Fatherly Stuff: July 2014

Jul 17, 2014

Stuart Scott Discusses Fatherhood in an Emotional Speeh at the ESPYS

Last night's ESPY awards ceremony was a star studded event  that celebrated some of the greatest individual and team athletic achievements for the year. There were many great moments and many awards were handed out to the most deserving people, but the one that stood out to me the most was the speech that Stuart Scott delivered after winning the Jimmy V Perseverance Award.

Scott, a long time anchor for ESPN, has been battling a rare form of cancer since 2007. Instead of making excuses and allowing his illness hold him back, he has made the commitment to continue to live life to the fullest. During his speech, he credits his desire to be there for his two daughters for giving him the strength to fight on and endure rounds of surgeries and treatment.

The courage and humility that Mr. Scott has displayed throughout his ordeal is truly inspirational. It is a reminder to celebrate life and the people that are in it, each and every day.

The entire clip is approx. 15 minutes, but it is well worth your time. I can almost guarantee that anyone who watches this video cannot help but become a better human being afterward.

Jul 15, 2014

Out of Tragedy, Two Fathers Come Together

On Friday, May 24th, 22 year old Elliot Rodger went on a killing spree in Santa Barbara that injured 13 people and took the lives of 7 more, including his own by suicide. The aftermath of this tragic event added more fuel to the fire of a fierce, decades-long debate about mental illness and gun control that has once again been pushed to the forefront of the American consciousness.

From Columbine, to Sandy Hook and now to Santa Barbara, these horrific events continue to occur, yet because our nation is so polarized on the issues, that the effort from our political and business leaders to actually solve them is virtually non-existent. As a result, it seems as though no meaningful laws or regulations have been able to get passed.

But there's a sliver of hope. A few weeks after the event, Peter Rodger and Richard Martinez, the fathers of Elliot Rodger and one of his 20 year old victims, respectively, met with each other.

Photo Credit

Martinez gained notoriety due to his emotional outcry condemning gun violence, the inaction of our government and his desire to meet with Rodger:

"I've been told that the shooter's father has said he wanted to devote his life to making sure that doesn't happen again. I share that with him," Martinez said. "He's a father. I'm a father. He loved his son. I love my son. His son died. My son died."

While we don't know what conversation took place between these two fathers who seemingly formed a bond out of terrible circumstances, we can only hope that the end result will inspire our nation to finally enact change within our broken system that have so many fall through the cracks.

Jul 2, 2014

Playgrounds, Jungle Gyms and Disney Values of Courage

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
As a parent, I think that it's important to be on the look out for ways to take the seemingly simple moments in life and turn them into important lessons. For instance, there was a time that such an opportunity presented itself and I was able to help my 5 year old learn about courage.

My son’s lesson in courage took place at the local playground. With the way that it’s set up; with its slides, swings and obstacles that start off basic, but gradually become more challenging as you move higher in a particular age group;, it is the perfect breeding ground for self-exploration and discovery. Up until this point my son has managed to conquer all of the equipment, with the exception of one. Far on the other side of the playground territory lies a jungle gym that is approximately 30 feet high and made almost entirely out of stretchy rope which interconnected into a pyramid-like structure. The first time that he tried to climb it, he grabbed hold of the bottom rope, looked up and froze with fear. Seeing how high it was along with noticing that the only kids that were climbing the jungle gym were a bit older intimidated him.

Usually, I try to make it a point to occasionally take a back seat and simply observe in order to allow my son the space that he needs to develop his independence, but this was a moment where I knew that I needed to step in. I came over, took him by the hand and listened while he told me why he was so afraid to climb the jungle gym. I smiled and let him know that it was perfectly normal to be afraid; But not allowing that fear to keep him from doing the things that you want to do? That’s the meaning of courage. I even invoked the memory of one of his favorite characters, Dusty Crophopper from Planes the Movie. My son has a special connection to Dusty because this was the first movie that he saw in a theater and he's been hooked ever since. In the first movie, Dusty is faced with a number of hurdles that stand in the way of his goal, including fear. However, he digs deep and finds the courage to win the race. Now that the sequel, Planes: Fire and Rescue is coming out really soon, it was the perfect time to remind my son of Dusty’s display of courage and it definitely seemed to motivate him.
All Planes: Fire and Rescue merchandise can be found at your local Walmart. My son was particularly fond of the bedding (shown in the first picture) and now he gets his daily dose of courage every night as he pulls his comforter over himself.

After we finished talking, he was determined to try again. As he hoisted himself on the first level, I shouted words of encouragement and coached him along the way as he climbed higher and higher.

It's #PlanestotheRescue!
Once he finally reached the top, he looked down and yelled, “Daddy look. I did it”. Seeing him up there feeling accomplished was one of my proudest moments as a father. He confronted his fear and did not let it deter him from reaching his goal. I can only hope that teachable moments such as these will continue throughout his life, so his character can develop even further.

Nowadays, there is a different tone at the jungle gym, fear and apprehension has been replaced with confidence and excitement as he attacks the obstacle with the agility of a spider monkey. He has even gotten me into the act by challenging me to climb alongside him. I do my best to keep up, but I don’t want to get myself stuck, or else I’ll have to get Dusty to come to my rescue!

And it's all thanks to his good buddy, Dusty Crophopper !