Tag Archives: action

The Things We Do For Love

Full-body hangovers suck. Especially when you didn’t even drink the night before.

I have a full-body hangover of such immense proportions that I beg for the sweet, sweet release of death that will never come, that will always be denied me by an angry and vengeful god.*

And it’s all because I love my little dudes and want them to be happy.

Today, you see, is the last day of Hyper Lad’s spring break. Hyper Lad, unlike his two brothers, loves to get out and do things in the great outdoors. Not just motor sports, but actual activities like, say, for instance, snowboarding.

Yes, snowboarding. It’s like skiing, but for the younger folks. Well, The dead-cat bounce is most important because the cat is, in fact, dead.maybe not necessarily for the young, but at least for those with bones that do not break in a strong wind. Those who can hit the ground and bounce, rather than those who hit the ground with a dead-cat bounce.

Snowboarding can look like one of the most Oh, he flies through the air with the greatest of ease, that daring young dude on his flying snowboard-ine.amazing, elegant bouts of movement when performed by a professional or someone who has practiced or knows what she is doing. Spinning down a half pipe, blowing up the sides and flipping into the air in perfect control of every motion. . . That is the image of the person on a snowboard that springs to mind when dudes think about someone strapping on the single board and hitting the slopes.

I, as should probably be exceedingly obvious by now, am not that person.

I am the person who comes around the corner and into full view of

Crashing on a snowboard hurts. It hurts a lot and, the thing about it, is that it happens all the time.
Not me, but it definitely could be.

the waiting folks in the line for the ski lift, looking good, smoothly shifts from goofy foot to the correct foot and then comes in for a nice cutting stop. . .

and catches the front edge of my snowboard on some slushy slush at the bottom of the slopes and flies in for a massive face plant onto some very hard-packed snow. I ended up with snow inside my goggles and a bruise that runs all up my entire right side of my upper body.

It wasn’t the crash that has me limping, though. That’s just the result of all the snowboarding. It uses very different muscles than does skiing. I’ve skied since injuring my knee and been absolutely fine. I am not fine after snowboarding. Not fine at all.

I groan like a zombie going up stairs, limping the entire way. Going down stairs is even worse. I’m limping and grimacing just walking and almost fell when I tried to get out of bed this morning, and would have landed on my sore, bruised right side if I hadn’t tangled myself in the sheets thrashing in a nightmare of falling.

Hyper Lad, of course, is bouncing around like he’s just been dosed with adrenaline and fitted with rubber in his joints. He’s a happy camper and, being the kind and polite little dude he is, keeps slapping me on the bad shoulder and offering to jump on my back if I want to give him a piggy back ride.

The thing of it is, I almost knew that I would end up like this, but I went ahead and did it anyway. Mostly because Hyper Lad wanted to learn to snowboard and I wanted him to have fun.

There are some who think those are the actions of a stupid dude. I do not know if I can refute that** and keep a straight face.

But that’s okay. I’m having to keep everything else on my body straight so the pain doesn’t incapacitate me.

Yep, it’s the things we do for love. . . that will kill us in the end.

Footnotes & Eratta

* There is a slight possibility that I am engaging in hyperbole for effect and humor. Slight possibility.
** I can, but mostly because I am a contrary son of an individual.

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I Feel Your Pain. . .

I feel your pain. . . but I just don’t care.

Empathy is great. However, on its own, it’s worthless. Feeling someone’s pain as if it were yours does absolutely no one any good if you don’t engage the second, most important, part of empathy.

You must act on your empathic feelings.

Consider this situation:

A young boy near you in the park falls down, skins his knee and starts Empathy is feeling the pain of others as you feel your own, but an often overlooked aspect to empathy, is the ability and choice to act on that empathy and ameliorate the pain others are feeling.screaming and crying and holding his knee. You see this and your knee flashes in empathic pain as you relive similar incidents in your own life.

So, we’re all in agreement that the above constitutes empathy, yeah. What happens next?

You shrug and go back to reading your Kindle. Or, seeing that no one has come to the little girl’s aid, you look around and spot the girl’s mother, who is deeply involved with changing another child’s diaper. You let the mom know that her child is in pain and then offer to help.

Which reaction actually does anyone any good? Well, I suppose the first one could do you some good if it’s a really good book you’re reading, but that’s not really what I’m getting at here.

