Agendas

Photo Credit: Spongebob Squarepants

I think my father’s proud of me.

He’s not a man of many words, and his whole life, he’s avoided positive reinforcement of his kids. My grandparents raised him with 0 accolades of good work, words of encouragement, or just a “good job” every once in a while. It was seen as weakness to show affection or even positive rearing, because you still had work to do and you were never done. My father went on to be a successful entrepreneur, starting three companies and making them into multi-million dollar endeavors.

But even with all of his hard work and success, his parents really never complimented him on his accomplishments. So he was brought up with the impression that regardless of your wins, you can’t celebrate them. You can’t feel good about them.

Terrible way to grow up, but it was what it was.

But my dad still, at times, complimented me, as far apart as those compliments might have been. I know he cared and was rooting for me, but the fact that he was raised to see praise as a weakness was reason enough for me to understand exactly what he was going through and to know when he was happy for me and my accomplishments. I just knew.

I think a lot of the men of the baby boomer generation had the same thing happen to them. Their parents endured World War II and had to sacrifice so much, I don’t imagine there were many thanks for them for doing the basic day to day when they were busy taking a beachhead, watching their friends die in battle, and avoiding artillery shells.

But with my father, I don’t necessarily think he was fishing for compliments, I believe he was wanting SUPPORT for what decisions he was making in his life, and too often, parents are at odds with their kids on what constitutes a success.

Many parents push their kids to do jobs they believe are “successful” while putting their kids in the automated line of living a life that society tells them is the life to live.

It’s the same story we were all told.

Go to college, get a job, get married, have kids, get a house, get a car, and live happily ever after.

Applied emphasis on go to college here.

I was told that college was the key to getting a high paying, successful job with tons of benefits.

But now, we are seeing fallout of that. Kids who were told to join the rat race the way their parents wanted them to are disappointed and lost in their professional lives, and worst of all, stuck.

Living Vicariously

Why?

Because many parents are convinced that their kids can only make their lives good by doing what they say to the letter. And this is increasingly becoming problematic as kids get older and realize that they could have lived a dream instead of living their parent’s dreams.

They, like many other parents, have bought into society’s production lines of what success really means. Many people, including myself, bought into this and did what we were “supposed” to do. I wasn’t necessarily pushed by my parents, however, but my career arc followed those of many other kids in the 90’s, the idea of college was required.

We saw a shocking move away from trade schools and other things earlier in this century because of this mindset. And it was driven by parents who thought they underachieved.

Parents feel like they didn’t succeed in their lives, so they pour everything into their kids. And when their kids have the gall to decide to do something different from their parents, and kids, who are just looking to their parents for support and acceptance, get emotionally dropped kicked for doing what they love to do.

I understand parents pushing kids to do things. It’s understood that there are many young adults out there without a rudder who need a push. But the push doesn’t come from providing opportunities to these kids, it comes from parents who think they know better than their kids on what’s best for them.

This is where parents need to take the wheel in a different way. As a father of two daughters, I don’t try to push my kids into making life choices that I would approve of. I approve of their happiness doing what they want.

My job is to show them opportunities that they may want to take, give them a look into all things in this world to see if they like it. My oldest daughter is into robotics because it was an interest I saw for her and she now loves it. Not only that, but she also wants to be an engineer and do robotics for a living, and I support all of that. When I see something my kids love, I pour all my resources into that passion for them, because watching them light up with excitement is what I’m about as a parent.

My journey to this side of the world has been filled with men who are making their dreams come true by dropping the 9-5 and doing what they love, regardless of what it is. I’m not sure if their parents are proud or not, but it doesn’t matter. These guys are seeing a shift in their thinking that was hammered into them at a young age and taking the world by the balls.

Success isn’t defined by what society thinks, it’s defined by what YOU think.

The risk you take by doing something you love, even if the world thinks it’s ridiculous or wastes time, pays off when you’re happy.

And people will give you a ton of flack for it. But thinking against the crowd has resulted in some of the biggest successes in life.

Cheerleading

I’m certainly not rubber-stamping ALL activities (drugs, etc), but I see kids lacking motivation for activities their parents deem important and this is where the disconnect turns into a chasm.

So as a parent, you want to avoid pigeonholing your kids into things you liked or were forced to like as a kid.

What’s the greatest asset a parent can have with their kids?

An open mind.

Especially when it comes to hobbies, interests, and eventually, a career they love.

And if what you do is of interest to them, introduce them to it with the same patience you would with anything else.

My youngest daughter wants to play trombone and become a writer like her dad. That makes me happy, but more happy because SHE chose it, rather than me making her choose it. And if she changes her mind, so be it.

But I want my kids to live their lives on their terms, not on my agenda.

They deserve to be given opportunities to find something they love. So as a parent, you facilitate those opportunities and watch them either love it or leave it. That’s what you do as a parent. That’s what we should do as a society.

I see a ton of failure to launch kids who are unmotivated because they didn’t have parents who led them to something they loved. They tried what their parents wanted them to, hated it, and are now left with purgatory where they have to choose job, military, or nothing.

