Why Being a Dad in America is so Great

Most recently Phil Robertson of +Duck Dynasty fame has been blasted for answering a question. Not only answering but giving his personal opinion to another media source when specifically asked about it. HOW DARE HE! (that's sarcasm, folks) He has since been restored to the show and life goes on however, why the backlash?

Prior to that was the "gay-debate" among the +Boy Scouts of America which caused the BSA to change
their position on permitting openly-gay SCOUTS (not leaders) to continue participating. This was to the tune of over $50 Million dollars in lost revenue and support from private organizations that allow the BSA to continue operating. Unfortunately, that loss has been passed-on to the rest of us Scouting Parents who are still going strong while millions of fellow participants dropped their associations. All over being "gay".

Before that, and recently "resolved", was the gay-in-the-military debacle. I'm only commenting on this because I get asked about it often once people find out I'm in the military. "How do I feel about it?" That's a good question... how DO I feel about it? Professionally, I don't care. I don't believe that being gay, specifically, makes you any more or less mission-capable. I don't believe that every homosexual male wants to attack me in the shower. But, I can tell you that I don't care to serve with an alcoholic,either, but no one asked me about that. So how does being gay in the military affect the mission? To be honest, I still don't know. It's been who-knows-how-long since the vote passed and people are getting married, etc, etc, but I don't see it.

Maybe it's because the "gay" constituent makes up 3-5% of the American population and the military is less than 1%; thereby making the probability of "gay" military members effectively less than a percentage of a percent. However, you wouldn't think that given all the press attention. Before this gets too deep I'll clarify by saying the quotation marks around gay are to simplify the long list of everyone included; lesbian, bi, gay, and trans-gender. 

Here's the big picture though... What we teach our children is undoubtedly what we've been taught. Even if it's wrong, we tend to perpetuate our belief systems, knowledge base, and behaviors. If we believe that homosexuality is wrong then make sure to back that up with whatever facts or figures you have researched and studied when you share this knowledge with your children. If you agree with what's going on around you, don't limit your "oh, so wise" open-minded-free-spirit teach hate and bigotry to your children. For example and as we have seen many times lately, the Christian constituents will blast the internet and social spaces with "it's wrong" and "because the Bible says so" or "it's not natural" and even the rare "God hates fags" comments. These overshadow the supporting "gay" comments who are shut down before they even get to retort by such hate-spewing so-called "Lovers of Christ". 

As a military father of four, upstanding civic member, and out-spoken "do the right thing or don't do it at all" type of person I'll share with you what I taught my children... my personal beliefs with historical background and data to support them. I reinforced my belief system with even more supporting evidence which buoyed my statements leaving no shadow of doubt about "how Dad felt". 

I'll tell you this though, Jesus wasn't hung on a cross as a sacrifice for our sins for us to spend  our lives prosecuting and condemning others for theirs. Jesus dined with thieves, gave relief to harlots, healed the sick, and spent more time giving than receiving. I suppose the difference between tolerance and acceptance is whether it's up to us to condemn it or not. I will not tolerate sub-standard behavior from my subordinates when it comes to mission completion, but I will accept their lifestyle so long as it does not affect performance negatively.

I guess when people ask me "how I feel about it" I can answer, "I wish I could love them more"; it's not God putting hate in my heart, that's MY fault. God is love. More people know what Christians are against than what we are for.

#gay #lgbt #PhilRobertson #DuckDynasty #DDAE

The Holidays are a stressful time for 99% of all American families... it's just a fact. To military families they can be a more stressful time with deployed spouses, divorced parents trading children off, single parents struggling to get by, and even things as simple as the new "hottest toy" costing an arm and a leg. While financial constraints aren't new to any American family military families are further restricted by the inability to use "payday loans" (which should be avoided at all costs by everyone) and at the same time, equally liberated by knowing how much they're getting paid in the next two weeks!

