Sometimes being a good dad is difficult. That’s the focus of the Good Dads 2018 Fall Lunch Series. Attend the lunches and you’ll hear from real dads speak openly about some of the challenges they’ve faces. These include the following:
Dominic Casper: A dad who didn’t have a good dad
Steve Moser: A dad who has experienced divorce and remarriage
Danny Perches: A dad whose child is “different”
Matt Miller: A dad whose child has experienced a serious cancer.
Norm Haas: A divorced dad who travels for work and has had to spend many nights away from his child
Tom Seboldt: A dad who has experienced the challenges of kids who rebel.
In addition to hearing the real life stories and struggles of several different dads, the lunches will also feature strategies to help dads cope with challenges and struggles.
Rev. Laura Murphy, parenting expert and educator, will talk to dads about ways to help a child with ADHD and other learning challenges.
Clinical psychologist and family therapist, Dr. Jennifer Baker, will offer ideas and training on ways to handle various challenges in healthy ways.
Good Dads is grateful to Youngblood Automotive, Springfield Lutheran, King’s Way United Methodist, Mercy, and BKD, Inc. for hosting and sponsoring the Fall Lunch Series.
When we help dads be more engaged and successful with their children, we are truly “helping kids one dad at a time.”
Robert Hullett has been with Prime nearly two years—7 months driving accompany truck and more recently, as a lease operator. He currently drives a 2016 Peterbilt and is looking forward to upgrading to a 2019 Peterbilt soon. He drives a “reefer” (refrigerator trailer). During the last two years, Robert has learned a lot about making money, saving money, and setting aside time to be with family—all skills and information he shares as a trainer with new drivers at Prime. As a solo driver, he says he averages $4000-$7500/week [gross revenue] depending on how the loads run the proximity of delivery sites between pick up and drop off.
Before coming to Prime, Robert worked for 25 years in warehousing, so he has a good understanding of the shipping and receiving side of trucking. He has done it all – loading, unloading, reception, shipping and receiving, and describes coming to Prime as a career boost. He hopes to have a long career with Prime and eventually move to a position as fleet manager, a job for which he believes he is well qualified with his background in warehousing. Even so, he sees himself as continuing to learn every day on the most financially rewarding loads and freight lanes.
Robert has researched and thought about driving a truck for more than 20 years—according to him, since he was in the sandbox. He was influenced by the fathers of friends, who also drove a truck. He also credits his desire to drive to wanting to provide in the best way possible for his family.
Robert has three daughters – two he shares with his fiancée, ages 6- and 9-years-old. During the summer months, he does the best he can to arrange time to take them with him—something the girls really enjoy. When possible, he arranges loads with his family on the truck and they go on vacation together.
Robert stays connected with his loved ones in through his cell phone. When he’s not driving, he uses video chat and Facebook. His goal is to use a video camera focused on him while he’s driving (a vlog) allowing his family to see what he is doing while he’s driving without him seeing them, thus eliminating distractions for him while he’s on the road. He loves the idea of sharing his view from the road, including many of his scenic vistas, with his fiancée and daughters at home.
Reflecting on the lyrics of “Barbed Wire and Roses,” Robert acknowledges that “being a truck driver can ruin a family because if you’re not home, you miss out on so much.” He’s realistic about the challenges drivers face in staying connected with their loved ones, but continues to remain optimistic about ways to stay in touch.
Advice to New Drivers
Robert has trained close to 50 drivers, so he has had more than a few opportunities to pass along words of encouragement and wisdom to new drivers. Here are a few of his thoughts:
1) Use cameras, video chatting and even make a video diary to stay in touch with loved ones.
2) Budget time and finance for home time.
3) Let your family know how important they are to you. Robert has named his LLC after his three daughters.
4) Keep family members informed. Let them know what’s going on with you. Talk frequently.
5) Consider allowing your partner to handing the bookkeeping so you’ll both know what’s going on.
