Dear Jack: How You Avoided a Nap While Mommy and I Watched a Movie

9 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

Last Sunday, Mommy and I needed an hour to finish the second half of the movie we rented from Redbox. While it is not uncommon for you and your sister to need to take a nap on Sunday afternoon, it was apparent to me that you both were full of energy.

Therefore, I explained to you both that if you could independently figure out how to entertain yourself downstairs while Mommy and I finished the movie upstairs, I would let you forgo naps.

You both agreed to the deal.

An hour later, when our movie was over and we came downstairs, we found the source of your entertainment.

Using the Noah’s Ark tent your Uncle Al and Sharon got you several years ago, you and your sister collected as many blankets and pillows as you could find and filled it up.

Ultimately, it became something like a swimming pool.

You and your sister took turns running up to and attempting to jump high enough to jump inside.

It was a plan that came together. We’ll have to try this again sometime.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Your Spider-Man Balloon with Extra Helium

3 years, 9 months.

Dear Holly,

As you were still recovering last week from the flu, Papa bought you a Spiderman balloon to help cheer you up.

Though you received it a few weeks ago when you stayed with Nonna and Papa in Alabama, the balloon made its way back to our home in Tennessee.

This weekend, as you were playing with the balloon, Mommy snuck up behind you.

She grabbed you by the waist and picked you up, making you think the helium in the balloon was so powerful that the balloon was pulling you up in the air.

Even now, I’m not sure if you realized it was just a trick!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Wearing Fake Glasses for Fun

9 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

Last Thursday, you had your much anticipated music program for the 3rd grade. The theme was “Science Rocks”. Your music teacher had you all dress up as scientists.

She suggested you go to the dollar store and buy a cheap set of frames; then bust out lens, using the glasses as part of your costume.

You were so happy about your fake glasses for the music program, you started wearing them for fun on the weekend… and then to school a few days leading up to the performance.

Granted, you did a great job singing all the songs- but those glasses made you proud to sing that much harder.

Love,

Daddy

My Wife and I Debuted Our New T-Shirts in Lake Tahoe: “Hi, I Don’t Care. Thanks!” and “I Hate People”- A Blog Post about Identity Protective Cognition and Emotional Intelligence

I turned 38 a couple of months ago. I have entered Life: Part 2. In other words, I have come to terms with the fact my life is now half complete; assuming I live the typical lifespan of an American man.

When you’re pushing 40, there are certain things that tend fall into place in your life:

Your strengths, your weaknesses, your family, your career, your finances, your retirement plan…

To steal a quote from a book I will never read called Anna and the French Kiss, it really comes down to this:

“The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you.” 

In other words, my identity is well established. While I remain open-minded to a certain point, I am at the place in life where I am no longer seeking confirmation of my identity from other people; the way Michael Scott and Andy Bernard did on The Office.

I no longer subscribe to the delusion that I am a good person, because then I would fall victim to the mentality, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”

Not to mention, the concept of being a good person is simply relevant to others I would perceive as bad people.

There will always be people who perceive me as morally or intellectually inferior to themselves in some way. I am okay with that. I embrace it. I even celebrate it.

To quote Matchbox Twenty in a song called “Busted” from their debut album from over 20 years ago, this is how I feel:

“I’m the flame, I can’t get burnt. I’m wholly understated.”

In my 38 years, I have learned that most people predictably fear being perceived as wrong, ignorant, and/or immoral.

But I don’t. I am immune because I already know those things are true:

To some people, I will always be wrong, ignorant, and/or immoral.

I have taught myself that anything a person believes is true in their own mind; even for crazy people.

This is only magnified because of Identity Protective Cognition, which explains that when another person tries to convince someone against their strongly held beliefs, anything they hear in an attempt to convert them will only reinforce what they already believe.

Therefore, I don’t care what other people believe. I have no desire to prove anyone wrong, as I have learned that often the subconscious goal people have in trying to prove another person wrong is that they are ultimately trying to earn that person’s respect.

I don’t crave for people’s respect by proving them wrong, as I believe it’s nearly impossible; and ultimately, a poor choice in the game of time management.

People tend to think their opinions, beliefs, and ideologies actually matter to other people.

They don’t.

No one cares what anyone believes. It’s an illusion. Instead, people are simply seeking to identify members of their own camp; while demonizing the other side; believing those with opposing views are wrong, ignorant, and/or immoral.

(The bipartisan structure of American politics has made this clear by now.)

I have peace knowing that I can privately disagree with other people’s moral codes and lifestyles; as they surely disagree with mine. I am more interested in learning what I have in common with others; not what we disagree on.

So surely you can understand why a guy like me has proudly adopted this as my current life motto:

“Hi, I don’t care. Thanks.”