Realizing someone is in pain and choosing to do nothing about it is, to me, even crueler than not even recognizing the pain in the first place.

What you’re saying is that the pain of other people doesn’t matter to you. And we’re back at questioning whether other people really, truly exist as anything other than NPCs wandering through your staged life.

They do exist. I exist. You exist. I’m not so sure about Rush Limbaugh**, but you get the point.

When you feel pain, when you’re in pain, you don’t simply sit there and let the pain continue. You actively do something to ameliorate your pain, whether that be talking with someone about your bad breakup or removing your hand from the natural gas flame on the stove.

You do something.

Because your parents did their job right, you also possess empathy and feel the pain of others as if it were your own. Since you understand/feel their pain, to consider yourself fully human, I think if your actions can make an impact* on the situation, you must actively do something to end the pain they feel.

Once little dudes and dudettes understand that other people really, truly exist and deserve consideration, they really do internalize the empathy. They begin to live it out. When they see another little kid in pain, they’ll walk over and (as the above picture shows) put an arm around the kid and show support.

It’s only as we grow older that we begin to regress in how we deal with empathy. We begin to ration our empathic responses. We begin to categorize the pain of others as worth less than our own.

Is that really what we want to do? Is that really the legacy we want to pass down to our kids?

Footnotes & Errata

* Note the use of impact as a noun. Because it is a noun. Impact is not a verb. You can make an impact, but you cannot impact something. And don’t even get me started on the abomination that is *shudder* impactful.
** Because no one could really believe what he says and act like he does. I’m almost certain he’s a performance artist doing a long-term installation.

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Encouragement Beats Anger

Performance matters.

Whether you need performance to improve amongst people you supervise at work, or better behavior by the young dudes in the house, good intentions will only take you so far.

As parents and workplace leaders, it’s up to us to make sure those we supervise perform up to their potential. The problem with that is folks, either young or older, aren’t always going to do what is expected of them.

It’s when you stumble into a situation like that we have to show that we understand what leadership, true, real leadership is all about. Which means that we can’t meet lack of progress with anger.

Positive encouragement is much more effective than criticism in almost every situation.

In a recent blog post took the time to round up a number of different sources that tell the tale. And, since I thought I’d try to do something a little less controversial than what I’ve been covering the last two days, that’s where I turn. She focused mostly on the business aspects of the discussion, whereas I’m using her ideas and turning them to family.

Seriously, dudes, think about our remit here on the Guide. We’re here to help each other become better people, better dads. We do this because we want to help our children become the best, happiest people they can be.

All of which means, this sort of thing is perfect for us. Because, let’s face it, dudes, there’s no little dude on Earth who is ever going to go through life perfectly. They’re all going to need a bit more help.

By focusing on positive interactions with your employees and encouraging an upbeat emotional state as often as possible, you’ll be more likely to have a happy, productive and efficient team.

Negative emotions like fear, anger, confusion. . . They all serve to narrow our focus so we can only see the thing that is causing us pain. On the other hand, positive emotions such as happiness or satisfaction, can cause us to be more open in our outlook so we find even more good things to think about.

It’s the Odyssey Effect again. That is, I never saw anyone driving a Honda Odyssey minivan (minivans are cool) until I purchased one and then I saw them everywhere.

Also, a positive little dude is a happy little dude and that makes for a much better house. I mean, who enjoys a whiny, loud, screaming, snot-dribbling monster running loose in the house. Other than when it’s us after our basketball team loses. Totally different thing.

Anyway, our little dudes slip up, and they will, we need to bring them out of their narrow focus on what failed and help them see what went right, and how to apply those lessons to other areas or when they try it again.

Remember, a bad mood is contagious. When you unduly or unjustly criticize a little dude, he’s going to go running and make the life miserable of the next person he sees, be it brother, sister, friend or mom.

Sadly, humans tend to remember negative emotions better than positive ones. So, yes, you can give a good lesson by criticizing a little dude. The problem is, he’s going to associate the bad feelings with the act that he was trying to accomplish. So the next time he contemplates that act, all he’s going to think about are the bad feelings that resulted the last time.

That, my friends, is a recipe for disaster.

Which is why positivity is so much better. Encourage the little dude to try things differently and see if he gets a different result. Encourage creative thinking and watch his imagination escalate to approach a problem from a different, unique angle.

Our job is to bring the little dudes up to the next level, not hold them down so they never climb higher.

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