As we close out 2019 and look to 2020, we often take stock of our year; the good, the bad, and in-between. We vow to make some changes. Eat less. Hug more. Actually vacuum the coils underneath the refrigerator. Obviously, some will happen and some won't.
Something I've heard people say, and have said myself, is to volunteer somewhere. Anywhere. If this is you, let me recommend contacting Good Dads and checking to see if your neighborhood elementary school has an All Pro Dad chapter. Consider helping with the All Pro Dad chapter there . . . and if there isn't one, maybe you can start one! Maybe you have a child at the school, a grandkid, a nephew, or a neighbor. If you attend a church, maybe there’s already a relationship established with a nearby school. That's how I got started.
I didn't have any kids of my own when my church started a chapter at a school, but I jumped right in. Initially, I was just a helper, but slowly became a co-captain. (Teamwork makes the dream work.)
Now, our team is on Year 4 of meeting with kids and parents for breakfast at McGregor Elementary. We recognize many dads and kids. We know the staff at the school. We were politely asked not to give the kids candy before they go to class. You live and you learn, right?
You're probably thinking, that's great, but why should I get involved? There are so many answers to that question, but the simplest is if not you, then who?
This world moves fast. Our culture is so divisive and self-centered, that we all need to chip in. We can make a difference. Our community is like one big quilt. We can either continue to sew it together or let the edges fray. And it's too big of a job for just the government or the schools or the churches or the non-profits. We all have a role to play.
The wonderful thing about being an All Pro Dad Captain is that the barrier to entry is really low. All the material you need to get started is readily available. There is a curriculum with discussion ideas, games to play, and even videos to show if you want to use them. Moreover, our school district, Springfield Public Schools, has been very willing to help as much as possible.
What are the desired skills for a Captain, you ask?
So now you know. Being a Captain isn't daunting. The most important thing to remember is that you are a facilitator of a time for kids and their parents to just be together. And in this fast paced world, providing something so small can have a big difference.
Interested in learning more about All Pro Dad's impact in Springfield, MO? Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of the Good Dads Podcast to hear three local Captains explain how they got involved and why both kids and dads look forward to the time together each month.
Click here to learn more about All Pro Dad resources and chapters around the country.
Brian Mattson and his wife, Jessica, welcomed a son to their family just over a year ago, to join their 10-year-old Golden Retriever named Albus. Brian is the Director of Worship & Operations at The Downtown Church and in his free time plays and sings in a cover band (Deja Crew), enjoys walks with the family, planning the next great road trip, and quoting Seinfeld episodes.
August is here, and unlike some, I’m actually sad that my kiddos will head back to school on the 13th. As a stay-at-home Dad, I’ve been able to stay up late, watching movies and series on Netflix with them. We have had some late night pool parties and junk food runs. Sure the downside, is they tell me they are bored constantly, and are always looking for stuff to do. However, I’ve always got household chores and yard work ready for them when this happens.
I used to think buying school supplies was a fair trade off for having someone else teach and entertain my children, while also feeding them lunch for me. Now, with two teenagers and an 8 year old, the start of school means constant practices and additional fees beyond the cost of paper and pencils.
My youngest, who will be in 3rd grade, has a $98 school supply list when you factor in back pack, ear buds etc. My High School kids won’t get their supply list until later, though I can expect to spend and additional $50-$60 on them.
My other son, will be a Freshman and in band. I had no idea, until now, that they practice so much. There will be morning practices before school, evening practices after school, plus I get to cough up about $300 for him to participate. He will run track in the spring, so I’ve gotta fork out an additional athletic activity fee of $45.
My daughter will be a sophomore this year, and is involved with softball, bowling, choir and track. I feel like I hardly ever see her once she starts school, and this year it may be less, now that she has a car. There are always a ton of expenses and fees that add up with her as well.
Over the next week, we will try to get the kids back on that school sleep schedule. Right now my daughter is up past midnight watching Netflix & listening to music while on FaceTime with her best friend. My oldest son is on Xbox playing while also on FaceTime with friends until I make him shut it all down at midnight. My youngest likes to lay in bed with me and watch Netflix or movies, then heads to the chair in our room to sleep. It’s always hard to get him to transition back to his own bed by the time school starts.
While my 8 year old will have a set bed time each evening, I’ll allow the two teens to take responsibility and go to bed and get up on their own. This has never been an issue for my daughter, but when I tried this with my son last year, he could not get out of bed. Even when we woke him up, he fell right back to sleep. Now that he is a freshman in High School, he will need to learn how to go to bed at a time in which he gets enough sleep, and can roll out of bed in the morning.
I have also warned my teens, that if at anytime their grades are at C, I will be on them daily until it’s at a B or better. If they should have a D, they will lose their phone and be put on a bedtime schedule. The great thing about our schools, is that I can get on an app and check their grades everyday.
Another issue we had in the past, was the kids getting the normal school lunch, then buying a bunch of extra junk and charging it to their accounts as if they have their own personal credit card for food. It’s always good to be able to monitor this situation online.
On this week prior to school beginning again, we will drop off school supplies and meet the 3rd grade teacher. Freshman orientation, pictures and class schedule will occur, while my sophomore will get her schedule, take pics and try to get a parking spot for the upcoming year.
I will be happy about getting back into some sort of a routine again.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You can check out Herb's own blog at www.thecodylife.weebly.com .
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