You Can Be The Difference

Tired Little Boy

Tired Little Boy

Dear Lincoln,

A couple years ago Conan O’Brien was fired by NBC after 7 months of hosting the Tonight Show. The way they treated him was unfortunate and arguably unfair. Conan, of course, was hurt, devastated, mad, upset, the list can go on.  In an age where Kanye West can cast insults upon insults after being insulted, where Miley Cyrus acts anyway she wants and struts around stating that she could care less what people think, Conan O’Brien modeled remarkable wisdom, if not counter-intuitive integrity.

When it came time to say his farewell, he stepped to the microphone and gave one of the most remarkable speeches in pop-culture history.

Little buddy I want you to watch this video of his speech.  The video uses some typography that came from a project out of Oklahoma State University. Please listen carefully, take notes, and remember that your actions will define how others see you.  Everyday I pray that God will guide you in your thoughts and actions, that He will bring people into your life that will set the example for you to follow so that you will grow into the man I know you will be.  A man of integrity, compassion, love, devotion, faith, a man of action and not a spectator on the sidelines of life.

Many will tell you that one man cannot change the world.  I tell you one man can.  If each one of us wakes every morning and looks into the mirror and tells that person looking back that you can be the difference, that it all starts with you, that you can be the example, that you are the driving force that will make this world a better place.  The world will change, and it starts with you.

“Integrity is not what you do when someone is watching, it’s what you do when no one is watching.  And God is always watching!”

Puppa

I love you little man, to the moon and back, Puppa.

Date A Girl Who Reads

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Dear Lincoln,

Please read this and you will understand my love of reading and why I always say date a girl who reads.

I love you little man, Puppa

Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes, who has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she has found the book she wants. You see that weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a secondhand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow and worn.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas, for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry and in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who read understand that all things must come to end, but that you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes.”

By Rosemarie Urquico

Love in Action is Service

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Dear Lincoln,

I want to share a story with you that I just read.  I share this with you because as you grow up you will see that more often than not the news likes to report what I call “bad news” not “good news”.  Our society has seems to enjoy reading about everyone’s pain a lot more than someone’s joy.  And there is a lot of joy out there little man and we should rejoice in it when we hear about it.

This story is about a young girl named Maddie and a young boy named Jon. Jon is a junior and he has autism. About a month ago, Maddie, a senior, approached Jon’s father (Jon’s father is a teacher at their school) and asked if Jon’s mom and he would allow her to take him to prom. Maddie had gotten to know Jon through a school club that promotes friendships between special needs kids and regular kids. “He’s a junior,” she explained “so it’s his prom too. I just think he should have the chance to go.” Jon’s father told her that they would be honored to have him go with her.

During the next couple weeks, she asked what his favorite color was (orange) so she could get a dress in that color. She also made reservations for their group (they doubled with another couple)at a restaurant that served his favorite food – chicken fingers and French fries.  They both had a wonderful time.

I share this with you for three reasons:
1. That you should always show support for special kids like Jon
2. That you should show support for groups that promote these friendships
3. To remind us all, in a time when we hear about all the terrible things going on, that there are wonderful kids like Maddie working to make other’s lives better.

Little man you are only 20 months old but have already shown such compassion towards others that are sad or hurting, and towards all animals.  I know that with your momma’s guidance and love you will not lose that like so many do as they grow up.

I tell you from experience that to make a difference in someones life is one of the greatest things one can do.

Prayer in action is love, and love in action is service. Try to give unconditionally whatever a person needs in the moment. The point is to do something, however small, and show you care through your actions by giving your time … We are all God’s children so it is important to share His gifts. Do not worry about why problems exist in the world – just respond to people’s needs … We feel what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean, but that ocean would be less without that drop.“- Mother Teresa

God has a plan for your life little man, and that includes loving and serving others.

I love you  Lincoln, Puppa

A Few Rules To Live By

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Dear Lincoln,

I want to share with you some rules that my Pappa shared with me many years ago and they have served me well.  I hope that you take these to heart and follow them as you grow and one day teach them to your children.

If you open it, close it.

If you turn it on, turn it off.

If you unlock it, lock it up.

If you break it, admit it.

