamie in it. He’s a real boundary pusher.” 

Newsflash: Jamie is 3-years old. He’d “push boundaries” by walking off a cliff if you let him. It’s your job, Damien Murphy, to set his boundaries.

Once, for example, he and his dad were looking after an aunt’s dog. Jamie “woke up early in the morning and cut a bunch of hair off it,” Murphy, 35, told the Washington Post.

Adorable. I wish the dog would have eaten him, or at the very least tore off a limb.

Still, Murphy said, he didn’t see it coming — it being Jamie’s Great Toy Machine Caper — when he, Jamie and Jamie’s brother, Shane, 5, walked into Jump ‘n’ Gyms, a commercial play center that boasts a “multilevel play area” filled with kidly delights. 

Yes, the author of this article used the word “kidly.” That alone should be grounds for dismissal.

Among them was one of those big claw machines filled with cuddly stuffed teddy bears, doggies, giraffes and dragons, a contraption tantalizing to young and old alike but especially to 3-year-olds. Even though it says “Prize Every Time” in big yellow letters, 3-year-olds can’t read and are smart enough anyway not to be taken in. 

Yep. They’re smart enough not to be “taken in” yet stupid enough to do what comes next.

Indeed, getting a prize can be tough unless you’re small enough to climb inside and it happens that Jamie was small enough, said his father. 

“I was sitting down having a coffee,” Murphy said, when Jamie wandered off for just a second. “He went out of my sight, walked off just to my left. I heard what I thought was a muffled complaint,” looked over and there he was. “He was just there, inside the machine, looking out of the glass.” 

Sure, dude was just sitting there ignoring his kid as the brat had the time to climb inside a freaking toy machine.

It seems that Jamie had climbed in through the flap where the toys come tumbling out, his father said. “He seemed a bit panicked,” said Murphy, “and then I told him, ‘listen, you’re fine,’ and gave him a big smile. Then he started laughing. Jamie was then rescued from the machine by a visiting fireman.

And this, my friends, is where the opportunity for a teaching moment was missed. A true, caring parent would not have smiled. They’d have walked up, told little Jamie he was stuck forever, and left him alone in there for 20 or 30-minutes. The point would have then been imprinted into the little punk’s skull forever.

The owner of the gym, James O’Sullivan, said he had the machine removed and asked the company that operates it to review it. “At this stage,” he said, “we are thankful that Jamie didn’t manage to hurt himself during his little adventure.”

Of course, because it’s the machine’s fault. Sigh.

Dad, and son were reunited, joined by two cuddly green dragons, courtesy of Jump ‘n’ Gyms.

S-u-r-e, let’s reward the kid and his asshattery by giving him toys. Lesson learned! Sweet Jesus.

But honestly, what’s next?

“Omigod! You should’ve seen that little rascal Sebastian today! I turned my head for a few seconds and he ran into 8-lanes of freeway traffic! That little rapscallion was nearly squashed by a Kenworth W900! Totes adorbs!

Good Lord. I would’ve made Damien try and rescue Jamie by using the claw, and if he couldn’t do it little Jamie would have to stay in there. Maybe shove some Twizzlers up there to sustain the little delinquent for a couple days.

PS- Feel free to bitch in the comments section, and I will ignore you as always.

These little twin dudes know how to have a good time, man.

Well, hell.

funny-christmas-posts-130-58593d36c3149__700

My 3-year old daughter stood next to her newborn brother, looked at him for awhile, then turned and looked at me and said, “Daddy, it’s a monster. We should bury it.”

 

baby

My sister described her “imaginary” friend, saying: “He sits on my bed and waits for his mom. He’s not allowed to go home by himself because of his arm.” I asked what happened to his arm, and she said: “His mom ran him over when he was drawing with chalk. That’s why he’s always crying, because he doesn’t like being dead.”

15-creepy-things-babysitters-heard-from-kids-_-11

When my son was small, I was talking to him about growing potatoes. I described how you bank up the earth around them as they grow, and he said “I know Dad. I used to do that when I was an old man.”

 

potato

Walking past an old cemetery, my 3-year-old son casually said, “My brother is in there.” When I reminded him that he didn’t have a brother, he said, “No Mama, from before. When the other lady was my mommy.”