We have to give our kids options to show them that they can do anything, yes, anything that they love. The understanding that success isn’t linear nor is it a cookie cutter blue print is key in getting your kids to the point of loving life and their choices. Regret is a bitch and we all see it all the time.

I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I am. I want to do more, I will.

All because my parents didn’t have an agenda for me to follow, even if they were and are skeptical of my current trajectory, they love me and my abilities. That’s the key here. You can’t make a pumpkin seed grow into a carrot, no matter the amount of water, sunlight, or oxygen. So you grow it into the best damn pumpkin you can.

So let’s take the glass ceiling and walls off of our kids and support their endeavors, all while showing them more things that they may take an interest in.

The thought shouldn’t be “why would you do that?”

It should be “what else can I show you about that?”

Kids deserve a cheerleader, not an agenda.

The Unending Journey

Scene from “Parenthood” – 1989

One of my favorite all time movies is a show from 1989 called “Parenthood”. This movie, which spawned a series in the past decade of the same name, deals with many issues that we still face in our lives today, and the comedic spin on the whole story of life is one I love to re-watch over and over.

In the movie, four sects of the “Buckman” family live the trials and tribulations of life with all of the classic struggles that families get to experience. From birth, to mental illness, to teen pregnancy, to relationship issues, it covers a wide swath of things that every family deals with, and more often than not, overcomes and grows from.

There’s a particular scene in the movie that I love. It’s a scene where Steve Martin is about to coach his son’s last little league game. His son has been struggling with mental illness and anxiety, and has been the goat each game as he can’t catch a fly ball. So Steve Martin has been practicing with his son, as well as absorbing some of his stress, and has been having problems coming to terms with his son’s issues. Along with those issues, he’s quit his job, has two other kids to deal with, and has just found out that his wife is pregnant with their fourth child.

So, in the midst of all of this crisis, he reaches out to his father, Jason Robards, for advice. And the advice he gives is incredible, and the subject of this blog post.

“It Never Ends.”

The scene in question is a conversation between father and son concerning life’s moments, including joys and crises. Steve Martin wants to know when all the craziness will stop, but Jason Robards tells him it doesn’t.

“It never ends. There is no end zone. You never cross the goal line, spike the ball and do your touchdown dance. Never.”

This one quote, this one snippet, tells you all you need to know about life as a man in general.

This is what unplugging is all about in terms of your life. There are millions of blue pilled men out there that have given up on being prepared for life and accept their mediocrity as a life sentence for not exploring and proliferating their own goals. They want to relax, be safe, be comfortable, and be “themselves” in a fat, oafish shell, just waiting for the next ball game or Netflix series to come out. What they don’t understand, or maybe don’t WANT to understand, is the journey is the goal.

It’s taken me years to figure this out. I was one of them. I was comfortable letting my ex run the show. I wanted to stay out of the fire. I hate getting burned, the pain was unbearable, and the best way out was to avoid the pain.

But then I went through the agony of divorce. The uncertainty of it all, my finances in disarray, the toll on myself and my kids. I’d avoided the fire my whole life only to voluntarily set myself and my life on fire. Why? Because it wasn’t my life. I was living someone else’s life. All the sacrifices were for the betterment of someone else. So, I decided to watch it burn and rebuild a life that I could be proud of.

The most important thing I learned was I could no longer sit this one out. It couldn’t be done. The price of turning my fake life into ashes was I had to build a new life with blood, sweat, and tears. A car can’t drive without someone at the wheel and I was at the wheel now. Any weave, swerve or jive was on me. 10 and 2, seat belt fastened, watching others and keeping myself safe, yet on a journey. But always aware.

So How’s It Gonna Be?

So, now you know the secret of life. The big key to everything and being a high value, high experience, high octane masculine figure in 2019. It’s being present for your life.

I now understand that there will be men who don’t take this mantra personally and up their game in their life. It took me a while to understand that not everyone can or wants to be saved. There are men who won’t wake up, won’t realize what they have to do, and will sleep walk through life. They have that luxury, but I don’t have to agree with it.

So what’s next. Now that you know you have to be present in your life, what do you need to do? Well, a man has to increase his strength and fortitude to be able to manage this Herculean task. A body and mind that are constantly challenged gain in strength. So you have to strengthen your mind, body and spirit. The first and most obvious thing that I always tell a man who wants control of his life is to get control of his body.

Your body, spirit and mind must be melded into a frame that can withstand life’s snakes and arrows (h/t RUSH). Your body reacts to stress on itself by getting stronger and being able to carry heavier loads. Your mind becomes sharper when you throw different perspectives and ideas at it. Your spirit becomes greater when you live outside of your box and appreciate the world around you.

These things MUST to occur in order for you to any say in your own life. You can’t half ass your life. You need to whole ass it. What kind of a person only takes their life seriously part of the time? Answer? One who doesn’t take any of it seriously.

So, remember the words of Frank Buckman well. It never stops, it never ends, you just get stronger.

When you heed these very important words, you understand that you will be a better person for it, and be able to live your life with no regrets.

And all because you didn’t stop. You were making your life happen.