Monday, August 20, 2012

What is a good Daddy? From the experts...

In today's blog, I am taking a break.  Granted, I will be the one typing, but my words will not be the ones you read today.  As I was thinking about what to put in this week's blog, it hit me.  Why not ask those who our roles as Dads affect the most?

To give you some background, I teach three classes of seventy sixth graders Reading and English for an hour and twenty minutes a day.  I love teaching the older kids while some in my profession enjoy the little ones more.

I asked my kids at school to write me two sentences on what they think makes a great Dad and I told them I would publish their thoughts on my blog.  Two things stuck out at me about "my kids."  One, thirty-five of the seventy kids I teach have dealt with divorce or some form of it.  The second thing was a question one of them asked me when I told them what I wanted them to do today.  A student in the class raised his/her hand and asked, "How are we suppose to write about something we know nothing about?"

So here you go with Mr. Wood's kids' requirements of Dads.  Be warned, you might want to get a tissue.  Heck, you might want to get more than a few tissues.


Well, I think a dad is suppose to work and not be lazy...and sometimes cook for us.  If my Dad and Mom are divorced, my Dad should pay my child support and buy me clothes like my Mom does.

I think a good Dad should do his best to love you.  A good Dad should also make sure you have a good life.

A good Dad should go to your soccer games, buy you things you need, take you places, and do things for you.  A good Dad would leave work to come get you from school if you're sick or if you overslept, he could come get you and take you to school.

A good Dad should be nice.  A good Dad should buy you things to play with.

A good Dad should put food on the table.  He should also give you what you need.

A good Dad should take care of their child.  A good Dad should buy their children stuff.

They should love their kids.  They should also be there for them.

A good Dad should be there for his son.  He also helps them.

A good Dad doesn't leave his family.  A good Dad stays out of jail.

A good Dad always helps you and always has your back.  A good Dad helps you do homework if you need help.

A good Dad is a person who is truthful.  A good Dad is someone who is not a bully.

A good Dad should do stuff with his kid.  For example, my Dad hunts with me, shoots with me, helps me, and takes me places.  He should also love his kids.

A good Dad will be there for you all the time and come to cheer leading.  He loves me all the time.  He helps me with homework and helps buy the food.

A good Dad doesn't be mean to Mom.

I think a good Dad shouldn't leave.  If he does, he should leave a picture and his name.  If you leave, please come visit your daughter and don't forget to bring her some gifts, money, and take her shopping and love her.

A good Dad should always have some time to spend with his kids.  You know, teach them hot to do things.  Never leave his kids alone all the time, and if you have a baby, don't make him spoiled.  Remember, children are good because you have someone to have fun with.

A good Dad should work hard and pay the bills.  They should also have fun with their kids and not say, "I'm tired."

A good Dad should be nice to their kids and show good sportsmanship.

A good Dad should be kind, sweet, gentle, take their child to a lot of places, get him a few things every now and then.  He should just be kind to his child.  If you child is being bad, discipline him, but not too horrible.

A good Dad should put food on the table and pay child support on time.  He should also spend time with you.  He should also buy us food to eat.

A great Dad is someone you can have the best time with and he takes you places you really want to go.  A good Dad is someone who you can tell anything to.  He will put your life before his.

A good Dad will take you out for ice cream every Saturday.  A good Dad tells his kids he did a good job at something, even though he didn't.

A good Dad should do fun things with their child.  He should also take his kids to do stuff.

A good Dad should spend time with me and play with me.  He should come to my ballgames.  He should also play with me and not just my little brother.

A good Dad will be there when your children need you.  He keeps his promises and less work hours.  He is a good listener and gives advice on your problems.  He should try to relate to what you have to say.  He needs to occasionally have a family dinner.  A good Dad should have a great bond with his son, he should be able to have a conversation about anything.

A good Dad should play with you a lot and take care of you all the time.

A good Dad likes to hang out with me, play basketball with me, go mudding with me, and cut grass with me.

A good Dad should have fun with you.  If he needs help, help your Dad.

A good Dad should never tell your child bad things.  He should always be with his kids and try to make them happy.

A good Dad comes outside with us to play tennis and volleyball.  He also tries to us in a good mood.  He knows I love music and so he will turn on the music.  My even tries to play video games.  He is an awesome Dad.

A father should be someone who their children can look up to and be able to trust.  They should play with their children daily.  He should help a kid to learn to ride a bike.  My father helped me when I fell off my bike  and watched out for cars.  My dad bought a kiddie pool when I was four and he filled up it every week and would clean it out weekly.

A good Dad should talk to their kids about problems and encourage their children to be brave and happy.  I also think they should spend time with their kids.

A good Dad should defend you from the people who make you feel bad, even if it's your Mom.  He loves you even when you mess up so bad you're scared to say anything.  He tells you what you want to hear or finds a good way to tell you bad news.  He helps you understand.

