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.
…about running a small business, what would it be?
I know other small-business-owners and entrepreneurs read my blog. So if there is one thing you can share with me from your experience, please do.
A lesson learned.
A mistake made (and how to not repeat it).
A wise principle.
A guiding concept.
Whatever it might be, towards helping one achieve success.
For example, Michael Lazerow says the #1 mistake entrepreneurs make?
…FOCUSING ON THE WRONG THINGS.
Successful entrepreneurs focus exclusively on efforts that matter and are able to tune out the rest. People who focus succeed. It’s that simple.
So, what can you teach me? I’m ready to listen. Please add a comment.
I saw the above image posted to the DangerouslyHardcore Facebook page. In case the image goes away it says:
Commitment means staying loyal to what you said you were going to do long after the mood you said it in has left you.
I’ve had a bunch of things rolling in my head for a while, and seeing the above image/text along with something that happened in Wife’s life a few days ago… it changed my priorities regarding my commitments.
I had committed to being more involved in shooting competitions, like IDPA. That’s going down the priority ladder.
I had committed to working on a new iPhone app. This commitment was made some time ago, work started, but has been treading water for too many months. This is going up the priority ladder.
I only have so much time and energy. The app went down the ladder because after staring at the computer all day and busting my ass all week for the day job, I just didn’t have the desire to look at the computer any more. I was (am) drained. Other things went up the priority ladder because they were not-computer things. They gave me something else to do, something else to occupy my mind and energy. Plus they were things that needed attention.
Well… the lack of app commitment also strikes a little closer because this particular app project is very personal. It’s something I’m doing with Wife, and it means a lot to her. That I haven’t been able to give it the attention it’s due is not right, and I feel horrible. It’d be one thing to not honor the commitment to myself, or to anyone else. But to not honor this commitment to my wife? That’s not right, and that hurts me deeply. It wasn’t not honored out of malice or anything bad, just exhaustion. I need to do something about it.
And in some regard, the mood for the app has left me. It’s mostly because I’ve been away, had too many false restarts, and it’s just hard to get motivated yet yet yet again. But I know once I truly get back into it, I’ll roll along alright. I need to rediscover my commitment, and see it through.
So, since much of my “free time” is on the weekends, that means I need to spend it working on this app.
That means shooting matches is out, for now. I don’t expect the app will take me all year to do, so I reckon later this year I should be able to make it out to matches. As well, so long as I keep dry firing at home and regularly shooting, like when I go out to KRT to teach, that’s alright. I mean, if I can run through a few magazines, run a few drills, assess state of things, then go home and dry fire to bring up the skill, then go back and shoot to measure progress, really, that’s OK. That will hold me for now. That I’m just shooting live at least once a month is well, about what shooting competition would be. Granted, there isn’t any of the pressure or environment, but this is the trade-off for now while I live up to my more important commitment. I just have to keep up with dry fire and ensuring I put at least a mag or two through the gun (for myself, with purpose) when I go out to teach.
I’m not abandoning my commitment to shooting competition, just changing course a bit. I have to, because Wife is more important. And hopefully it brings other commitments back, like more regular dry fire and practice.
I can only look at this as a good thing, as long as I remain committed.
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.
I gave Wife a unique gift for Christmas – a custom-made kitchen knife.
(click the picture to embiggen)
It has been dubbed Anthophila. Click here to see more pictures and specs on the knife.
Wife had no idea, hadn’t asked for anything like this, but over the years I’ve seen what’s been needed in the kitchen and thought this could be a welcome thing. Fortunately, my buddy Shawn Hatcher is a knife-maker, Hatcher Knives, so I asked if he could make this for me. We sat down together, I gave Shawn some goals, and let him do his thing. We liked the santoku concept, but I wanted a “taller flat” (I’m probably not using the right terms) to give more surface for the fingers to ride against when chopping, plus it allows the knife to be used as a “scoop” for taking chopped food off the board. I still wanted some sort of “tip” to make it useful for getting into tight spots, carving out, and so on.
I think Shawn did a great job.
Wife’s been using the knife for about a week now and is enjoying it. But you can tell there’s some reserve about using it. Exactly what? We don’t know. We’ve had a nice set of J.A. Henckels knives since our wedding, so I reckon part of her reserve is just that it’s different and she needs some time to get used to a different feel in the hand. Plus, I had to design the knife blind, taking her into consideration but never letting her in on the process. Daughter did help out, but that could only go so far (e.g. their hands aren’t quite the same dimensions). Still, we’re chalking this up to acceptable, and if after using it for some time Wife figures out what she likes and doesn’t like, how she might want to refine the design, or even start with a whole new design… well… we can do that, thank you Hatcher Knives.
Check out Shawn’s work. He’s developing a style and quickly maturing as a knife-maker. I’ve enjoyed reading his shop updates and watching not just the knife-making process but also his evolution as a maker. It’s always cool to watch an artist over time.
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.
And so yes, today I took Daughter to the range.
I also took Oldest, Youngest, and Wife.
