When You Get Home

When you get home, what happens? I’m regularly amused, challenged, and sometimes left in simple wonder on this side.  My story isn’t unique, I’m sure, for anyone with little kids and a full time job.  It goes something like this…

Up before the sun most work-day mornings to get some personal time and maybe a little work done from the day before, to get a jump on the day.  Get yourself ready to head out into the world, then help your kids get ready.  You might have a day-care or school drop-off before heading to work yourself.  That’s my typical routine.

Then maybe you have a commute on your hands to get to the office.  Maybe it’s 30 minutes, or maybe an hour and a half, or somewhere in between; or maybe more.  You put in your seven, eight, nine, (ten?) hours at your job, doing your best to focus on the professional “you”, to earn your keep.

As the day winds down, it’s time to head out on the road again…that same commute again, only the other direction.  Maybe it’s longer now, as the day is coming to a close and more people are headed home.  Battle the traffic, the weather, your attitudes about the day, as you make your way.

Get home, and the second job begins.  Wise to change your clothes at least, but you may or may not get to do that.  If you thought about dinner before you left the house for the day — if you have a slow cooker and have a meal prep started, it might not take much to get supper on the table.

If you’re like my wife, that might be the case.  She’s dialed in often times, especially with the slow-cooker dinners.  If you’re me though, you scramble and hit the creativity switch, hoping something pops up, that the kids will actually want to eat.

Tonight I got lucky.  I changed my clothes, and the kids went with the first dinner proposal I offered.  And the TV wasn’t even on.  They had cheesy roll-ups and vegetables, with some apple slice on the side.  Except for the grief I got from my youngest for the smell of my dinner (sardines and roasted veggies with parmesan), it was pretty successful.

When my wife got home, we all meandered around a bit through the rest of the dinner hour, went through the mail, got caught up on the day (another victory — as it doesn’t always happen), and then it was bath time TIMES three.  And that finished within the next hour.

And here were are.  Time to scribble down a blog post.  And do a little email catch up for a meeting I have tomorrow night.  And sip a little more tea.  And time for bed.  GOOD.

 

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At Capacity

Lots of context for this concept. You might be “at capacity” in any of a variety of ways.

At capacity in learning, a sort of plateau of absorbing new things;

At capacity with activities, not able to fit another event on your schedule on a given day;

At capacity in repetitions, not able to do another pull up or arm curl or plank;

At capacity with projects, every day already full with no room for another thing;

At capacity eating your vegetables at dinner; this affliction happens on nearly a nightly basis at my house.

You get the idea. But here’s the thing.

Capacity is a dynamic quality. It’s a parameter that must always be considered. Capacity might be limiting in the immediate, in the short term.

But in the aggregate, it’s just another variable that must be considered in striving for optimal outcome.

You should always consider capacity, and you should also test its limits. Carefully, thoughtfully, but for sure, test, push, strive to expand the limit.

The outcome?

It will make you better. It will help you reach your goals. It will make things GOOD.

G-H-O-S-T

Lately I’ve been thinking more and more about what games I can play with my kids as they get older.  This one fits the bill.  No screen, no board, no cards; all you need is a few peeps (two or more, actually), their brains, and a good attitude toward having some fun.

This game and post content courtesy of Mr. Seth Godin.  All credit due is to that fine gentleman.

BEGIN POST

This is my favorite game.

It doesn’t involve a board, there are no cards and it’s free to play. It works for two to six players.

You can do it in a car or a plane, it works great for two, and if you’re kind, you can play it with someone less skilled than you.

The more you play, the deeper and more fun the strategies go.

I thought I’d share the rules here, because more g-h-o-s-t is good g-h-o-s-t.Summary:

Go around the circle of players and each person adds a letter to a spoken string, striving to not be the person who actually makes the string of letters into a word.Players go one at a time, in order.

Of course, you can sit anywhere you like.

When each player has taken his or her turn, begin again with the first player.To play a round, someone says a letter.

The next person in the order has to add a letter to the first, beginning a word.

For example, the first person might begin by saying, “y” and then, the next person could say, “o”.

The third could say “u” because three letters don’t count as a word.

Beginning with the fourth letter, the goal is to not complete the word. So, if the letters are y-o-u from the first three players, the fourth player shouldn’t say “r” because that would make a word.

But it’s fine to say “t”.

If, on your turn, you are stuck and there’s no choice but to say a letter that completes a word (in this case, “h”), you lose the round.

