Category Archives: Kids
We take a break from the typical topics of guns and weight lifting to talk about something else.
I’m not perfect.
I’m happy to admit it.
I don’t expect you to be perfect either.
And, I’ve worked to make that clear to my children.
I read this article and thought to share it. (h/t Cass and El).
I’m talking about kids who are well adjusted, high functioning, easy to talk to and seem to have nothing to prove.
Secretly (until now), I’ve noticed a common theme amongst well-adjusted kids. The theme seems to be this: Great kids come from families in which parents are real about their shortcomings. They come from families who live and believe in grace.
I’ve also noticed the opposite. Many of my friends who’ve confessed to me they’ve had problems in life come from families in which parents (and mostly the Dad, honestly) have a hard time admitting they’re wrong. Often they come from religious families in which the parents felt they had to play a role model of perfection.
I’m sure I’m not the best Dad in the world. My kids think to seem I’m OK, but I know my shortcomings. I know what I’m failing at, and I admit it to my kids. They forgive me, and we work on it together. I think about the things my own Dad did and didn’t do, and how I swore I’d be different. In fact, I was thinking about this very thing the other day, and then that Harry Chapin song came into my head. It was both me as the son, growing up to be just like the Dad I swore I wouldn’t be like, and me as the Dad both not wanting my sons to be like me but fearing they might. And if that’s going to be the case, what do I need to change about myself so that if in fact they will be like me, hopefully they’ll not have my same failings.
And so, sometimes that requires admitting my mistakes, my failings, my weaknesses to my kids.
Sorry to admit this Mom & Dad, but I don’t really recall them ever being so frank with me. Admitting when they made a mistake. Apologizing when they were wrong. I do remember having feelings of resentment because when it was quite evident they were in the wrong, they didn’t admit it, they didn’t own and fess up to it, they didn’t apologize for it. No, it’s not time for a pity party for me, but I guess that is something I swore I’d do differently, and have succeeded at.
I don’t like bullshit, I’m not one for bullshit, I won’t bullshit other people, and I don’t like people who bullshit me. That holds especially true for my kids. If I made a mistake and didn’t own it, that’d be bullshit; thus, I own it.
Trust is so important with kids. When they’re young you can rule them with an iron fist. But as they get older, they can and will make their own decisions. I know that eventually trust is the only thing we’ll have, and I have to trust they will obey and they have to trust that my judgment and guidance is right and best. And in part of that, I know that showing I’m not perfect and that yes sometimes I will make a mistake, that sometimes I might steer them wrong… well, that’s helpful for them to know. Because they can know I’m working truly in their best interest, and that I will make best effort for them. It allows them to have stronger faith in me. I too must also accept they will make mistakes, more likely than not since they are kids and learning. And that I must allow them to make mistakes, to learn from them, and to grow and move on.
I’ve also found telling stories of my own mistakes, my own failures, it’s helped the kids. It’s helped them realize that mistakes aren’t the end of the world. This was especially true for Oldest, who never took failure very well and sometimes it would keep him from wanting to ever try because he didn’t want to risk failing. To see successful and happy Dad, and that he made it here despite that… that Dad learned, what Dad learned, and how Dad overcame and did better? Who else should be that good role model in life, but Dad, right?
No, I’m not perfect.
But I try to be better every day.
And sharing my failings with my kids, hopefully helps make them better every day too.
They aren’t public schools, they are government schools.
And they are not places of learning.
If life was nothing but standardized testing, which the budget depended upon, then maybe we’d be accomplishing something useful. But alas, life isn’t that… so what exactly are children being prepared for? Other than learning to sit still, conform, suffer, deny yourself, that you’re stupid, creativity has no place, and the list goes on and on….
If you look down on “rednecks”, both the people and the things they do, then you should stop reading now because this post will probably offend you.
Had a wonderful day with the family today. Originally we were to do this during my Christmas vacation, but since I was down with the flu it didn’t happen. Fortunately the heavens saw fit to give us today, so the opportunity was taken.
The main thing? Going to the gun range and shooting. Some work, some recreation. Thank you, Karl, for letting us use the range.
It started off with me doing some live fire pistol skills work, because of my desire to start shooting IDPA. Details on this elsewhere. Meanwhile, Wife and Kiddos were inside the range house doing schoolwork (the joys of homeschooling).