We went to KR Training. Karl had all the steel out and we shot .22′s all morning. Shot my iron sight Buck Mark, shot Karl’s Buck Mark with a red dot scope, an M&P 22 pistol, a Ruger 10/22 with a 4×32 scope, and another Ruger 10/22 with a red dot. Just lots of .22 fun, shooting at steel, listening to it go “ping”.
The kids liked all the guns, but I think they like the rifles and red dots more. I’m not totally sure why, nor they, but my guess? Easier to shoot and get successful hits. Makes sense.
Oldest tho… I think I’m going to have to get him his own 10/22 and let him customize it. He had WAY too much fun dumping 25-round magazines. Even with 25 rounds, they run out of ammo too quickly.
Wife even had fun.
After shooting, we went up the road to the Elm Creek Cafe. All this time and I’ve never been able to eat there for one reason or another… and boy I wish I had eaten there sooner. That’s some fantastic “home cookin’” type food. Just awesome. The salad bar was full of fresh veggies from the owner’s own garden. Youngest tried frog legs… I’ve never had them either, but I tried some and they aren’t bad. Oldest had quail, which I’ve only had a time or two before. Wife had their grilled chicken friend steak and boy, that was good. And we brought home one of their dewberry pies…. we’ll have that after supper tonight. And great hospitality too. Just good folks there.
Yes… guns are bad. They bring nothing but horrible things to this world… you know, like families spending time together. We can’t have any more of that in this world.
What are you doing with your daughter today?
I can’t believe it’s been about a year since we started doing the CSA veggie box from Johnson’s Backyard Garden. In fact, I just renewed for another year. They were running a special of a year subscription at 20% off, and I just couldn’t say no to such a heavy discount. Plus I know it helps them a lot to have some solid cash in the bank, and it’s great to be able to support what they do.
So what do I think about the first year?
The veggies, no doubt. Oh my gosh, it’s fantastic. First, that there’s so much variety. We get forced to try new things, different things. I had no idea what kohlrabi was until it came in the boxes, and I’m totally sold on it. I love all the greens. There’s no rut of just eating the same old thing that you get at the grocery store, because it’s shipped in from wherever all year round. There’s much to be said for eating what’s local and seasonal too.
The quality is high as well. I’m not a tomato person, but after eating theirs? I’m sold. As well, who knew carrots could have such deep flavor! But when they’re able to stay in the ground until they reach their peak, then picked and you eat it within days of coming out of the ground? You’re going to get better tasting food. Plus I can see the care the JBG group puts into seed and variety selection, to make it not only something that will grow and flourish here in our climate and soil, but also that’s just darn yummy.
The price is reasonable too. I was not going to sign up for it if it was going to be really expensive vs. the grocery store. But after pricing it out as best I could, I could see it works out fine. I have to say “as best I could” because I’ve never seen kohlrabi at the grocery store. Oh I’m sure Whole Foods has it (I don’t shop there, too expensive), but that means JBG will be an ever better deal. Furthermore, when buying in bulk, they offer these discounts and so that’s even better. Sure it’s a bunch of money up front, but it pans out over the long term.
And you know what’s fun? The box. The surprise of “what is in there this week?”, and getting excited when you see what’s coming. Oh geez… as I write this, I just remembered that pattypan/sunburst squash are going to soon be here…. another new thing from the box, that I just LOVE and can’t wait for. See what I mean? No you can’t see how truly silly excited this makes me… but it does. And that’s part of what’s cool, because you can read about what they’re planting, what they’re trying, and thus what you have to look forward to. It’s fun!
The box policy annoys me. I totally understand why they have it, and I do respect it. But it sucks when responsible people have to be penalized for those who aren’t.
The pick up. Wife and I did pick-up until recently. We actually kinda enjoyed it, calling it our “Veggie Date” because just she and I would go to pick them up. A little time with my honey is good. But it kinda got old and sometimes we just didn’t want to drag out to do it because it didn’t fit the schedule. Or we’d have to schedule things around the pickup. So… we opted to change to home delivery. It’s $5 more per box, but frankly, it’s worth it. With the price of gas, when you account for the 30-60 minutes it takes (normally not 60 minutes, but if the truck is running late…), all that time and money adds up. The $5 for delivery ends up being worth it. And we don’t have to deal with the box issue.
But the one downside is there’s no more trade box. The trade box was awesome and we took advantage of that a lot, not necessarily because we didn’t like something in the box (I think only arugula has ever been the flat out “no” to us), but because there might be something better or more fitting for us in there… like one time there was a HUGE bag of spinach in the trade box and that was a win! But in talking to the JBG folk, they are working hard towards having more “up front” box selection, which would be really cool. Either to be able to pick and choose your box contents would be neat, or to be able to buy more of something some week would be nice. They’re working on it, and I eagerly await that.
Happy Are We
All in all, we’re really happy with this. It works out well for the grocery bill. It makes life a bit easier at the grocery store. We’re getting high quality food. We get to support local business. We get to expand our palettes. What’s not to like?
Looking forward to the next year.