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Teaching the Kid Life Lessons


Let me be the first to say this, I SUCK at doing chores.  I have the hardest time getting the motivation to do them after a hard day’s work.  It is my thought that I should be able to come home and just be able to relax.

I realize though, that there are things that need to get done around the house.  I know that the floor needs to be swept and vacuumed.  My feet appreciate picking up the Lego pieces that are left on the living room floor, if they don’t end up in the vacuum.  The dishes need to be done and the lawn needs to be mowed.

Doing these chores are a pain, I am not going to lie.  The moment I walk in the door I hear my empty easy chair calling my name.  My feet are hurting from walking to and from different sides of the building at work. The Netflix queue needs to be watched.  However, the Kid needs to learn that not everything will come easy.  There are times when we have to do things that we don’t particularly enjoy.

Teaching the Kid Life Lessons - The Rookie Dad

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The Smartphone, My Camera of Choice


When I grew up, if you wanted to take pictures you either ran to the store to grab a disposable camera or you pulled out a camera with a bunch of settings that you don’t know what they mean.  Today, you can still break out in a DSLR camera or you can just reach into your pocket and quickly take a picture with your smartphone.

I’m lucky enough to have both a DSLR and a smartphone. I’ve had both since the Kid was born. When the Kid was mostly immobile and I more time on my hands to edit pictures, I almost always reached for my DSLR.  The pictures always turned out so crisp and clean compared to my early iPhone.

The Smartphone, My Camera of Choice - The Rookie Dad

A picture taken of the Kid at 6 months old with my DSLR.

Now, the Kid is going on 4-years-old and can sprint around the house faster than it would take me to get my settings right on my Canon Rebel.  Now the moment I see a moment that I want to remember, I reach for my phone, usually in movie mode and I’m able to take pictures while I am getting video of the Kid.

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How Do You Explain Death To A Child?


How do you explain death to a child?  It is a question that I have been asking myself lately after hearing the news of Robin Williams.

How Do You Explain Death To A Child? - The Rookie Dad

Image Courtesy of Flavor Wire

The other night when we were sitting down to dinner my phone started to explode, not literally but the ringing from it was constant.  Naturally, I have to check it and find out that Robin Williams died knowing that Mrs. Rookie Dad would be interested.  We both were shocked by the news but little did we know that the Kid would be too.

The Kid, for those of you who don’t know, is named William.   I just chose to use the Kid as his name on this blog.  After making the announcement at dinner, William’s face immediately turns from a jubilant 3-year-old to heartbroken child.

“You mean I died?”  He said.

Mrs. Rookie Dad and I look at each other shocked that the Kid made an immediate connection to the death of Robin Williams, all because of a name.

We tried to explain that it was someone else, someone that Mrs. Rookie Dad and I used to watch on TV all the time.  This just made the situation even worse in the eyes of the Kid.

“Bad guys killed him didn’t they?”

“We don’t know that yet but I don’t think they did.” (We now know the most of the story)

“But only bad guys make people die.”

“Yes you are right, but sometimes people die from other reasons.  That happens.”

I will be the first to admit that the death of Robin Williams hit me hard.  It hit me harder than any other celebrity death.  This exchange with the Kid didn’t help things.   I could tell just how much he was identifying with the loss.  How do you explain to a child that death happens and is a natural part of life?

It wasn’t but five minutes after we had finished eating that he forgot the conversation and was asking me to play cars with him.  As I am racing cars with him I couldn’t help but wonder how this will affect the Kid.  Will he ask about it later? Will he ask if the bad guys that killed that one guy were caught?

On one hand I am glad to know that he understands the difference between good and bad guys.  On the other hand, I want him to know that death is a natural part of life.  Maybe I am expecting him to grow up to quickly.

I don’t know if I am ready to answer the tough questions that parenting has to bring me.  While explaining that bad guys aren’t the only reason people die isn’t that tough of a question, it was a sign of what is to come.  A sign that I am not ready for.

Do You Ever Have One Of Those Days?


Do you ever have one of those days?  One of those days where you are sore, tired, and so is your spouse?  We weren’t tired for any of the reasons you are probably thinking of.

We were tired because we spent all day on Saturday building paver patio off the steps of our deck.  This involved digging up a 11 by 12 section of grass with very established roots.   The soil in our area is also very clay like.   I won’t bore you with details though.

We were able to build most of the patio on Saturday and by Saturday night both Mrs Rookie Dad and myself were extremely tired and our muscles ached.  We settled down for an early evening and basically had to crawl into bed.

We were both hoping for a good night sleep when around 4am there was a very strong thunderstorm that made its way through our area.  Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal because I am able to sleep through storms.  However, it is different now that I have a toddler.