This Christmas was good to us but was abnormally stressful. My father-in-law passed only three months ago so his absence left a void in all of us; we closed on our newly built home and moved-in right before the Holidays (literally the 24th of December), and finding money to buy presents for everyone that was within our budget was practically impossible. What we DID do right though was budget our debt. Yes, that sounds backwards, because it is, but learning how to adapt and overcome as well as shoot, move, and communicate, enables us "military folks" to stay ahead of the game, as long as our head is in the game.

Throughout the year we utilize a budgeting system from Financial Peace University by +Dave Ramsey. It has an amazing spreadsheet that you can enter all your debts into, track savings, monitor spending profiles, etc. Needless to say, it's an endless resource. But... despite all the planning and budgeting, LIFE still happens and by Murphy's Law alone it will happen right before you "need" all that money for gifts or vacations! So what do we do then? Well, I can tell you like most Military Families we take out a loan.

As of yet, there are no figures out on how many millions of dollars Americans borrowed for the Holidays but it's just plain old debt. I really liked the tips from +CreditDonkey and I think you will , too. This is an interesting graphic that I would encourage you to visit also. ------------>------------->--------------->
Regardless, a Google search on Holiday debt will rend you plenty of resources. The question still remains, "Now that we're in this mess, how do we get out of it?"

Well, Dave Ramsey is my go-to source for that answer. This isn't a shameless plug for his God-given talents but if it works... Like I said earlier, the benefit of being a military member in-debt is knowing how much we're going to get paid every two weeks and that we can count on that budget for the remaining term of our enlistment. The trick is not incurring any new debt until it's paid up. Well, the Dave Ramsey plan will help. If you're not able to find a seminar in your local area, you can shortcut the plan and download his spreadsheets.

If you came here looking for specific, step-by-step answers, I'm sorry. I'm not a magic 8-ball. I CAN help you find resources to minimize your debt and tell you what my family and I are going to do. I can also tell you that 2014 is our year to give debt a real punch to the jaw! I'm speakin' it and we're standing by it. Why don't you join us?

#DaveRamsey #debt #holiday #christmas #military #budget
I stumbled across this article on +Military Spouse called Dreading the Friendship-Dating Scene, Again. Here's what I know and is painfully obvious to everyone in the Homo erectus family (that's humans); girls are different from boys! Whoa! Who'd have guessed?! I know, right? Ph.D. material right here. But seriously, girls relate to one another differently therefore we can't expect our spouses to run out and make new "best-ies" at the playground while we're at work. I'm writing this, of course, on the premise that "dad" is the working type and in my case Military, and "mom" is the spouse who takes care of the home. When we move/PCS we go to our new squadron, hopefully met by a sponsor, and begin in-processing, meetings, briefings, etc., and meet, LITERALLY, hundreds of new people almost daily. For us, and usually in all cases, men don't have a problem meeting new people.

A general rule of thumb I like to try and practice is let others introduce themselves to me. I am a VERY outgoing person so when I meet new people I am similar to a small dog... minus the inappropriate leg maneuvers. I'm excited to meet new people! I like people! So, making new "friends" isn't difficult. However, for my introvert wife that isn't exactly a fan of crowds or people, how does PCSing/moving help or hurt relationships? It's devastating! In a word.

For women, specifically, so much of introductions are based on perceptions where men base it on logic. Without another collegiate dissertation I can tell you this... Pace yourself! When you move from one place to another, even in-town, don't feel so distraught about "not knowing anyone". Besides, you won't even like your neighbor if you met them now anyway! With the advent of the telephone loved ones have since been only a dial-tone away. Now with internet you can +Skype family members when you really miss them. Bottom line, take your time. Let the "newness" soak in. Observe your surroundings and relax. You'll meet plenty of people in due time and hate most of them soon enough.

#smithsonian #besties #PCS #introvert
This holiday season represents another year of memories, and another opportunity to celebrate with friends and family. As we gather around the Christmas tree to unwrap presents, sip some 'nog, and depending on where you live, have a snow-ball fight or two, I wanted to share another safety tip with you. If you have a natural tree you can appreciate this. While the video is a little slow to start (about 5 seconds) notice the timer in the lower left corner as the tree ignites. This could be a candle or short in an electric wire. Have pets? If they like to chew things then this may be you after they nibble through the protective rubber housing of the light strands. Again, reviewing your family's emergency action plans in never a bad idea and remembering to "test" your smoke alarms never hurts either.