6) Stay flexible in your thinking and approach to the challenges you face, e.g., sometimes it’s possible to stop by for a brief visit with your kids when your route runs near home.
I recently had a total hip replacement. In good care of my new hip I am faced with my doctor’s good counsel of how much activity is the right amount of activity. In the true spirit of Goldilocks I am not to do too much or too little. There is a balance of activity for me that is just right.
Parents sometimes struggle with this balance of too much and too little when it comes to the activity of their children. Parents can be led to believe that if their children are not doing everything, or much of everything, than their children are missing out on something. Parents can be led to believe that their children must try a little bit of everything to find out what they might be really good at – from voice lessons and violin, soccer and saxophone, skating and skiing and scouting.
There are two diving forces that pressure parents into too much activity. On one hand, parents want to position their children for greatness so that their children have the best of all opportunities. And on the other hand, parents know just how cruel and critical the world can be. Parents then position their children for greatness in hopes of protecting their children from bullies and critical people.
First, your children will not be the best at anything. They won’t. Get over it. Your children are average and just fine the way they are. Second, you will never protect your children from bullies or critics. You won’t. I am sorry.
So, as Good Dads, let us not burden our children with the unfortunate expectations of others -- not well intended grandparents, neighbors, or the people of the church. You are the Dad – and you are a Good Dad. Do not “outsource” your child’s health, confidence, or esteem to anyone other than you.
Ask yourself right now, “What do I most want for my child?” And now ask yourself “Who is the best person to provide these values and opportunities for my child?”
Involve your children in dialogue and choices of what activities that they pursue, and what they will not. Allow your children a voice in the matter and do not shame them when they no longer want to play soccer or the saxophone. It is okay for our children to try new things and it is okay for our children to say when enough is enough.
More important than your child’s activities are the values your children are learning. As a Good Dad, your personal one – on – one time with your children gives you the time to nurture and encourage your children to be the people you most want them to be. In the Spirit of Goldilocks you do not want your children to be too much of this or too much of that. You want them to be just right.
Jeff Sippy, a Dad-In-Training, is the father of three young men and the husband of Cindy. He enjoys sailing every chance that he gets. He is the Senior Pastor at Redeemer Lutheran in Springfield, MO and can be reached for question or comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am a father of three beautiful, talented and amazing children. This is the first year in which each of our three kids attend a different school. Our mornings are hectic and we are crunched for time, so that I may get each child to school without being tardy. They rarely eat a nutritious breakfast to get their day off to a great start. Sometimes my 13-year-old goes to school wearing his 7-year-old brother’s shirt or shorts. Many times, my 7-year-old goes to school with mismatched socks, orange shorts and a red shirt, as if he is auditioning for a part as a clown in a school play. Neither boy makes any attempt to do anything with their hair. My daughter, who is now in high school, has a closet full of clothes, yet she keeps a solid rotation of five outfits she prefers to wear week after week. I’ve resorted to hiding things, just to make her wear some of her other clothing.
This year, the kids are in 2nd, 8th and 9th grade. There have been many ups and downs along the way. I’ve learned that I have to be able to handle each challenge and each child differently. Compared to those years when I was going through the public school system, it seems like a whole new world today.
I always thought I’d be the good dad, who would sit down and help my kids with their homework when they needed it. When my oldest two began junior high, they both struggled in math. I figured this would be my time to shine . . . Dad to the rescue! I quickly realized, this thing called “Common Core” was beyond my comprehension. I felt helpless, and like some sort of a high school dropout with 6th grade level intelligence. I had to set up tutoring sessions for each of them during 7th grade. While my daughter caught on and ended up getting good grades for the year, my son did not. He struggled all year. His struggles in math, led him to give up in other classes as well. He wasn’t doing his homework, or attempting to retake tests for better grades. He started to lash out with the teachers. He teetered between an F and D in math, and D and C in science and history all year. It wasn’t until I took him to the doctor to get a checkup, I realized his prescription for ADD was no longer working. After getting an adjustment in his meds, he was able to finish with three C’s in those classes where he had struggled. He has started his 8th grade off with all A’s and I couldn’t be more proud of him.
