School finally started up this week and I was reminded of two important Dad lessons. First, my kids are not me. They might have my genes but that doesn’t mean they love flash cards, enjoy timed multiplication tests, or enjoy the rug patterns a good vacuum session can produce. I might not totally understand my kids (will I ever?) but it’s not really fair to see them as little me’s. They like different things. They are essentially different people.
That’s not their problem. It’s my problem. Not really a terrible problem to have but just something to keep in mind when they roll their eyes at my 76th suggestion about the long term benefits of deliberate practice.
Second lesson: yelling at inanimate objects like Chromebooks or new drop-off traffic patterns is an emotional response and that type of response never made a situation better.
On to a Saturday not filled with Zooms, worksheets, or scavenger hunts during business calls…
Mike, have you taken your pill has become a sort of code in our house for when I’m acting bitchy and cranky. Sometimes I legitimately need to take my pills. Other times I’m just a 43 year old man dealing with glitter in the weave of the rug. Sometimes…it’s just hard to tell. Parts of last week where in that murky zone. So much is going on in the world, both near and far, it can be hard to wrap your head around it even with meds.
Most of our opinions and feelings are reactionary and unrelated to what’s actually happening. I’m guessing having teenage kids is going to be a great reminder of this but even now, dealing with the news and the pandemic and…everything, it’s a good reminder for me. Better to let it go.
The world rarely notices your anger. Why would it? Getting mad about distant things you don’t or can’t control is exhausting. Focus on what’s important. Focus on what you control.
Getting the girls to understand that is a work in progress. The big thing coming up in our house is finally returning to school next week. For Cecilia, this means heading to middle school. Whoever said anger is fear turned outward definitely had adolescent kids. They are walking glitter bombs. But first a very fine Saturday…
First, a quick thanks to everyone that bought the book last week, left a review, or simply left me a note. Many of you asked me if it was successful and I probably gave you a vague answer. By the numbers, it was better than the last one which is certainly going in the right direction. But it also left me thinking about success. Obviously, everyone wants to be successful and I want lots of people to read and enjoy my books. But good or bad, bestseller or not, results are ephemeral.
As I’ve hit forty and beyond, I’ve picked up this curious habit of reading more self-help books. There is a concept in eastern philosophy called the hungry ghost that is both striking and indelible. The hungry ghost has an endless stomach. He’s never satiated. He never feels full. He’s especially dangerous when used to define success. He literally almost killed me in 2015 when I was so focused on completing a half ironman that I ignored serious physical and mental problems that eventually landed me in the hospital.
Now, I define success not on the results but the process. That’s where 99.9% of the time is spent. Whether it’s writing book, parenting, working out, or just hanging out. You need to enjoy the process. That’s something worth doing. Ignore the hungry ghost. So, yes, the book was successful but I knew that long before publication day.
On to the next book, but first a pleasantly cool and overcast Saturday…