When I finished my work, I took Wife out for a little work with the shotgun. She wants to improve her proficiency with the shotgun, so we did some work there. Alas, a 12 gauge, even with low-recoil rounds, just isn’t in the cards for her (Karl, if you find her shoulder, please let me know). She’s just fine with the 20 gauge. I just wish … oh wait! It looks like Federal now has a 20 gauge buckshot with FLITECONTROL wad (PD256). Holy crap! This is awesome. Of course, as I look around right now, everyone’s out of stock. But wow, this is great. I’m there and it’s pretty much removed my reserves about the 20 gauge. Sure it’d be nice to standardize on 12 gauge, but oh well. At least now I don’t have to put up with sub-optimal 20 gauge buckshot.
After that, Wife was done for the day. With the wet weather and the temps in the 40′s, it was just too cold for her to keep going. But the Kiddos were ready.
I recently purchased a new shotgun and needed to break it in and ensure function. I ran a bunch of 12 gauge target loads through it, then some full-power buckshot (of course, the Federal FLITECONTROL), and some slugs (Brenneke low-recoil slugs). The slugs didn’t want to go into the mag tube easily for some reason, looks like the brass was hanging up on the retainer clips, but no big deal really. Everything functioned great. I did put a 12″ Hogue Short Shot stock on it (shorter LOP makes for easier shouldering) and while 12″ LOP is a little too short for me, it worked out alright and I didn’t smack my thumb into my face as much as I expected I would. I consider the shotgun functional and able to be pressed into service.
Oldest has never shot a 12 gauge before — he’s always been a bit recoil shy. But today he stepped right up to the plate and fired it like a champ. We’ll work on speeding up his shot recovery, but he really did a great job with it.
Youngest has never fired a “big gun” before, just .22′s. But he wanted to try the shotgun. 12 gauge was too much tho, so I pulled out the 20 gauge (a Mossberg 500 Bantam youth model) and let him try it with some light target loads (which are still kinda stout). He handled it well, tho was taken aback a bit because it was a big boom — again, it’s the most gun he’s ever fired. But he did come back for a second shot, but that was enough.
We put the shotguns away and took out an AR-15. I originally didn’t plan on bringing out an AR, but when packing up this morning, Oldest expressed interest in shooting it and I wasn’t going to say no. Again, he’s been very recoil shy in the past, only wanting to shoot .22′s. So for him to want to step up is great in my book. I mean, I know he can handle it, after having shot that 255# feral hog a couple years ago with a .308 bolt-action. Oldest got to learn what “giggle factor” is. He was having WAY too much fun with that rifle — I should have brought more ammo. Daughter shot it for a bit, but she tweaked something in one of her arms the other day and so it was kinda painful to hold up the rifle. Youngest tried the AR as well, and was quite pleased that the recoil was far less than the shotgun — tho it was a heavier gun to hold up.
We put the long-guns away, and pulled out everyone’s favorite: the Buck Mark Camper. All 3 kiddos shot at the steel targets with this, and it’s just fun to plink with such a low-recoil gun — tho Youngest did get bit by the slide. Daughter showed some good improvement on trigger control. She asked how you get to shoot faster, so I explained a bit and I guess something clicked because she was shooting a little faster by the time we wrapped up.
While a lot of today was about having fun, it also was with purpose. I want my kids to be self-sufficient and able to take care of themselves. Yes, that means being able to shoot a gun proficiently. You may not understand why that’s the case, and if you don’t understand I’d be happy to discuss it with you; even if you don’t agree with it, I hope you are willing to have an open mind and come to listen and understand. The guns shot, the things we did, all done with purpose, even if I was the only one that knew what the purpose was.
Alas, we had to wrap it up before everyone was tired of it, but that’s ok — always leave them wanting more.
We headed to the Elm Creek Cafe for a delicious lunch (everyone loves that place), then back home.
Oh… and the Buc-ee’s in Bastrop is finally open. Yes, we stopped in. Finally my family came to understand why I adore Buc-ee’s.
We had a great day. Smiles all around. Happy family. I can’t wait to do it again.
Yesterday afternoon the family went to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra. This is our fourth time seeing them in concert, and it’s always an enjoyable experience.
But this time was a lot more enjoyable — especially for Youngest.