I felt pretty good about getting a teenage daughter through junior high, without many issues. I have tried to be up front and honest with her about the things she will be introduced to throughout her school years. I had pre-warned her about the possibility of boys asking her for inappropriate photos, and sure enough, her school was in the news, as police confiscated phones from 7th and 8th graders who were sharing these types of photos. I was happy to learn she was not involved. Now she is a freshman in high school. She has a good heart and she is beautiful inside and out. Just last week, I found out she has a “boyfriend,” who according to her, was a sophomore. I had a discussion with her regarding high school boys, dating, and my expectations.
The very next day, a family friend whose son attends the same school, called me and informed me my daughter is holding hands in the hallways with a Senior. His son had sent him a text about it. I spent the rest of the afternoon digging up as much info on this boy that I could. My daughter and I had a long night of talking that evening, with what I believe to be good results. I did have to ground her from her phone for lying to me, which she understood.
There are so many things that can cross up our children as they make their way through school, grade by grade. As parents, we have to give them room to learn and grow from mistakes, yet we have to constantly be aware and stay on top of things so we can keep them safe from the huge mistakes.
Herb Cody is a husband and father of three. He is a part time Uber driver and full time caregiver of his spouse, who suffered a traumatic brain injury after an auto accident November, 2015. Herb loves football and is a St Louis Cardinals fanatic. He and his family live in Nixa MO. Herb can be reached for questions or comments at email@example.com . You can check out Herb's own blog at, www.thecodylife.weebly.com
How can two children growing up in the same house with the same parents be so different when it comes to motivation and self-discipline? This was the mantra in our home when my husband and I were called to Cherokee Middle School to have a meeting with ALL of our son’s 7th grade teachers (in one room) to discuss his unwillingness to turn in assigned work – even when that work could be completed during regular class time. His older sister (by five years) never had to be told to do her homework, had great attendance, and excellent grades. Both children were tested for the Springfield Public School’s Wings program prior to second grade, and both qualified with the exact same IQ score. So what was the problem? Simple—high IQ doesn’t necessarily go hand-in-hand with high motivation.
When we met with Jake’s counselor in middle school, we were told that sometimes adolescent boys can never be motivated, we were in denial. Surely there was another reason—not our son. Maybe we needed to be stricter and use more punishment.
After no luck in finding any consequences or punishment that would change Jake’s actions, the next few years were a struggle. The key to keeping him from getting failing grades was lots of involvement and staying the course. The push back was relentless and many times wore us down, but we knew that deep inside the teenage boy who said he didn’t care about getting good grades was a very smart young man. We celebrated the victories no matter how small. Many times we had to set the bar lower and work our way up, and then there were the times when a new semester began and we reminded Jake he had an opportunity to start fresh and at the top.
I wish I could tell you that loving your children and giving them the attention they need will conquer any problem. It certainly does help, but with Jake it took us until he was 15 to finally uncover the motivation he needed. When we informed him he could only take his drivers’ test if he had a “B” average, he turned the corner. After his grades improved, he was given more opportunities to show what he could do if given more responsibility and he flourished. It was like a light bulb went off in his head and he discovered how much better everything could be if he followed the rules.
Many of you reading this are dads (and moms) of young children and want your children to be successful in school and in life. You may already know parenting can be one of the most challenging and most rewarding things you will ever do. We are now the parents of two adult children, ages 32 and 27, who both turned out to have an amazing work ethic and a “never give up” attitude. Though the path they each took to get to school and life success looked different, our children turned out to be more than we could have hoped for.
Have you figured out what motivates your child to be successful in school? It could take some time and experimentation to identify what works, but don’t give up. Remember, success doesn’t always look the same for all children. Finding out what makes them tick can be exciting, challenging and rewarding for you and them.
Celeste Skidmore is a member of the Good Dads board. She can be reached for question or comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.