Tag Archives: fatherhood

gas and oil essay PA

You know, as a parent, you can be wracked with self-doubt and anxiety about what kind of job you’ve done raising your kids.

Did you instill in them the right values? How do they treat others? Do they respect themselves?

Will they only remember the stupid things you did wrong when they were younger?

Did you give them enough support? Did you not give them enough?

My “boys” have just turned 23 and 18.

The older one is on his own after graduating from college last year. He’s a manager-in-training in the hospitality industry, working for a major hotel chain and making more money than his old man did right out of college.

He’s living independently, owns a car, buys his own groceries, is well-regarded by his co-workers and really enjoys his work.

The younger son just graduated from high school, has been a stellar student and an even more stellar friend to his wide circle of friends, has held a number of offices in school groups and activities and will be working four summer jobs.

So, yeah, I think the kids are all right.

And if I needed any more affirmation about whether they learned the right things, I turn for some comfort to this essay my younger son wrote last year:

Ten years ago, my family moved from the streets of New York to the wilderness of the Poconos.

With it, came many challenges such as dealing with the extreme winters. My father, being conscious of this, made a rule that my brother and I had to abide by: wear your boots to school.

After the first month of winter, wearing my boots to school every day became tiresome and uncomfortable.

Becoming irritated by the bulky footwear, I decided to do something about it.

One night, I put my Nike sneakers in a plastic bag and placed them in the backseat of my dad’s car.

The next morning, I put on my boots, as instructed, and got into my dad’s car to head to the bus stop.

In the three-minute ride from my house to the bus stop, I quietly changed from my boots to my sneakers. I then proceeded to board the bus with pride in the chicanery I just pulled off.

Later that morning, my dad found the infamous boots sitting on the floor in the backseat of his car.

Safe to say he was displeased. In the grand scheme of things, it was just one day I didn’t wear my boots.

However, in that same day I did learn that Nike sneakers do not have favorable insulation. In fact, I did not wear my sneakers again until the following March.

The clunkiness of the boots was worth the warmth they gave me. I was fortunate to learn from this situation at a young age that I am not always right.

It was at that moment I realized that there are people who know me better than I know myself — and those people are my parents.   

Read related links:

From Boys to Men

On Being a Dad and Facing an Empty Nest

Unemployment and Fatherhood

Just when you think you have things figured out, life throws you an off-speed pitch that takes you by surprise and changes the way you look at the world.

I’m about to run out of my second stint of unemployment in the past two-and-a-half years and I’m not sure what direction I’m headed.

Money is tight, I have yet to dip into retirement funds, yet my kids are all clamoring for iPhones and I have a new driver on the horizon who will surely want a car (actually, she wants a Jeep).

“Everything is on hold” I tell them until I find some steady work.

Never thought I would ever be in this sort of situation, as I have a graduate degree and many years of industrial science experience, but I find myself in a situation that many people my age and similar background are suffering through.

I worked successfully for a company for over 20 years but after a merger I find myself unemployed and wondering what to do next.

At first I thought this shouldn’t be too bad. I got a decent severance and I should be able to find something rather quickly. I’m even kinda burned out and could use a little break after working non-stop from way back in high school, through college and after.

Boy, was I wrong. And here I am, trying to show my kids that college, hard work and loyalty will do you right in the world.

If nothing else, I have used this time to really be a participant parent, which I would have otherwise not have been as I would have been working and away from home most of my awake time during the day. I’m not sure if my kids really appreciate me being home, but I would not have been able to experience the field hockey and baseball games, swim meets, dance classes, field trips, Halloween parades, class parties, marching band performances, football games, cheerleading events, everyday shuttling kids from place to place, and the list goes on and on, if I had not had this opportunity to be home.

I’m actually not sure if I really want to go back to the life I had before, but with four kids to put through school and beyond, I will have to do some full-time work at some point to afford them the chance to go beyond what I have done with my life as I know they are capable of doing.

They are so much smarter and more prepared for the future than I was at their age, and I want them to succeed and pass that to their own children at some point.

Growing up, my dad typically worked two jobs to support his family and I hardly saw him during the week, and I have probably spent more time with him now as an adult then back when I was a kid. All in all, I am very happy to have been able to spend this time with my kids at these important times in their young lives, and I
hope I have made some impact.

No, wait.

I am sure I have made a lasting impression that hopefully some day they will appreciate the time that dad was around.