Thunder waking up the Kid, he came running into our room looking for our protection from the storm.  You would think that by now I would be used to sleeping with a toddler, however, I am not.  Being kicked in the back and backhanded on the cheek makes for a very restless night sleep.

When morning decided to shine its ugly face we were even more sore and tired.  I was walking around the house like I was a 90 year old man.  I almost needed a walker to make it around the house.

As we were going throughout the day, the Kid was in rare form.  He was being loud and just had more energy than normal.  This would not have been a big deal if Mrs. Rookie Dad and I weren’t so tired and sore.  He was just being a toddler I realize that.  We were not in the mood to be able to handle him being this way.

Do You Ever Have One Of Those Days? - The Rookie Dad

This is how much of the day felt.

We were unable to be the parents that we strive to be.  We couldn’t play with him.  We couldn’t laugh and have a good time.  He could tell that we were not feeling that great.  But he still insisted on pushing our buttons.

We laugh about it now looking back.  As the soreness subsided we became more active with the Kid and our day ended on a more positive note than it began.  It was just one of those days that you just wish that you could have a mulligan and do it all over again.

Do You Ever Have One Of Those Days?  - The Rookie Dad

This is how the day ended.

Lessons Learned from Disney’s Planes Fire and Rescue


Disney has done it again. They had a great children’s movie in Planes and before the success of the movie even started they were already preparing their new movie Planes Fire and Rescue. This time however unlike Cars 2 they did not ruin the movie franchise.

Disney's Planes Fire and Rescue - The Rookie Dad

If you want my opinion, Planes Fire and Rescue was better than the first Planes. I believe that Disney hit it out of the park with this one. There is much more emotion and even brought me to tears when Dusty went… well you will just have to watch the movie for yourself.

Reflecting upon our viewing on opening night of Planes Fire and Rescue, I realized how much meaning there was behind this movie. There are many lessons to be learned and I hope that the Kid will someday fully understand some of those lessons that Dusty and his friends are teaching not just our kids, but all of us.

Life Doesn’t Always Work Out

For those of you who haven’t seen the Disney flick yet you might not realize it but Dusty’s racing days are over in Planes Fire and Rescue. Dusty has become a racing champion known around the world but in one accident, his racing days are over. Naturally, Dusty is extremely upset. This was all he wanted to be in the first Planes. He has no idea what to do with his life at this point knowing that he will never race again. Dusty along with the many who have already watched the movie learn that life doesn’t always work out. What you can do is the next life lesson that the movie teaches us.

If You Get Knocked Down Pick Yourself Back Up

Dusty has just learned that there is a way that he can save Propwash Junction in Planes Fire and Rescue, he can become a firefighter. He understands that this may the only thing he has left. Dusty understands that because he unable to race, he needs to do something to pick himself up, distract him from what is really bothering him, and save his home town and become a firefighter. He doesn’t let the fact that he can no longer race stop him from living his life. Much like in all of our lives, if you get knocked down pick yourself right back up and keep fighting. A lesson that many of our children teach us adults, but one as our children grow we must remind them.

Disney's Planes Fire and Rescue - The Rookie Dad

 

Learn To Grow

Since Dusty has no firefighting experience in the beginning of Disney’s Fire and Rescue, he knows that he that he has to learn to grow into something that he is not. It isn’t his ideal scenario in life. Even though he doesn’t know how to be a firefighter he does everything he can to learn how to be one. He isn’t doing this for himself he is really do this for all of his friends back at Propwash Junction. He is learning while growing into a bigger and better plane. As parents, we must teach our children to become a better person. It is quite possibly the hardest job we have as parents.

You Can Do Whatever You Put Your Mind To

When Dusty arrives at Piston Peak, he makes up his mind that he is going to be a firefighter. Once this decision is made, he combines all the three lessons mentioned above: life doesn’t always work out, when life knocks you down pick yourself back up, and learn to grow. Knowing that this isn’t how life was supposed to work out, he is tested as a firefighter and is knocked down in many ways as he is training to get his certification but he learns from those upsets and grows from them. Dusty puts his mind to it, he really wants to be a firefighter, not only for himself but for Propwash Junction and everyone at Piston Peak. In the end, it all… well again, you will just have to watch the movie for yourself to see how it ends.

Disney's Planes Fire and Rescue - The Rookie Dad


 

This was the first time that I actually dove into a movie to see what it was really teaching the Kid. Not only that, but Disney’s Planes Fire and Rescue brought a tear to this grown man’s eyes. This may sound like most of the Disney movies, but one thing that Disney has figured out that many other studios haven’t yet, is how to drive these lessons home to their moviegoers and make the movie truly family friendly. Take my advice, go out and watch Planes Fire and Rescue, you, your children, and your family will not regret it.

This goes without saying though, that this movie is in dedication for those first responders who put their lives on the line every single day.

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