While I'm writing this I am watching +Discovery Channel's TLC show called Crazy Christmas Lights. They said that 30% of Holiday injuries are people falling from heights or putting up lights, in general. Make sure that your ladder is secure to the ground and don't stand on a ladder on another ladder... Not without videotaping it and posting it here anyway.

For those living in base-housing, double check with your privatized housing office before stringing lights up your third story windows or roof-line. Most offices do NOT allow lights above the second story; just check before-hand and save yourself the trouble. And, if you're like me, hit up +The Home Depot or +Lowe's Home Improvement the day after Christmas to snatch up all their LED's! You can never have too many!

Finally, you can zip over to the National Fire Protection Association's page for more helpful information, more specifically on tree-fire advice and avoidance. Last but not least, remember our deployed military members who are not able to enjoy the holidays with their friend's and families. You can make donations to the +USO or check with the +American Red Cross and their Holiday Mail for Heroes program.

#christmas #tree #uso #americanredcross #fireprevention

In a previous article I had asked "if the internet was making our kids dumber?" I intended to simply ask if anyone else thought that the endless barrage of tablets, cell phones, and portable media devices had somehow shortened our kids' grasp on reality; moreover, had it any effect on their creativity. Several other ideas popped into my head and I continue with this:

It's hard to find opportunities to expand our children's mind. Many of us "old" people reminisce about being "forced" to play outside, carry around Walkman's and trading tapes, and most of all, using our imaginations. I'm not saying that this is common but here's what I notice:

Let's make two groups. One will be a "control group" of children that are raised with appropriate "boundaries" who are allowed to play a video game or two AFTER their work is done and has one working parent. Another group will be children of families in which both parents work full-time and their "spare" time is filled without an internal or external locus of control (Google it), we'll call them the "moderns". Finally, a group of children raised by wolves, for conversations sake. These will be the "Tarzan and Jane"s.

In regards to environmental adaptability who do you think has the advantage?

  • The control group has a "healthy" dose of reality sprinkled with "fun" and may recognize the abnormality of a stranger in a mall carrying a gun. At the least he/she may recognize that it is out of place. These are the kind of kids that may "tattle" a lot. Their version of adapting to a "change" in their environment (mommy said guns are bad) is to alert the parent to the change.
  • The "moderns" spend most of their time in an augmented reality where people aren't injured in car crashes and they are in control of the majority of the environments in which they interact. To these children there may be a common belief that a gun makes a fantastic sound when fired and the bullet always hits its target and stops. These kids are typically the ones that show your kids their daddy's gun that he thought was hidden in the closet and winds up shooting your kid in the chest because he/she "didn't know it was loaded." True story. Ultimately, they failed to adapt to the change in environment because they believe that they are in control of it.
  • Finally, the children raised by wolves. The children in this group live in an ever-changing environment whose only reliability comes in the form of possessions. "What is mine IS mine unless someone tries to take it in which case I will respond with like violence." These are the children raised with no comprehension of socially acceptable standards or moral order. They typically steal because they don't believe it's wrong or hurt others if they want something because they believe it's "what you do to survive". This group's adaptability is limited by how they've been raised.

Within each group the behavior exhibited is "acceptable" because they're all the same. If put in their own bubbles the first group would most likely moderate their own lives against the standards that eventually emerge among them. The "moderns" would take longer to adapt to their environments because they would continue to live in disbelief that the events that unfold as a repercussion to the actions against them are "real", i.e. everything is a simulator to them. Don't we get to re-spawn? This group would most likely kill one-another off first since the third group would establish a hierarchy similar to that of a canine or animal kingdom. This final group also accepts the changes occurring within their environments and believes that they can control them hence, "I will fire this gun and it will kill my target". Again, the locus of control here is skewed but not missing completely.