 

creepykid

I was with my sister, her husband, and their 2-year old daughter. We were talking about loved ones that had recently passed (my father had died sometime recently). My brother-in-law went and grabbed a picture of his mother, who had died in a car crash when he was six, to show me. When my niece saw the picture, though, she started laughing. We asked her what was so funny and she looked at us and said, “That’s my special friend who sings to me.” I still shiver a bit just thinking about it.

 

omigahd-no-wai-weird-kid-1300745022n

 

I was tucking in my two year old. He said “Good bye, Dad.” I said, “No, we say good night.” He said “I know. But this time its goodbye.” I got up to check on him a few times to make sure he was still here.

 

say-what

So yesterday we learned that, for the first time, more 18-34 year olds are living with their parents than not. Disgusting. And now, this:

[WSJ] – In the last several years, there’s been growing alarm over the fact millennials-welcome-to-life-that-participation-trophy-you-would-get-as-a-kid-it-doesn39t-work-here-meme-35512-2that many young people can no longer perform basic skills. In fact, one survey goes so far as to say that there are 20 basic skills – ranging from reading a map, looking something up in a book, spelling, grammar, handling money and handwriting – that are in danger of extinction in some of the developed parts of the world.

According to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, this is becoming such a problem in the West that a couple of enterprising individuals created a business to pass these skills on to the next generation. Known as “The Adulting School,” the business aims to teach young people how to handle basic financial matters, simple household management, and other things one needs to live a successful adult life.

While it sounds humorous, it’s also rather tragic at the same time. How in the world did we end up with a generation of incapable adults?

Well, listen up wall Street Journal. I’ll tell you exactly how we ended up with a generation of incapable adults:

It’s their mommy and daddy’s fault.

Consider this – Parents have been taught that saying “no” to their child could permanently damage that child’s self-esteem. They’ve leaped in to “save” their child from any form of adversity, be it from a teacher, coach or neighborhood bully, rather than letting the child deal with the problem themselves.

They’ve also given them allowances and provided them with all the money they want, but never taught them to effectively earn and wisely manage that same money.

Parents also, for reasons unknown to me, feel their child should always be entertained. Because of this they involve them in every activity under the sun, from play dates to showering them with toys and computer games, but neglect to keep them involved in other ways like, you know, chores and stuff.

For you millennials, I know it’s a foreign concept but “chores” are activities like mowing the yard, taking out the trash, cleaning your room, barbaric stuff like that. Some kids even used to have to prepare their own plate at dinner! Gasp!

Honestly, young adults should not have to be taking an “Adulting Class” in order to learn the basic skills of life. Good grief. They should already have learned them from their parents as they grew up.

Really, shouldn’t kid’s lives revolve around their parents and not vice versa? Shouldn’t the ultimate goal of every parent be to raise a child that will someday, sooner than later, be prepared to exist on their own, independently?

Sadly, until parenting changes and children realize they’re not the center of the universe we’ll never see another generation of capable, responsible young adults.

Until then, there’s always Adulting Classes!

PS – Just talking about modern parenting in general, there are some amazing exceptions of course. But seriously, “Adulting Classes”?

CNBC: For the first time on record, living with parents is now the most yahoo-boomerangcommon arrangement for people ages 18 to 34, an analysis of census data by the Pew Research Center has found.

To that point, about 33% of all millennials live with their parents, slightly more than the proportion who live with a spouse or partner. It’s the first time that living at home has outpaced living with a spouse for this age group since such record-keeping began in 1880.

See what you’ve done, parents? You’ve babied, spoiled, and enabled your kids to the point that they’re sponging off of you until they’re nearing middle-age. I swear to God I hope they eat you out of house and home.

And how do these people date? What do you do after dinner, take your girl back for a nightcap with mom and dad? I can imagine the conversation as you pull in the driveway:

“Ooh, nice place you have here, Seth. How long have you lived here?”

“Uh, 34-years actually.”

Hey, when I was younger anyone living with their parents past the age of 25 was ridiculed, mocked, scorned and possibly spat upon.

Is it that hard to raise a kid that grows into a strong, independent, self-reliant person by the age of 21?

Grow up America!

Honestly, this is just an awful example of parenting. Dude’s just freaking out like a child. On a fight scale, this was about a 2 out of 10. Heck, when my son was 10-years old he would’ve loved to have been that close to the action. I would have been like, “Kip! Look, a fight!” This father is acting like somebody pulled out an Uzi or something. Good God bro, man up a little. You’re embarrassing your son.

