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I’m Glad My Kids are Patriotic

Posted on April 20, 2016 I Written By

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

I just got back from a long couple of weeks in the Philippines for work, and as usual it left me concerned about how my time away from my kids impacts them and our relationship.  It is always heartwarming to come home to their handmade signs and super tight hugs and kisses, which I guess means I am doing something right.

All of my other doubts aside, I know my kids are learning one thing that is incredibly important to me.  They are learning to be patriotic and have respect for the great symbols of our nation.

For those of you unfamiliar with military installations, there is music that plays every morning and every night.  I have seen different variations at the various bases I have lived at in terms of what music they play, but the national anthem is always a part of that music at some point during the day.  A fun addition here in Japan is that they also play the Japanese national anthem.  When the music plays you are supposed to stop walking or driving, and if outside stand with your hand over your heart much like you would at a sporting event.

This is our first time living on base so my kids were not super familiar with this tradition before we lived here, but I am proud to say they have learned quickly.

Just now my youngest was in the living room with my wife and I when the music started playing.  She immediately wanted to run outside, but we stopped her since she isn’t supposed to be running around while the music is playing.  Much to my happy surprise she said, “Fine, I put my hand on my heart.”  Technically she put her hand on her stomach, but we helped her find her heart and she stood there in the living room for a minute while the music played.

She is only almost three years old, but I am super proud of the fact that she is learning that respect already, even though I realize she doesn’t really know why she is doing it.  I am grateful for parents who taught me that respect at a young age as I think respect is one of the most important character traits we can develop.

Burnt Out and Tired

Posted on March 21, 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.

What a great title for a post on my Birthday huh? It’s just the reality and I thought I’d share. As a get a year older today, I realize that life is a challenge. That doesn’t change. Even when you have amazing things and opportunities in your life, there are also things that can really overwhelm as well.

The interesting part is that I have a pretty amazing life. I have a lot to be grateful for. I have so many opportunities and get to do so many amazing things. However, with all that opportunity it’s really easy to get burnt out and tired.

This seems like the moment to remember that my mom told me I can’t do everything. I’d always respond, “You’re right mom, but I’m sure going to try.”

As I’ve gotten a year older, I think I’m going to have to modify that statement. In fact, I’m already doing so in many things. The older I get, the harder I try not to do everything. That’s really hard for someone who enjoys so many things in life. Kind of makes me wish that I only had one skill and interest. Then, I could just focus on it and not worry about all the other things that I wasn’t good at doing.

Of course, even saying that I realize that the grass is always greener on the other side. There are pros and cons to everything in life. That’s a lesson I keep learning over and over again.

I just got off the phone with Crash Uncle. He had some great words of wisdom that talk about enjoying where you’re at and not worrying about a lot of the other stresses in life. Much easier said than done. However, it’s something I’ll be chewing on this week.

Until then, I’m going to knock out a few more things on my to-do list so I don’t have that weight on my shoulders too. There’s something amazingly satisfying when you cross things off your to-do list.

My Crash Daughter Super Hero

Posted on November 24, 2015 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.

Crash Daughter Strong
I saw this image today and I thought this is what I want for my daughter. I want her to feel like a super hero and to realize that through prayer she can find super powers.

In my work I have a chance to work with so many extraordinary women. Although, I’m often shocked as I get to know them how little confidence they have in them. Watching from the outside, I can see their brilliance, but for some reason they have a hard time seeing it.

I’m hopeful that my Crash Daughter will realize she’s a super hero inside and can do anything, just like her mom.

How Do You Talk To Kids About Hard Things?

Posted on October 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.

You may see this picture of the squadron patch on Facebook to honor those who lost their lives today.  To those we lost, a toast...

This is a picture of the patch from the squadron that lost 6 of their own today with the black stripe in memorial.

I really do mean that as a question because I don’t know the answer.

In case you were wondering what brought on this somber topic, let me tell you.  I have no idea how much coverage it is getting in the states right now, but a C-130J crashed in Afghanistan this morning near the city of Jalalabad.  Many of the details are unclear at this time but it seems pretty clear from the reports that the entire crew of 6 lost their lives in the crash.

Now this would make me pause no matter what as every life that is lost in the defense of our country is special to me, but this one really strikes a lot closer to home for a number of reasons.  The most obvious reason is that I fly on the C-130, though an older model, and it is likely that I either know some of the crew, or at least have close friends that do.  The second reason is that I have been to the place where this happened multiple times while I was deployed.

Maybe the biggest reason this is striking me so hard is that this was the first time I have had to explain something like this to my kids, and I have no idea how to do it.  My wife actually told them about it before I got home, and who really knows how much they understand, but it is just something that I am finding challenging to think about, let alone explain to my kids.  They know that I fly airplanes and even that it is the C-130, which makes me super proud that they know what it is, and they even understand that it can be dangerous if I’m not careful.

When I deployed we were very clear with them about how daddy need to go away from home for a little while to try and help people who needed it.  It was hard on them but they were pretty tough most of the time.  Even with all of that, how do you explain to them that some other kids will never see their daddy again because of an accident doing the same job that you do every day?

Just to be clear I think it is important to talk about things like this because it is reality.  The nature of my work is a dangerous one, and there are inherent risks.  We do an amazing job mitigating those risks, but tragedies like this still happen.  If we allow our kids to live in a bubble where they think everything is flowers and fairies then I don’t think they will be able to deal with the tragedies that ultimately do happen.  On the other hand, we also don’t want to scare them to the point that they never want to take risks or make mistakes because then we are only selling them short of their full potential.

The more I think about this I don’t think there really is a good answer because every kid and every situation is different.  But what I do think is important is to talk to our kids when tragedies happen so that they aren’t just left to wonder.  It is not easy to deal with tragedy, but learning to cope is an essential life skill that can easily get overlooked if we don’t do our jobs as parents.

In closing I would ask you to take a moment to think about those who lost their lives today in defense of our freedoms.  If you are a religious person I am sure their families can use all of the prayers you can spare.  If you aren’t, take an extra moment to hug your family today because your ability to do so is exactly why so many of us do what we do.

To those we lost, a toast…

One Problem with Society Today

Posted on July 14, 2015 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.

I saw this image on LinkedIn today and I thought it illustrated really well one of the challenges I think our society faces today. We’re far too prone to criticize and judge. It’s sad. Reminds me of an email my Canadian friend sent me that said, “Can’t we all just get along?”
The Problem with Society Today