Like all TSO shows, it’s a giant rock concert with loads of class, music blending classical and rock (hey, all the guys behind TSO are heavy metal guys), lights, lasers, smoke, pyrotechnics… just a great time. This year was different from years past in that their 3rd album, The Lost Christmas Eve, was the focus of the first half of the show. It was a great choice and welcome change. Still, the storytelling was awesome, and overall production top-notch, as always.
We did notice some differences, like the show was tighter. A little less banter and talk, a little less improv, and the second half “rock concert” didn’t have any noticeable covers or jams. But that’s all good because again, it made for a nice change in the show. We stopped going to see them for a little bit because it was “the same thing” over and over, which was OK but you know… you’ve seen it once, you’ve seen it again, and why spend all that money again? So we really liked the change. We do hope as they put out more non-Christmas albums to try to catch them on one of their non-winter tours.
I am a member of the TSO Fan Club, and because of that I’m able to get early tickets and good seats at the shows. This was no exception, and I chose some nice floor seats. Not too close, not too far back, but close enough to really see everything yet far enough back to be able to take in the whole of the show. Well… I think because we had such good placement, we got a treat.
Before the show started, while we were just sitting and waiting, a member of the road crew came up to us and pointed at Youngest and asked if he’d like to come on stage at the end of the show and receive a present from the band. Whoa! Of course we said yes. He asked a few questions (e.g. first time seeing the band? no, fourth), we discussed the logistics, and that was settled. He would come over to us during the last song to get us, then walk us over to the end/side of the stage where there are steps, and then Youngest would go on stage with the band and receive a gift.
And so it happened.
He came up on stage, they gave him a guitar, autographed by the band. They gave him a chance to say something, but he didn’t — he told us later he was just in shock and giddy from it all, had no idea what to say being up there with them in front of 5000 people.
But he really enjoyed it and it was such a cool moment for him and our family. I know it’s a moment we’ll never forget.
If you’ve never seen TSO live, you’re missing out on a great experience. Go see them if you get the chance.
I need to vent. I normally don’t post other things on Sundays, but I had to get this off my chest.
Today Youngest had his first piano recital. He did just fine, and I’m more proud of him for learning to deal with nervousness and performing under pressure than for the music itself (tho that’s still cool). The music school once again demonstrated they are a fine group of folks that run a good ship and care about their students. My beef isn’t with them.
It’s with the audience.
Or more specifically… the parents.
I was floored at the number of parents that left as soon as their child finished playing. By the time the recital was over, I looked back and saw the room was almost empty. That was sad and terrible. The students performing at the end of the recital deserved just as much respect and audience for their hard work and performance as did YOUR child at the start of the recital.
You came for your child, and didn’t care about anyone else. Oh sure, I wouldn’t have been there either if my child wasn’t performing, but my child wasn’t the only child performing. You could see on every child’s face, some more than others, how nervous they were. But you didn’t care. You didn’t think how the sight of you getting up and walking out as they started performing would impact the child. You didn’t think that sitting there and texting or Facebooking would matter… when instead showing these nervous children a smiling and supportive face could mean all the world to them. You didn’t think that as you stood in the lobby area, how loud your voices were and how much it disturbed, interrupted, and distracted the performing child.
No… you didn’t care. Your rudeness never occurred to you.
I came so close to jumping out of my seat and storming into the lobby area and scolding these inconsiderate individuals for their behavior. But I didn’t. First, if I did, they wouldn’t accept it; they’d just get defensive and consider me the rude asshole (can’t see past the log in their own eye). Second, if I got up, I knew the child performing would have no idea why I was getting up — I’d just be another adult getting up and leaving. I was not going to do that to any child.
After the recital was over, I expressed my disappointment to one of the school’s owners, and she agreed that it was rude (and said she’s going to change recital policy to say if you come, you stay, else don’t bother signing up at all… and I hope she does, and I hope she enforces it). She told me she asked some of them why they were leaving and they gave excuses like “it’s Christmas… we’re busy”. Busy? You’re too busy for a 2 hour recital? You’re too busy to give something of yourself to others? You’re too busy to be polite and considerate of others? And don’t even give me this “it’s Christmas” line, because the level of selfishness you displayed shows me you know fuck-all about what Christmas is about.
But, there’s always a teachable moment.