If you can’t fix it, call in someone who can.

If you borrow it, return it.

If you value it, take care of it.

If you make a mess, clean it up.

If you move it, put it back.

If it belongs to someone else and you want to use, get permission.

If you don’t know how to operate it, leave it alone.

If it’s none of your business, don’t ask questions.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

If it will brighten someone’s day, say it.

If it will tarnish someone’s reputation, keep it to yourself.

 

I love you little man, Puppa.

The Power Of Words

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Dear Lincoln,

A group of frogs were traveling through the woods, and two of them fell into a deep pit. All the other frogs gathered around the pit. When they saw how deep the pit was, they told the two frogs that they were as good as dead.

The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out of the pit with all of their might. The other frogs kept telling them to stop, that they were as good as dead. Finally, one of the frogs took heed to what the other frogs were saying and gave up. He fell down and died.

The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die. He jumped even harder and finally made it out.

When he got out, the other frogs said, “Did you not hear us?” The frog explained to them that he was practically deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.

The moral of this story: Be careful of what you say.
1. Encouraging words to people who are down can motivate them to achieve their goals.
2. Destructive words to people who are down can have a devastating effect.

Consider this statement as it relates to Words…
“The Snow may look smooth and soft, but the rocks underneath are sharp!”
— Mark Russell

Phrase your words so they inspire and encourage, not hurt or destroy.

I love you little man, Puppa

5 Fears Of Being A Father

My day-to-day activities don’t revolve around fear, but I am aware of the fragile nature of life.  I maintain a healthy respect for life and all the dangers that lurk around us everyday.  When I became a father, my responsibilities changed more than I could have ever imagined.  And with that responsibility came a great sense of accomplishment and pride. What scares me the most are things that can take that away.

Loss Of A Child

To this day, nothing in this world scares me more than the thought of losing one of my daughters.  I could not imagine living in a world without the amazing spirit’s of my daughters. They make my days brighter in every way imaginable. Without them, my world would have no inspiration, love or sunshine.  Everyday I am thankful because I am undeserving of such  beautiful and healthy daughter’s. I know there are many parents and children out there that are not so lucky. They battle life and loss to a degree that I can’t imagine and for that, they are much stronger than me. My heart goes out to any parent that has had to suffer the loss of a child.

Loss Of My Wife

Next to losing one of my children, losing my wife is one of my biggest fears. I never questioned my ability to raise my daughters alone, but losing my wife, their mother, would be devastating.  It would have affected the way I would be as a man and as a father. I feel very strongly about kids being raised in a house with a mom and a dad and my wife provides so much balance in my life and in my daughter’s life.  I couldn’t bear to see my children grow up without their mother. I couldn’t bear to see my grand children grow up without their grandmother.

Loss Of Interaction

There is nothing more magical in this world than being part of a child’s world and helping them grow up. When I was with one of my daughter’s and she was figuring out something for the first time or just having a good time, I would be beside myself with happiness. It became such a part of my daily routine that I couldn’t imagine not being there as she grows up.  Can you imagine never seeing your children open another Christmas present? learn to ride a bike? ace a test? graduate high school? get married?  I know some loss is inevitable as kids grow older and my role as father will change over time. Everyday when I dropped off my daughter’s at school I couldn’t help but think “What if I lose all this?”

Loss Of Love

I want my daughter’s to call me 20 years from now and still love their dad that same way they do now — Okay, they don’t love me as much as they love their mom but I don’t want to give them a reason not to love me.  My heart melts every time one of my daughter’s give me a hug or when they ask me to help them with something. I never want to lose that! I never want to give them a reason to never need or love their dad. I think this is another thing that dads have to work on.  Just like we do with our wives, we need to build our relationships with our children. We need to learn what they love, learn their fears and learn their dreams.

Loss Of My Self

People change…we all change. I don’t expect to be the exact same person 20 years from now as I am today. What scares me is the thought of loosing my sense of responsibility as a father to my daughter’s. If I lose my self then who will they turn to in times of need and hardship?  I don’t want to become apathetic about being a father. I never want to give up trying to become a better father for my daughter’s.

I’m not sure WHY you might give up trying to be a father – but that’s what scares me.