Every time you lose a round, you get stuck with another letter in the word ‘ghost’, hence the name of the game. If you lose five rounds, you’re out of the game. The last person left, wins.

If you lose a round, it’s your turn to start the next round by picking a new letter.

Okay, three simple complications:

1. The letter you say has to create a possible word. So if the string is, “y-o-u”, you can’t say, “x”. (Unless you’re bluffing, see rule 2).

2. If the person before you says a letter that you believe is impossible, you can challenge their play. If they can respond with a legal word, you lose the round. If they can’t, because they were bluffing or in error, they lose the round.

3. No proper nouns, no contractions, no hyphens, no acronyms, no abbreviations. These words don’t exist in the game.

And the big complication, the one that changes everything and makes this a game for the ages:  Once you get the hang of it, the group can play reverso.

This means that when it’s your turn, you’re allowed to add a letter before the string, if you choose, instead of after.

So now, words can be built in either direction, and game becomes magical. ‘y-o-u’ can now become ‘a-y-o-u’ and then ‘b-a-y-o-u’.’r-d-s-c-r’ for example, isn’t worth challenging, because ‘hardscrabble’ is a word.

If you want to play reverso g-h-o-s-t as a finite game, with thrown elbows and strategy, it makes a terrific two-player game.

If you want to play it as an infinite game, setting up friends and family to do ever better, a game that never ends and has wordcraft and humor to it, you can do that as well.

Have fun.

END POST

And if you want more from Seth Godin?  Well, he’s got a bunch.  Check him out here.

Grappler

Thinking a lot about the sport of wrestling lately.  It’s a topic that comes to mind often for me, truth be told.  

Though I only wrestled for six years, the sport had a profound and lasting affect on who I am.   Clearly that must be the case, because more than three decades on, my heart still quickens when I think about the time I spent rolling on the mat, near and far.

At the core, I learned a lot about mental toughness while I wrestled.  I learned what it was, I worked to strengthen that trait in myself.  It was personal test every time you hit the mat.  Learning to push yourself further and further, to never give up, to keep going.

Sure I learned a lot of moves, learned and developed my physical conditioning, but most important for me, the thing that stayed with me above everything else, was the concept of and goal to maximize my mental toughness.

Why?

The wrestler learns not to panic under stressful situations – i.e. when your opponent is trying to wrench on one of your limbs, or grinding at your face.  You develop an ability to think and act while in uncomfortable situations.

How does that carry forward?

Throughout life we have times when are down and getting grinder on. Plenty of struggle and failure lurk, waiting to take us down.

The key is in the response: when you go down, GET BACK UP.

My heart quickens now when I think about all those hours of practice and matches and struggles, but not because I’m reliving my wrestling years.  Rather, it’s because I’m still trying to be mentally tough during difficult times.  And more important for me now as a parent, it’s because I want to teach my kids to be strong, to persevere, to never give up but rather, to get back up.

And I know in the end it’s up to each of them to learn these lessons.

GET BACK UP.   Stay after it.

 

My Stove

The stove, metaphor for my life.

Four burners equals four priorities:

Children, wife, work. Wait, that’s only three? The fourth burner is for everything else: my elderly parents, the Lions club I serve community thru, my extended family, my friends.

Sometimes one of the first three get moved off, but I try not to let that happen. When I die I don’t want to regret short-changing those I’m most responsible to.

God and faith are the fuel for that stove, the natural gas that keeps me going.

Take care of your stove.

Half Full, Happy Anniversary, All GOOD.

I started this blog three years ago this month, July. At the time I was looking for a way to share some thoughts, some insights, and further the good in the world.

Not sure how much good I’ve done, but I’ve definitely shared a lot of thoughts. Gotten some positive feedback along the way, which is good for me if nothing else. And I’ve certainly learned a lot.

I plan to continue blogging, sharing, pursuing the GOOD in this manner. I’ve also got another avenues coming down the pike later this yesr.

I’ll have an e-book up in the fall, before the holidays. It will be a sort of coffee table book, a short volume, about being a new dad. It will bring a little humor, and hopefully inspiration, to fathers. 

 I’m also designing a short podcast I’ll produce and share periodically.  Same goal: share a little insight, further the good in the world.

So whether you’re new to this blog,  or have been along these last three years, thanks for reading. Please share it with others. On we go toward the GOOD.