Before we left, I took my family aside and spoke with the Kiddos. We talked about what happened, and they agreed it was rude and they felt terrible for the kids performing. Even Youngest commented how he felt a little awkward that as he walked in to start, he saw all these people getting up and leaving. Kiddos also said how wonderful it was for them to have stayed. They saw many great performances, had many smiles and joyful moments, and just saw some really talented people perform. So they got to see something few did — and that was a precious thing. Others could have seen it too, but they chose not to. Maybe they had a legit reason, but they still didn’t have to be rude about it. So at least my Kiddos got to learn and grow in some unexpectedly welcome ways.
But the best part was Youngest… who can’t wait for the Spring recital and perform again. Hopefully the parents will be better behaved by then.
I originally wrote this over at Yelp, and since it’s my review there I felt it only right I also post it here.
Plus, I can give an update.
When searching for a music school for my children, I chose Lone Star School of Music because of the flexible scheduling and diverse teaching staff. I have stayed with Lone Star because of the wonderful experience. The owners are great people, friendly, knowledgable, responsive. The teaching staff is fantastic.
What I love most about Lone Star is the emphasis on having fun. They understand that it’s more important to develop a love of music, than to play scales and drills all day. Sure, they still work on scales and fundamentals, and all those things, but if the kids don’t love playing then scales don’t matter; love playing and you understand scales are part of playing and you don’t mind so much. If there’s any testimony to the fun and enjoyment, one of my children always bummed out the lesson is over because he has so much fun and doesn’t want to stop! Never a chore to practice, never a battle to go to lesson time. Another of my children wants to do more of the school’s additional offerings, like the Rock Camp and Rock Band. The child actually just did Rock Camp and had a blast… Kurt (owner) makes a big effort to make it a lot of fun and ensure the kids have a wonderful experience that builds great memories.
Just great stuff.
Since I wrote that review, Kiddos are still going strong. All are still taking lessons, all are still enjoying it. There’s no chore, but there is a lot of exploration. Oldest has widened his musical tastes. Daughter bounces around on every instrument she can, working to learn songs by ear. Youngest is getting quite an ear for classical music. Like I originally wrote: the school and teachers work to foster a love of music. That’s most evident in the Rock Band class.
A couple months ago there were finally enough kids on the right instruments wanting to play in a band together, and so the Rock Band class has been going. This is a pretty neat deal where they work with a teacher (yes, a little adult supervision, direction, and input is good here… so it’s not just aimless banging around), they work up a library of songs, and the school will book them on gigs every month. They’re not quite ready for their first gig yet, but soon. It’s great listening to them work it out in practice. They work, but they also have a lot of fun. The biggest surprise is Oldest. We had no idea he’d want to do anything like that, but he jumped in on his own and while reluctant at first, I think he’s more excited about going to weekly practice than Daughter is!
I’m really happy with Lone Star School of Music.
Whenever people learn we homeschool our kids, the follow-up response tends to be something asking about…
“But what about socialization?”
My response these days is that we let our children out of the dungeon for 30 minutes a day, they get to walk the perimeter of the yard twice, eyes downward, then it’s back into the cage.
Usually that response works because people see the exaggeration and realize the absurdity of not only my response, but their question. But for a moment yes, this is about what people think. That just because our kids don’t spend 8+ hours a day surrounded by others of their age that somehow our children will turn out socially retarded.
Today I hear about this story, of a 68-year-old bus monitor receiving all manner of abuse from middle-school kids.
Here’s the original video
What sort of socialization leads to this sort of behavior? Where 13-year-olds find it not just acceptable — but enjoyable — to abuse and drive an elderly woman to cry.
I refuse to allow my children to be around this is the sort of socalization.
So yeah… what about “socialization”?
Apparently my geek (nerd?) credibility has been slipping. So I made up for it today by taking the family to the Sherwood Forest Faire.
I’ve never done a “Renaissance Faire” before, believe it or not. Have wanted to for many years but often I’d learn about the faire after it was over, or schedule conflicts. Well, I knew well in advance this time and was determined to go. Weekend weather has been rough, plus I spend many weekends at KR Training, so opportunity was slipping away… but I demanded it would happen today and it did. Basically, I’ve been so busy in life that I haven’t spent enough time with my family, so by gum some family time was going to happen.
We all had a fantastic time, and actually had more fun than we expected.
Yes, the moment we walked into the faire, we all kinda stepped back a moment because yes… it did feel like we entered a time warp. It was kinda weird, but cool.
Of course, the moment I entered I was hit by an amusing bit of commerce.
“Programs! Would you like to purchase a program, which has a map and guide? Only 3£!”