The problem is that our children operate across all three versions of realities and interact on multiple levels with their peers. This means that we must make certain efforts to teach our children about some things we take for granted as "common knowledge". Playing with guns, one of my favorite examples, is a PRIME example of things that take a little more than common sense, especially when it comes to educating children whose cognitive thought process aren't completely developed before the age of thirteen! (give or take a few years based on sex and environment) Re-read the examples above and think if you know or knew anyone that could have fit into them when YOU were growing up. Do you think that with all of the new distractions from technology that it is any easier to learn them? Or teach them? We need to make sure that, as parents, we pay particular attention to the behavior that we are modeling, the attitudes we display when we are presented with situations, and especially careful with the tone and content of the words that come out of our mouths. Trust me, I'm a huge "carry a gun, shoot a bear, eat the bones" promoter BUT, that kind of attitude will produce ineffective and mal-adaptive young adults which produces idiots in adulthood.

If you are a military member, think of how much time you have to "teach" your children. Now, subtract the time you spend in training, deployments, long work days, and ask yourself if you have enough time NOW? Check back tomorrow for part 2 where I'll connect the question "is the internet making our kids dumber" to "being a GREAT dad"!

"A day that will live in infamy..." Seven of the most famous words in American history. Today I decided to play this sound clip for my four children who have a rich heritage of documented military service spanning several hundred years (if not thousands).

Then I showed them this video. The only color video, not restored, of the Pearl Harbor attack. Long may it be remembered, and never again questioned, America's resolve to seek out and subdue terror on any soil.

Remember to take the time and share America's history, as well as your own, with your children on this day. Our history is left to them and the stories we tell. Don't expect anyone else to tell your story for you. I remember my grandfather's stories of his time in Guadalcanal and into the "nuclear age" as the eight-grade dropout graduated from the +University of Arkansas on the Dean's List and went on to build rockets for our Space program and Cold War defense.

Here I stand with 17 years of Active Duty service, re-telling his stories to my children, and sharing America's rich heritage together with you. Never Forget...

#PearlHarbor #PearlHarborDay #ADayThatWillLiveInInfamy #WW2

My wife and I had a question, and our daughter told us to "Google it"! So we asked Google! There it was, the answer in all of its glory, and none of the drama. That got me thinking about something... Is the internet making our kids dumber? At 35-years young I remember spending hours in the basement with my cousin huddled around a 13-inch black and white TV playing asteroids on an "old" Atari, emerging only for restroom breaks. Even then I got yelled at for not "getting enough sunlight"! At the same time I remembered spending hours in a library because I had a book report to do. I had to find accurate and reliable information relating to the topic; I had to cross-reference authors, titles, and topics; I had to use... a +Card Catalog! Mother of God! I used +Encyclopaedia Britannica,Inc. which is still a good read, just not in print anymore (I don't thing). And, I mastered the #DeweyDecimalSystem. Kind of like Algebra, a pointless chore.

In less than 10 seconds I accomplished more than a day in a library used to get me. I searched "dog" and got literally millions of hits to websites 
that told me everything I could ever want to know, and wish I could forget, about dogs. I remember driving the extra 10 minutes to a bigger library because they had more books, hence, larger catalog. Maybe that one would even have a topical reference and not just alphabetical author or titles. What I DID find in the library that takes longer on the internet is a reliable source. Agreeably, +Wikipedia is not an suitable source, even though there are several citations at the bottom of most subjects. In a library I would have the "truth", or at least a reliable version of it, in my hand. No ads, no spam. The internet is fraught with hazards from spam to pop-up ads to very inappropriate pop-up ads all in the quest of "dog".

Honestly, I just wanted to know if my #Weimaraner was shedding too much? A direct Google search didn't reveal anything worthwhile but a library allowed me to search without someone asking for my personal data and I even learned stuff along the way. Have you ever found a book on the way to the book you were looking for? I happens to me quite often, especially in book stores. Did you know book stores had more than magazines? It took a while but I found them amid all the shiny covers and LED lights. So how does a Google search stimulate my child's creative thinking? If Google doesn't have it then it must not be real, right?

Look for Part 2 coming soon!

#Google #encyclopedia #Brittanica #library
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