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Child Like Determination

Posted on May 17, 2016 I Written By

My name is John and I'm a working dad with 4 beautiful children. I'm a full time blogger and entrepreneur. These are my musings. I hope you enjoy.

Child-like Determination

Yesterday was Crash Kid #2’s first piano recital. Luckily there were only 3 people playing at the recital so it was fast and painless. It was exactly the way you’d want a piano recital. Friendly faces in the audience. A chance for your child to perform in front of people and the pressure that goes along with that, but the parents aren’t itching to leave as they heard the 10th child hunting and pecking their way through Yankee Doodle.

I’ll admit that I was a little worried for my daughter. She hadn’t practiced nearly enough and the “Be Our Guest” piece was pretty advanced for 4.5 months of piano lessons. The reality was that she only wanted to practice the songs she knew well. So, she never practiced “Be Our Guest” very much because she was still learning it. I think most of us can relate. We like to take on the things we know we can do and often set aside the hard things for later.

I have to say that in my mind’s eye, I’d already pictured what my daughter would look like if she failed at the song. I could see the despair in her eyes as she looked at me and wondered what she should do if she got off track performing the song. It was heart breaking for me to even think about it.

Much to my surprise and delight, she showed a beautiful determination as she slogged through “Be Our Guest.” From a piano performing perspective it was pretty awful. Her timing was off. She slowly and methodically pecked out the song with only a few parts playing on the right time so you could recognize the song. From a father perspective, it was brilliant.

I was so proud of Crash Kid #2’s determination to pluck her way through the song and do her best. I couldn’t have been more proud. Many kids would have shrunk at the idea of performing that song. She taught me an amazing lesson in determination yesterday. I couldn’t have been more proud.

Starting School in Another Country

Posted on September 2, 2015 I Written By

Crash Uncle is father to three amazing kids, a C-130 Navigator in the USAF, and Crash Dad's favorite brother.

These are the weeks that everyone posts their pictures of their kids starting school, and all the moms either talk about how they held back their tears, or had a party to celebrate, or both.  As excited as I am for my kids to get back to school, because I know how much they enjoy it, I’ve just never gotten super into it.

However, this year is a little different than in the past because we are now living in a different country.  As I mentioned in my last post my kids were dealing with a fair amount of stress because of the move, but just as I predicted, going back to school has already had a very good impact.

She makes the weirdest smiles when we have her pose.

She makes the weirdest smiles when we have her pose.

Crash Niece #1 is attending the school on base, which means for all intents and purposes it is just an American school.  There are some differences, but for the most part it is the same.  The big new thing for her is that she has a male teacher for the first time and I think it was a little intimidating at first.  Fortunately, he seems to be a great teacher that has already set her at ease by telling jokes and referring to himself as the “bald fat man.”  I look forward to watching her really grow as he has said he likes to push his kids, and that is exactly what I want.

I am generally anti-uniform, but man he is a cute little guy.

I am generally anti-uniform, but man he is a cute little guy.

Crash Nephew, on the other hand, is now attending a Japanese pre-school with mostly Japanese kids.  His teacher does speak English, but at our request she will not be using it often with him.  This is one of those rare opportunities to really immerse him in a different culture and allow him to grow in ways that you simply could not do in America.  To be honest I was more nervous than him the first couple of days because he has a tendency to just get super shy when he is in a new situation that he is uncertain about (I wonder where he gets that from?).

Fortunately, he is braver than his Dad and already seems to be comfortable in his new environment.  When Crash Aunt went to pick him up after the first day he said, “Mom, they all speak Spanish (not sure why he gets the two confused.  Maybe too much Diego?), but don’t worry Mom, I speak it too.”  Just to be clear he does not speak Japanese, but I was so proud of him for not being afraid and realizing that he can still be one of them.  It will be so fun to watch him actually learn Japanese this year.

No matter how old a kid is, or where they go to school, it is such an amazing time of their life.  As I think back on my school years elementary school was where I had the most fun, and where I really feel like I became the person that I am today.  I didn’t necessarily learn the most or anything like that, but I had some incredibly influential teachers that changed me forever.

Crash Dad and I shared one of those teachers by the name of Mrs. Woodson for fifth grade at Ellis Elementary in Arlington, Texas.  I recently came across her again on Facebook and was touched to see how many of her students were quick to credit her with many of the successes in their lives.  I know she is in my top five most influential teachers in my life and I am forever indebted to her for that.

So as we send our kids back to school this week and celebrate the freedom it affords us as parents, don’t forget the teachers whose work is just beginning this year and remember to give them the support they need and deserve.  You never know when your kid may have the teacher that will alter their life forever.

None of the Amazing Things I Have Seen Compare to How Amazing Kids Are

Posted on April 27, 2015 I Written By

Crash Uncle is father to three amazing kids, a C-130 Navigator in the USAF, and Crash Dad's favorite brother.

First let me introduce myself so you understand where I’m coming from.  As Crash Uncle I am Crash Dad’s favorite brother, and the absolute coolest uncle in the family.  I have an amazing wife and three kids that are the most important thing in life.  I am also a navigator for the US Air Force on the C-130 Hercules which allows me to see some amazing things.  Because of that job I often have to leave home for days or weeks at a time, and this weekend, was one of those instances.

While I was away Crash Aunt, my wife, decided that Crash Niece, my daughter, needed to learn to ride her bike without training wheels. We had tried previously to no avail, but she was determined that it was time.  So she ripped the training wheels off and let her loose on the street, and what do you know…

…she rode all by herself the very first time.

Kids grow too dang fast.

Kids grow too dang fast.

First Bike Ride

Fortunately they were kind enough to make a video of the first attempt so that I could participate from a distance.  Though it is no replacement for being there in person, I will take what I can get.  It was just amazing to me how quickly kids learn new things. Now she did fall a couple of times yesterday trying to learn how to turn, but she kept getting up and trying which is all a parent really wants.

I came home today and the first thing my daughter did when she got home from school was to take me outside and show me how good she was.  Once again I was amazed at how much better she had gotten since even yesterday.  She even started to challenge herself by riding through the gutter and onto the grass, followed by riding along the edge of the gutter without going into the grass or into the gutter.  She did all of that by herself because she was trying to make it more fun, and I couldn’t be prouder.

So many kids these days don’t know how to have fun outside, but I am so thrilled that my kids are not that way.  Sometimes I wonder if I am doing it right with my kids, but I knew we were doing something right when she told me something while riding today.  She said, “Dad, I don’t like cars they are yucky, I just want to ride my bike everywhere cause it’s healthy.”