It’s my theory that when things are done right, the result turns out as you desire ~80% of the time. Similarly, when you do everything wrong, things can turn out okay anyway, ~20% of the time. But with those odds, I compassionately plea to do the right thing for your children. If you’re not sure what the right things are, read, ask, learn, and choose. Please understand, if your child has had issues with anything from friends to behavior to drugs, it doesn’t necessarily reflect upon you as a parent. The measure is where they might have been without you in their lives. Only you can really judge that!
It is clear that my children, now thriving adults, allowed me some credibility to write this book. Like me, they are not perfect by any means, but I couldn’t ask much more from them. I would like to tell you a little about each of them. Their successes do not involve riches, over-the-top accomplishments, or unique talents. They are just hard working, down-to-earth, good people. What more can any parent ask?
April has blessed us in so many ways. She is gentle and always kind to everyone. I recall in high school a mentally challenged student who, ignored by most, was treated kindly by April. This girl became very enamored with April and followed her everywhere. It was sometimes awkward for her but April would never complain.
After dating him for years, April married the perfect guy for her, another Mike, who is a genius and a little quirky--but that is his charm. He’s the best dad ever and they are both constantly teaching and challenging our beautiful granddaughters.
April attended The University of Missouri on an academic scholarship. What parent doesn’t love that! She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the prestigious School of Journalism and she went on to get a Master’s Degree in Counseling. What continually impresses me is April’s professional presence and ability to talk to groups. After college, she was competitively selected to be a ‘Hot Dogger’ for the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile. Through that job, she appeared on a national TV show in a segment on different ways to prepare hot dogs. She was simply at home and at ease and did a wonderful job on TV. I haven’t yet figured out where she got that talent.
Today April balances being a mom and work. She is a student counselor at a major university helping young people to maximize their education and future employment. It was April that was key to the fact I have authored a book. It was her direction and guidance that helped me organize my thoughts and notes into something readable. I can’t thank her enough for getting me through this project with her direction and encouragement.
Michael, as he likes to be called, (I’m the only one that calls him Mike) is my only son. He’s quiet, strong, and has very loyal friends--even though he rarely talks--maybe that’s why. Still single in his mid-thirties, he has the potential to be a great dad someday. His nieces and nephew adore him.
Mike never was a big fan of school. He is a hands-on kind of guy. When he was a little boy, he would follow me around wanting to help whether it was mowing, fixing something, or working on my 1978 MGB. He went to college as it was understood all would do in our family. A few times he wanted to quit school and we asked him to hang in there. Finally we decided, after much pleading, that if college wasn’t for him, we weren’t going to force him to graduate. We told Mike that he could quit if he thought that was best for him. It was tough for us to tell him this and we waited to see what he would do. What he did was continue on until he graduated. We never heard another complaint. The day he graduated was celebrated heartily by the entire family.
Maybe because I was an Air Force pilot, Mike was interested in flying himself. He joined Air Force ROTC in college. Because he is a hands-on guy, he didn’t like the aspect of a desk job, which can happen after a few years of Air Force pilot duty. He asked if I, specifically, would mind him quitting Air Force ROTC. I agreed but admit I was disappointed. I had envisioned him flying F-22 fighters or B-2 bombers. After graduation from college Mike enlisted in the Army, but he had a plan. After two years as a helicopter mechanic, he was chosen for the Army Warrant Officer program to become an Army helicopter pilot. For those of you that don’t know, the Warrant Officer program is for experts in certain fields which allows them to do that job their entire career. That means Mike won’t ever have to be saddled with a desk job. He will fly his entire career.
Mike has now flown helicopters for 12 years and has served in Germany, Kosovo, Iraq, Egypt (his first flying assignment), Washington D.C. (flying dignitaries), Afghanistan, Hawaii, Ft. Campbell KY, and back to Afghanistan in a couple of weeks. In his first tour in Afghanistan, Mike was a medivac helicopter pilot and was decorated for risking his life to save his fellow soldiers. I couldn’t be prouder of him!
Rachel is our youngest and as a child was our feistiest. Rachel has always been full of life and a real people person. Rachel’s favorite phrase is “fun!” For as long as I can remember, Rachel wanted to be a mom. I thought she’d be married in her early twenties--but she never found the right guy. No worries, Rachel had ball as she dated, worked, and hung out with group of friends who continue to be her friends for life.
In her late twenties she met Kevin. Kevin had also been looking for the right person. Both had started to think they would never find someone but they found each other at the right time. They married three years ago and have a two year old who is boy all the way through, my tractor buddy! As I write this, Rachel is nine months pregnant with a little girl. We can’t wait to hold our fourth grandchild! I am very impressed with Rachel and Kevin as parents. They work so well together and are so loving. As a bonus, Kevin is quiet like my son, a sports guy too. We connect on this and many levels. A great person all the way through!
Rachel is an Occupational Therapist. With her people skills and compassion, this is the perfect occupation for her! Her specialty is brain injuries and beyond working with the patients, Rachel helps families get through very difficult times. Many of those families become her friends and they want to keep up with her after recovery.
Rachel raises the energy level wherever she goes. The other day I met her at a bank for a business transaction. When I got there, she was conversing with the bank staff like they were old friends. That’s how she is. She’s natural and real. And of my three kids, she is the most critical of me, as perfect as I am (wink-wink). She keeps me on my toes.
If you read my book you’ll see I don’t write about how to fix other than the simple issues your children may experience. I concentrated on something I believe is more important, that is, what you can do to minimize any potential issues by being loving, involved and nurturing--because it’s healthier and easier to prevent problems than to correct them. My siblings and I witnessed a lack of caring and nurturing from our father. He did nothing to help us find our way and we all suffered for it in different ways. I know the advice, encouragement, and tools I discuss in my book will help any father to help his children.
PS. The Power of Dadhood is currently being delivered earlier than advertised by Amazon. If you haven't already, you will receive your copy soon!