Father of the Year Moment #641 – Leadership (I thank God every day for the mentors I had growing up):

Earlier this year, My oldest daughter and I had a conversation about leadership on and off the basketball court. Since her father is very long winded, she got more than she wanted:
Okay. you want to be a leader, then be a leader. But be careful; you will be criticized for your decisions. Everybody wants to take a leadership role until it is time for the criticism. As soon as the criticism comes, they will tuck their tale and hide in the shadows. Don’t hide from it; Learn from it. Use it to make yourself and the people around you better.
If you want to be a leader, then take adversity head on. If you are truly right about something, then you have to fight for it; be smart about how you choose to fight. Choose craftiness over brute force.
If you want to be a leader, then know that there are two things that are extremely dangerous to you, and to your group – sincere ignorance, and conscientious stupidity. Eliminate both.
If you want to be a leader, you need to be dynamic. Know the differing types of leadership and apply the correct type of leadership as situations arise. Find a balance between using data and using your heart in decision making. Too much data, and people will think that you are cold, too much heart, and people will think you are blinding yourself to what is right in front of you.
If you want to be a leader, then represent the whole. Leaders never speak as individuals, they are always representative of the team. Give the team the credit when things go right, take the blame when things go wrong. When they do go wrong, first look at yourself as part of the problem, then assess if there are people who are the problem – deal with them head on. If you have something to say, then say it to their faces. Never hide amongst the faction – that’s cowardice.
If you want to lead, then be quiet and lead by example. Anybody can be loud and demanding to get things done. Leaders themselves do what needs to be done. Leaders influence others without them knowing that they are being lead. They lead because there is a need. When people see you are willing fulfill that need, they will follow. When you choose to speak up, speak up for things that you are passionate about and are willing to sacrifice for – you may be called to do so.
If you want to lead, then don’t expect a leadership title. Leaders don’t need titles. Even if you get a title, nobody gives a damn. Leaders are leaders because they work harder than the rest. Make sure you work hard when people are not looking at you; share your hard work when they are. You do not need a statue to tell you how nice you are. Let others talk about your work ethic; you don’t need to proclaim it. Work behind the scenes.
If you want to be a leader, then expect to sacrifice greatly. You will sacrifice time; you will need it to perfect your craft. You will sacrifice friends; your friends will see the path you’ve chosen and understand. You will sacrifice relationships unless you choose people who are on your path and/or have common interests. It will be trying, but remember – the difference between a moment and a movement is sacrifice.
If you want to lead, then expect the haters. You will have critics everywhere. People will say, “Well, I would’ve done it this way…” But don’t listen – they’ve never done it. When asked to step up, they never will.
If you want to lead, then expect to be alone. Not so much “by yourself” physically (that will also happen), but mentally. You are carving out a path, and that path holds uncertainty. Uncertainty is uncomfortable. Uniformity is comfortable. If you want to lead, always choose uncertainty.

Leadership is not easily attained and is even harder to keep. Leadership isn’t for everyone. So, if you choose to follow, that’s okay. Just choose who you follow wisely. Don’t let someone tell you that they are leading you to the mountain top, only to find yourself in a crevasse.

Something tells me that she will never ask for advice again…

“The Foghorn” or “Inside voice, please”

Why in the hell is my second-born so damn loud?!

I mean, seriously. I am standing right next to the girl, and she is talking at me like we are in a cheering soccer stadium! She has absolutely no inside voice.

“Hey, Foghorn! You need to whisper!”

“Okay!”

Then she proceeds to talk to me in a normal voice – believing that she is whispering.

Sweet Baby Jesus – my baby can’t even whisper!

I put the baby to sleep:

“HEY DAD! DID YOU SEE THAT SQUIRELL RUNNING ACROSS THE STREET!”

The family is eating dinner:

“MAN! THESE ROLLS SURE ARE GOOD!”

Driving down the street:

“WOW! THAT IS ONE BIG SNOW HILL!”

I don’t want to hurt this girl’s feelings, but Good Gravy, there just isn’t enough earplugs to go around.

Daughters: Expectation vs. Reality

When you become a daddy of a daughter, you actually have a conversation with yourself. You think, “You know what? I am going to be close with my daughter. I am going to make sure that my daughter is strong and independent. Any time a boy challenges her to do something, she is going to step up and be better than expected. Any time she has to compete against a boy, she is going to beat him! I am going to make sure that she is turns into the best woman in the world.

Then, a few years later, when she can talk, you realize that this shit is hard.

It is pretty much a crap shoot what kind of female child you are going to end up with. And God is definitely a comedian. You could get the type of daughter that will be in awe of you – hanging on your every word as if you were this omniscient, omnipotent, and omnificent being; or, you could have the type of daughter that is strong and independent, but very, very (very) stubborn. Me, I was lucky enough to have one of each.

2017-06-22 20.55.36
My first daughter and I were close. She is the side of me that is very athletic, popular with her peers, and knows how to play the game in order for her to come out smelling like a rose (She slept through the night at week four, for God’s sakes). As she grew older, I thought to myself, “These other parents must suck. They’re always talking about how hard it is to parent. The problem must obviously be them. I must be the best parent ever – I should write a book!

Pause.

*It should be noted that when she turned 9 years old, somehow, she started to think that I was a complete, bumbling idiot. I don’t know what it is about that age, but shit definitely changed (Personally, I blame Teen Nick shows, Teen Disney shows, and hormones).

2017-06-22 21.02.00

But just when I started looking for a publisher for my future best-selling, self-help parenting book, my second daughter was born. We were like oil and water. I am constantly trying to guide that girl to the best path for her future – and she has the nerve to fight me every step of the way! If I say, “look at that pretty yellow dress,” she would look directly at me with her thick furled eyebrows and exclaim, “The house is chartreuse, Dad.” Well, excuse the Hell out of me. Most little girls are learning their primary colors by singing the rainbow song, but not this one – oh, this one knows everything.

And this is how it has been since she was a baby.

A baby that refused to sleep through the night until she was two. Yes, her mother and I are still – years later – pretty bitter about that stage.

She is the side of me that does not take well to stupid rules. I am quoted in staff meetings for saying things like, “Well, if the policy is not getting the results you want, then it is a stupid policy.” So, I should not be surprised, nor upset, when she says to me, “Well, maybe it is not me, may it is a dumb rule, did you ever think of that!” But I am upset… because I am the parent… and because… well dammit, I say so.

She is also the side of me that is a social butterfly. Just not within her peer group.

“Oh, she is so funny…”

“She is soooo independent…”

“Look at that smile, come with me to get (some food or toy she does not deserve)”

My little girl hangs out and has conversations with women who are 30+ years old.

And they talk shit about me.

Well, shit. There goes my book deal.

Look, I understand. This may seem as though I am asking for help, but I am not.

I am crying. Crying for help. This shit is hard.

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