“no thank you”. I figured we’d either just wander, or if I really needed it they had a map on their website and I could always just pull it up on my iPhone.
Then I took a few more steps in.
“Here sir, would you like a map?”
Yeah… they hit you up for the $3 souvenier map first, then hand out a free black and white paper one. Gotta love it.
And yes, shops… err… shoppes… err.. “ye olde shoppes” were everywhere. Yes, we called everything “ye olde” throughout the day. And I was thinking, was this just going to be shopping? But then we saw all the entertainment, which was great. We saw a “dog show” that we figured would just be a dog doing tricks, but the lady explained a lot of training techniques and how to do things. A lot was familiar to us due to all the intensive training work with did with Sasha, but it was really cool that she wasn’t just showing tricks but also educating the crowd.
The one show we all wanted to see tho was the Sky Kings Falconry raptor bird show. Folks, that was just damn cool. Artemis, their Eurasian Eagle Owl, was awesome. And yes, the black vultures were awesome to watch… well, we thought so. Unfortunately both of them landed on top of a small child’s head… didn’t hurt the kid but sure gave him a fright, poor kid.
We saw various musicians, lots of belly dancers, Oldest threw some axes, Daughter and Youngest rode on a “jousting” ride. We watched the actual jousting… man, I have to hand it to those guys, taking a beating like that. Can’t be fun to get knocked off a horse, with force, in a full suit of plate armor. But very entertaining. Plus just lots of general entertainment by random people… and who knows if those people were official faire folk or just random folks that came dressed up for their own fun. One guy was dressed I guess as some sort of chaotic evil warrior, kinda creeped Wife out a bit but she did think it was pretty cool after her initial startle reaction. And yes, lots of people dressed in various garb of all favors from around the looseness of the genre. Tho I did see one goth girl walking around… the only way she could have stood out more was if she wore a Stormtrooper costume (Slave Leia would have just blended in).
It was a heck of a lot of fun. And yes, I can see why people would want to get season passes and come for many weekends. There’s FAR more to do there than I expected, just lots of great and interesting stuff. Just tons of fun. Expensive, but fun. Oh and yes, bring lots of $1 bills… no, not to slip into the cleavage of the saucy wench that served your mead, but because all the performers accept tips and I think it’s right and just to give them some sort of compensation in exchange for the entertainment they gave you.
After the faire, I took the family over to the A-Zone Range, where KR Training holds classes. Tom Givens is in town this weekend teaching a course, and with us so close to the range I wanted to take the family by so they could see where it is and what it is that I slip away for all these weekends (only Daughter has been out there before). Karl was there doing some chores and he showed the family around the property. Everyone got to meet Ribo (Karl’s dog). Got to talk with Lynn Givens (Tom’s wife) for a little while; always a pleasure to see her. Tom was running class so I interrupted only for a moment to shake hands, say hello, and have a quick introduction of the family. A nice little diversion while we were out there.
Oh… and I got to try Lynn’s M&P. She was experimenting with a new gun that has Apex Tactical’s new Forward Set Sear and trigger kit. When I got my M&P I thought seriously about getting that and oh…. after trying it I think I just might. It’s awesome. Wicked tight, a thing of beauty.
It was a fine day. Yes, we’ll go back to the Ren Faire in the future, maybe even doing multiple weekends if time allows. It was a lot of fun, and just a great way to spend a day with the family. And really, that’s what mattered most to me today: being with my family, having fun, making memories.
By Joyce Burges, Special to CNN
Editor’s Note: Joyce Burges is the co-founder of the National Black Home Educators, an organization that empowers parents to educate their children for excellence. She and her husband, Eric, have been married for 35 years and have five children between the ages of 16 to 35.
It was a rainy afternoon. I was rocking my baby girl by the fire and enjoying a cup of hot chamomile tea.
As Daughter progresses in her drumming, she gets exposed to more bands, more dummers.
And more opportunities to talk to her about drug and alcohol abuse.
John Bonham? Don’t be like him.
Steven Adler? Don’t be like him (still alive, but still…).
Jeff Porcaro? Don’t be like him.
John Panozzo? Don’t be like him.
Keith Moon? Don’t be like him.
Jimmy Sullivan? Don’t be like him.
Stuart Cable? Don’t be like him.
Sure, play drums like these guys — especially Bonham — but that’s where you should stop emulating them.
She gets it. I hope she will never forget it.