Further exploring my mindset, it is important to note that I have also climbed the ladder of emotional intelligence high enough now to know this:

It is always a choice to be offended, insulted, and/or disrespected by another person.

Similarly, forgiveness is always a choice, as well.

I turned off the breaker switch to allowing others to affect my emotions. I now control my own emotions, thanks to some gentle reminders from the surprisingly emotionally intelligent band Metallica, in legendary songs like “Master of Puppets”:

“I’m pulling your strings/Twisting your mind and smashing your dreams/Blinded by me, you can’t see a thing.”

This is a great illustration of how most people, by default, allow other people’s control of their own emotions to rule their lives.

Imagine the unnecessary burden that has been removed from my own mind. Imagine the freedom I must feel:

To not allow other people to control my emotions because I ultimately don’t fear being perceived as wrong, ignorant, or immoral. To know it’s vanity to believe I can gain a person’s respect by proving them wrong.

So it’s only natural that what I really wanted for this Father’s Day was a basic t-shirt that shares my motto with the world:

“Hi, I don’t care. Thanks.”

(To buy this shirt for the best price on Amazon, click here.)

I was able to debut it during our recent family vacation to Lake Tahoe, where my shirt was a hit among random passersby… my age and older. They are clearly riding they same vibes I am.

And my wife was able to debut a t-shirt that shared her equivalence of my motto:

“I hate people.”

(To buy that shirt on Amazon, click here.)

It’s subtle deadpan humor, as the backdrop is a camp scene in the mountains.

No, my wife doesn’t really hate people.

But like me (she is just a couple of months younger than I am), she has come to similar conclusions about life.

She regularly responds with, “People are crazy.”

So this is where I’m at in life. This is who I have become. This is who I am now.

I have lived enough life to understand and appreciate what little actually matters.

It is now even easier for me to enjoy my life and to love my neighbor as myself.

I am no longer distracted by the things that held me back in Life: Part 1.

Dear Holly: You Should See Me in a Crown

3 years.

Dear Holly,

Last weekend for your brother’s soccer game, as we watched from the field, you discovered a toy crown that apparently someone had left behind.

Your response was pretty much immediate. You started trying on the crown, inspired from our nightly bed time stories about Anna and Elsa.

You never access to such a realistic looking crown before. So as simple as it was, you had a lot of fun putting it own, as I happen to take several pictures of you having fun with it.

Sometimes it’s those completely unplanned pictures than actually turn out to be the best!

 

Love,

Daddy

2010 Jeep Wrangler JK Sport 4WD 6 Speed: Family Ride in Percy Warner Park in Nashville, Tennessee

It’s been two weeks now that I finally obtained my dream vehicle, a Jeep Wrangler. As part of the fun for Mother’s Day for my wife, I announced we would be going for our very first family leisurely drive through the not-so-faraway Jeep-friendly spot: Percy Warner Park in Nashville.

This weekend’s drive confirmed what I always believed about owning a Jeep Wrangler; that you don’t simply own a vehicle, you own a mobile amusement park.

Automatically, anywhere you drive is suddenly more exciting. The view is undeniably better. Whenever you see a road you want to go down, or go up, that you wouldn’t normally be able to… well, now you can.

And we did. Many times.

There is no fear of getting stuck in the mud, because now we have 4 wheel drive.

There is no fear of not being able to turn around if we get to the end of a narrow dead-end road, because the Jeep is so short.

There is no fear of boredom, because we are ultimately riding in a mini monster truck.

Something really crazy about my 7 and a half year journey to finally getting my Jeep Wrangler is that I never ever drove one until I had already bought mine!

That’s how much I knew I was destined to own one.

I can’t remember the last time I bought anything for myself that made me so happy.

When you’re the husband and the father, you just sort of go along with whatever is going on with your family. There was honestly nothing I needed or even wanted anyway.

Except for the Jeep, which I couldn’t afford until now; and was able to pay cash for. (My wife and I are very serious about Dave Ramsey!)

But this Jeep isn’t just for me: My whole family enjoys it.

It’s simply more fun to drive now; even in bumper to bumper commuter Nashville traffic.

That’s how good a Jeep Wrangler is.

Dear Holly: Your Gymnastics Lesson of a Birthday Party

3 years.

Dear Holly,

For your official 3rd birthday party, we booked you a gymnastics lesson at the rec center right around the corner from our house.

You loved being able to get an idea of what gymnastics is like; alongside your party friends.

The lesson actually took place while the parents socialized in the room down the hall. Then, when it was time, we all came in to see you and your party friends individually trek through the obstacle course.

I’m glad we chose this for your birthday party. It was so appropriate for a 3 year-old little girl!

Love,

Daddy