Volume 1, Number 5
March 10, 2005
In this issue:
Winter has come back again to the NorthCountry. The snow took a few weeks off and, just as local trails were getting a bit too icy to get any grip on, it came back. About a foot in the past twenty-four hours, with more on the way later this week.
Evidently, last month's feature about skiing struck a chord with a number of readers. I received a mess of notes from people from Europe, the US and Australia - all sharing stories about skiing with kids and parents. Cool! Nice to know that the language of winter is alive and being transmitted from generation to generation.
This month's feature story deals with children and parents acting thier age - sometimes acting each other's age...
Welcome to our new subscribers! It's a pleasure to have you along! Thanks to those of you who continue to pass "DadsNews" on to friends, family, and others. I'm grateful to y'all for spreading the love. Please keep it going!
If you're not yet a regular recipient, then please accept this invitation to jump aboard!
So folks, snag a drink, settle in, and enjoy acting your age...
Keep those virtual cards and letters coming - I love to hear from you...
Feature Story: Act Your Age!
My son was born when I was 40 - by no means "ancient" by today's standards - yet still a bit later than we had hoped.
I figured my "maturity" was a gift to my budding family. And it was, to the extent that the years had given me the uncanny ability to recognize my own state of delusion. (I thought that if I had my kids when I was older, I'd have older kids. It didn't work...)
Awareness is a beautiful thing...
In the six and a half years that have passed, I'd like to think that I've made some progress in the patience department. I'd like to tell you that, as a man and a father, I've found the path to infinite wisdom and absolute spaciousness in the raising of my son.
I'd like to tell you, and I'd be lying...
I was speaking with a fellow a few days ago - a new father in his mid-twenties - doing his best to deal with this latest chapter in his life. He was having a hard time with the fact that, even though he was so clearly in love with his young son, he found himself getting angry when things didn't quite go as planned.
A religious fellow, his attempts to stand in the gap between his love for his son and his anger had recently been knocked off balance by one of his favorite radio preachers, who proclaimed, "When you love someone, you don't get angry at them..."
I suppose there may be a planet - out there somewhere - on which that supposition carries weight, though I doubt it has an atmosphere capable of supporting sentient life. Maybe I've hit my head a few too many times, but I'm hard pressed to recall getting angry with anyone I didn't love. (Situations, yes, people, no...)
I figured the preacher probably lived in a cave somewhere, had no children, and rarely made contact with the outside world. Two other possibilities: he was checking to see if anyone was really listening, or he was experimenting with some strange emotional alchemy: Anger + Guilt + Shame = Love..?
I have a theory, and it goes something like this: We're freedom-loving creatures. We are at our best when we are expressing ourselves fully. As kids, what remains of our instincts drives us toward that freedom and self-expression. The result: kids act their age, pushing the buttons of their loving parents. Parents, who grew up as very good little button-pushers themselves, don't appreciate having their own buttons pushed.
Using myself as an example - hypothetical, of course - I may get a little angry from time to time when my son, in the act of expressing himself in an age-appropriate manner, pushes my buttons. I could - not that I would - "lose it," "have a cow," scream, shout, or otherwise carry on. Hypothetically...
My son Cai is a bright, spunky little dude. "A spirited kid," says my Father, "at least he doesn't roll over like a slug at your every word..."
How ever much I loved my son and wanted to celebrate all the exuberant running in circles, jumping around and testing of limits that little boys specialize in, sometimes it was just too much. Yeah, the taking a break and counting to 10 thing worked to a point. Just walking away and cooling off had some merit as well. But to be honest, it took me about five years of experimentation and going over the edge to come up with a workable strategy to deal with my son's age-appropriate self expression.
One day, without giving it any thought at all, I stopped Cai in his tracks by firmly grabbing both his shoulders. Dropping down to his level, I looked him in the eye and said, "You are acting like a five year-old!"
After a moment of dead silence, Cai put his hands on his hips, sighed loudly, and announced, "Dad... I AM a five year-old!" He rolled his eyes, slapped one hand to his forehead, groaned and walked away saying, "Daddy, you are just so silly!"
I was dumbfounded. He had nailed me between the eyes with a truth so obvious that it had been invisible to me. He was a five year-old, and he was doing exactly what he was designed to do - living a fully-expressed life at high-speed. I, on the other hand, was about to cross over the line to the point where, in my anger, I would have acted like a five year-old.
Funny thing is, the behavior that was grating so on me stopped. Cai simply moved on to other five year-old things, and I experienced an epiphany: I discovered that kids act their age...
Do I still get angry? Sometimes.
Do I love my son? Without question...
Does Cai still act like a five year-old? Nope...
He's six now - and he acts it...
How old are you when you are "acting your age?"
What quality of your children would you most want to take to work with you?
Quote of the Month
"The value of marriage is not that adults produce children, but that children produce adults."
Peter De Vries
I've had a number of inquiries about "The Pancakes." Here they are, wheat free, of course...
1 cup Millet flour
1 cup Oat flour
1 cup Buckwheat flour
1/3 cup Rolled Oats
1/3 cup Yellow Corn Meal
2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
2 teaspoons Salt
Grated Orange Rind (from one good-sized orange)
2 1/2 cups Buttermilk
just under 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
6 Tablespoons Melted Butter
Mix the dry ingredients together. In a seperate bowl, beat the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla, then add them to the dry mix. After you've got the liquid and dry ingredients incorporated, fold in the melted butter. You may have to add more buttermilk, as the batter can get pretty thick. (slightly thick is good for waffles.) Fry them up, and you're off to the races...
FYI, you can substitute soy or rice milk for the buttermilk - and corn oil for the butter - if you want to keep the whole mess dairy free...
Also in the teleclass department, Dovid Grossman - outdoor educator, Rabbi, and Father of 9 - and I are in the middle of leading a wonderful series of classes for Dads on Coachville's "Awesome Dads" community. Come on by on Tuesday afternoons.
More Fatherly resources are available on the Cirrus site.
On the coaching front, I'm setting up sample appointments for the end of this month and early April. Ready for a 30-minute test drive? Let's set it up! On the house, of course!
Feedback for DadsNews - or a simple "howdy!" - is always welcome. Send me a note!
More cool stuff is available at the Cirrus Leadership website!
Next issue of DadsNews: April 10, 2005. Until then, answer those creative urges, have fun and try something new and different!!!
DadsNews ©2005, Kenneth Mossman, Cirrus Leadership® - Use and distribution permitted and encouraged, providing attribution is... well, attributed!