Note: I know, the that one idiot pushed a woman. Not cool. Still, big overreaction.

freakout

I see it every day on social media or hear it in the hallways – kids anywhere coupleholdinghandsloveboycutegirl-6337b3b373e70eab74f82c9f0d784d4f_hfrom 7th grade to 12th telling their boyfriend or girlfriend, “I love you!”

Sigh.

First off, how does a 13-year old kid know what love is? I’m pretty sure I was 25 before I ever uttered those words, and even then I wasn’t sure what it meant. Hell, I’m not 100% sure I know what it means now.

Has the word been cheapened so much that everyone just sort of tosses it around haphazardly? Because 90% of these kids will break up within a month, ya know? Apparently they don’t know this?

Hey, when I was in high school we were terrified to say those words, because it meant commitment. We were under enough pressure in our relationships without bringing that strain into it.

Yikes.

Another phenomenon I see these days are parents being really, really involved in their kid’s relationships. You see the parents of both kids having picnics together, going on vacation with each other, all sorts of activities. Hey, my mom and dad wouldn’t have known my girlfriend’s parents if they walked through their front door.

Then again, my parents probably knew I wasn’t in it for the long haul anyway, so there’s that.

Still, doesn’t it put pressure on the kids when their parents get involved with each other? When the inevitable breakup occurs, you’re not only breaking up with your boyfriend or girlfriend, you’re breaking up with his/her mom and dad, brother Seth, little sister Emily and Uncle Ned from Illinois.

Geez, back off a little, will ya? Give those kids some breathing room, man. Like I said, teenage relationships are tough enough without that kind added of burden to haul around.

So kids, save your declarations of undying love until, you know, you’ve been together for more than a week. In fact, let’s make it a combination of a 2-years and at least 18-years of age. Even then it’s too early, but I’m feeling generous today.

And mom and pop? S-l-o-w down a tad, ‘ite?

slowdown

brad

For some of us, 9/11 has another, even deeper meaning . . . 

During my coaching career I’ve been lucky enough to have had some great parents. Oh, I’ve had a few of those “helicopter” parents that you read about, always wanting to hover over their kid and protect them. For the most part, though, my parents have been fantastic. Perhaps the best example I can think of involved Brad Kerns, father of Craig, and a very good friend of mine. Brad passed away 15-years ago today on 9/11, but those who knew him will never forget him.

The story below illustrates exactly what I’m talking about . . .

It was during my early years of coaching at Paint Valley, and we were having an open gym. Brad was there watching, and at some point during play Craig and another player, Josh Anderson, got into an argument about the score. On the one hand I was pissed that they were being idiots on the court, on the other I was secretly happy that they were so competitive that they were arguing over an open gym score.

Anyway, after I told them to cool it they kept it up. Finally, I’d had enough. I threw them out of the gym, partially to prove a point, partially because they hadn’t listened to me and kept fighting.

But as they left and I turned away, I was smiling. I knew that kind of intensity would lead to great things down the road.

And it did.

But here comes the good parenting part . . .

Although Craig was thrown out of the gym, Brad just sat there, watching the guys play as if nothing had happened. I never mentioned it and he never brought it up. In fact, he stayed until open gym concluded at 9:00 PM.

In the meantime Craig, who was underage and therefore couldn’t drive, sat in his dad’s truck, waiting for his dad and fuming.

Of course, Dad finally showed up, and the conversation between father and son was repeated to me later . . .

Craig: “I’ve been sitting here for an hour and a half! He threw me out of the gym! Where have you been?”

Brad: “At open gym. I didn’t get thrown out, you did.”

And that, my friends, was a teachable moment. Mommy and daddy won’t always be there to save you. You screw up, you suffer the consequences, which in this case meant sitting in a truck by yourself for an hour and a half until your dad is ready to leave.

Brad Kerns was a great, great dad who raised a wonderful son. That son turned into a fine man and an even better husband and father. This happened because of the qualities his parents, Louella and Brad, instilled in him.

Should it be a surprise that Craig went on to score over 1000 points, be an All-Ohioan and a McDonald’s All-American who earned a full scholarship to play college basketball?

It wasn’t a surprise to me. I expected it, partly because I knew Craig was raised the right way.

Because that night in open gym, Craig learned that when he screwed up Brad wouldn’t always step in to save him, especially when it was his fault.

Well done, Brad. You did good.

And I know that, without a doubt, you’d be proud of the man your son has become.

brad-kerns

What a mother.

Mom Note