ManUP Lessons For My Sons #2


It is my duty as your father to teach you how to be a man. Honestly, I do not know how to do it because, other than having a penis, I really don’t know how to be a man. So, I am going to do my best to figure this out and teach you. Most of the lessons will be based on my experiences and my mistakes.

Hopefully, by the end, you will still have some resemblance of respect for me.

I am not going to bore you with statistics or anything (you can find the numbers to justify anything). But I will give you an honest answer. Like I said before, I do not know how to be a man. People tell me that I am a good man, but I really don’t know what that means. And my personal definition of being a man has changed as I have grown older.

When I was in elementary school, I thought that to be a man was to be physically tough. Girls liked the tough guys. If people were too scared to mess with you, you were perceived to be a badass. Badass boys aways had girls that hung around them. Being a chubby elementary kid, I thought I would attempt to be a tough guy to increase popularity. This would have been successful, but for a couple of things:

  1. I was a nice guy and definitely not a fighter.
  2. I was afraid to get hit in the face.
  3. I was not very cute.
  4. I was prohibited by my parents to sag my pants.

In junior high school, I thought that being a man had a lot to do with the sports you played. Girls loved the boys who could jump high, run fast, or lift the most weight over their head. They also enjoyed sneakers — really dope sneakers. I thought to myself, “Hey, I play sports, I should be able to do this. I just need a pair of fresh kicks!” There were a few problems with this:

  1. I had only played streetball; organized ball was another story (I would never make the junior high varsity team).
  2. My mother did not believe brand-name shoes were necessary (especially Jordans). Hey, shoes are shoes!
  3. So, she bought me a pair of Kevin Johnsons instead. 
  4. Oh wait, she decided to get the knockoffs from Walmart. “They look just like them!”
  5. As the basketball season went on, the stitching in my “FakeJ’s” started to come undone. By mid-season, my shoes were shedding all over the court and looked like I was wearing a pair of Air Chia Pets. No Shit.

And then, there was high school. I started lifting weights, I got better at basketball, and I began to play football and track. And, I was sporting a pair of “Allen Iversons.” Surely, I had made it. I was on my way to popularity, which would put me on a sure path to manhood. Look at me! When I flexed, you can see a line in my bicep! Look at it.

It was not meant to be. Although my popularity grew, it was not until I went to college that my real journey into manhood would begin.

At first, I believed that I should be a strong, confident college man that have women swooning all over him, which was what I read in all of the men’s magazines: 

“How to get abs,”

“How to get the girl that is out of your league,”

“How to know her socks off in bed,”

“What foods you should eat to live longer and look good doing it,”

“What places you should visit before you die, what careers offer you the best payday….”

So that became my mission, to live up to what those magazines said was the ideal life. And you know what? I achieved most of what the magazine said I should. I had the abs, I had women, I spent a lot of money on travel, and I was in college and working towards my career. I believed that I was living the life that I was supposed to. But, as they said, if you tell God your plan, he laughs. 

What I was shown was that I was living a superficial lifestyle. I was shown that I was headed in the wrong direction. And then, I was taught that what I wanted was stupid.

Who showed me this? Your mother. And, she was nothing like I had ever imagined. And so, I married her.

I read a book that your mother gave me called Chasing Skinny Rabbits. Although it is not a “knock your socks off” book, there were takeaways within that book that would ultimately change my life. The author discusses people’s perceptions of what is fulfilling in their lives. People are always chasing after the next thing only to find that when they achieve it, the sense of accomplishment is not there, so they move onto the next thing. The skinny rabbit is impossible to catch. Manhood, or the perception of it, is a skinny rabbit. Manhood is subjective, so chasing after it only means that you are chasing after something else — whether that be love, lust, money, or material things. All of which lead to destructive behaviors.

The Lesson:

  1. Be kind
  2. When you make a mistake, own it
  3. Be chivalrous 
  4. Create realistic goals
  5. If you start something, finish it

My wife gave birth to Oedipi

My wife gave birth to Oedipus. Yes, that means that I have sons who think that I am a complete, inept jackass. And, they always take the time to let me know. Even before either one could talk, they would do things to let me know that he is the new sheriff in town.

For those who do not know, Oedipus Rex was a king who ultimately wanted to kill his own father and marry his mother. Now, there is no Freudian sexual desire going on, but if I were to, let’s say, fall off of a bridge, I am not sure the four year old, or the one year old would not give two shits.

Why do I call them Oedipi?

…maybe it is their look of utter disgust when I walk through the door: Here I am, arriving home from a hard day’s work. Only to be greeted with the utter disappointment that I made it home from a hard day’s work. A look that says, “Oh, I forgot. You do live here, don’t you?

2018-02-16 12.14.19
Cute, huh? That’s how they get ya.

…maybe it is the fact that they decides to interrupt me every time I speak to my wife: Ma, Ma, Mommy, Momma, Mom, Mom, Mom. (realizing that he is being ignored) MOM, MOM, MOMMA, MOMMY, MOM! I can jump this high (barely gets off of the ground).

…maybe it is because I find one or both of them on my side of the bed at bed time: I don’t believe that it is any coincidence that my son(s) want to interrupt my wife and/or I as soon as REM sleep is reached. It is like these kids have a damn radar. Oh, I hear snoring, maybe if I cry/walk into their room, I will find a way into their bed. From there, I will kick daddy in his face and back until he decides to go on the couch. Such evil.

…maybe it is because they both give my wife the puppy dog eyes/a great big smile every time one of them wants something: My children were blessed with their mother’s eyes. Mine are, as my daughter puts it, “…all small and squinty.” Their eyes, are big, round, and sparkle in the sunlight. The boys have this ability to show their emotion through their eyes, especially when they want something that they cannot have. For example:


“No, you cannot have that cookie, that is daddy’s!”

(eyes well up)

“Okay, fine. We will tell daddy that the cookie fell on the floor.”

They best part – they always seem to leave some sort of clue that shows me what really happened. A remnant that shows me that they run things.

2018-02-05 18.21.52
No room for daddy.

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