A good Dad should spend time with your kids.  I care about my Dad but when I go visit him, he only pays attention to the other kids.  At least pay attention to me a little.

A good Dad goes to all my games, gives you attention, and plays with you.

A good Dad should always be with their kids and love them.

A good Dad spends more time with his son and be there for your son when he needs you.

A good Dad never lies to your kids, even when it's bad.  He also helps his kids when they are in a sticky situation.

A good Dad spends time with his kids, makes sure that there is food on the table, and acts silly and tries to fit in.  My Dad treats my siblings and I the same; he loves us very much.  My Dad takes care of us and plays the Mother and Father part.

A good Dad should be able to try to give what their children like or want.  A good Dad should be able to pay child support or stay with them.

A good Dad helps his children get along with each other.  He should try to make his child better.

A good Dad should go to their son's ballgames.  He should discipline his children if they do something bad.  Most important, he should spend time with his children.

A good Dad will spend time with his children and do stuff they like to do.

A good Dad should never leave his children.  I also think a good Dad should always love his children.  They should also find out what their children like and try it with them.

A good Dad should love his family and care about them.  He should play with his kids.

A good Dad is nice to his kids, motivates his kids, and tries to do stuff with their kids.

A good Dad should support his children and have fun with them.  They should not be tough inside, hide his feelings and get mad for no reason.  A good Dad is nice to his wife.

I think a good Dad plays with their children and is there for them.  He helps them do homework and makes them study so they can grow up and be someone.

A good Dad is a dad that play with his children.  He also supports him/her on everything they do.  If he was a good Dad, he would never leave his children.

I think a good Dad stays with his kids.  Make sure they have food and they're OK.

I think a good Dad is a person who carries us fishing and loves us more than anybody on earth.  Who is awesome! He works hard for what we have and stayed when our Mom left us.  He always comes to my games and has never missed anything in my life.  He pushes me to make the right decisions.  I love my Daddy so much!!!!

A good Dad would watch a movie with his kids.  He cares, calls and loves them very much.

I think a good Dad will stay with his children.  A good Dad calls and supports his kids.

A good Dad plays with you and has fun with you.  My Dad plays football with me and we have fun together.

I think a good Dad supports and cares about his children.  They should also help them and teach them things they can't learn about in school.  One of the most important things is to respect them and make they know you love them.

I think a good Dad spends time with his children and tries to put them on the right track.

A good Dad is one who cares and wants to do everything with you.  He would play with you go to almost every game you have.


I'll give you a minute to let those sentences sink in.

Can you tell which ones have a Dad?  Can you tell which ones don't?  My challenge to all of you Gold Medal Dads is look around you and look for those kids who need a surrogate Dad.  My students and I laugh a lot in class.  My other teachers in 6th grade refer to me as the "Daddy" of the grade level.  When I told my kids that today, I expected a chuckle.  I didn't get any.  I think some of them, even if they don't know it, want that man in their life.

Brighton is very blessed because he not only has a Mama that loves his but he ALSO has a Daddy that would do anything for him.  So many kids in our world don't have that.  Will you fill that gap?  Trust me, it's easier than you think.  As the words above mention more than once, it just takes a little time.

One of the best days of my life.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Do...or do not, there is no try.

For you Star Wars geeks out there, that quote should be very familiar.  For those of you who are not one with the force, allow me to enlighten you.

In the movie Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker travels to Degobah to enlist the training of Yoda, the Jedi Master.  Upon his arrival, he crashes his X-Wing Fighter into the marsh.  He learns of his friends being in danger and has to leave.  Yoda tells him that he can move his plane out of the swamp and his reply, "I'll try."  Yoda then comes back with that famous line, "Do or do not, there is no try."  Yoda then proceeds to move the plane out of the water.

This week, we Gold Medal Dads are challenged to "Balance Work and Family."  This is a huge challenge.

I recently received a brochure from the National Fatherhood Initiative and one statistic hit close to home for me.  According to the brochure, 71% of men would take a pay cut if it meant they could have more time with their family.  I was one of those men.

Don't get me wrong.  I miss the days of, let's call it, financial freedom.  My wife and I didn't blow money, but it was nice to be able to go out to eat and not worry about it so much.  It was cool to be able to go buy that neat gadget and know it would not hurt us for the month.  Those days are behind us.  Currently, crazy us are in the process of working toward a goal of getting my wife home.  If you would like to donate to that cause, please feel free to contact me. :)

I took a pay cut to spend more time with my family and my church.  I was never home.  Retail was good to me, don't get me wrong.  However, once Brighton came along, I learned all that glitters is definitely not gold. So, here I stand, about $15,000 a year poorer for the sake of my son.  Some look at me as though I am crazy.  To them I say, ask my son if he thinks it was worth it?  He said yes, I just asked him.  At least I think he said yes, he was stuffing his face with pizza.  Mama is resting from the pregnancy and Daddy is in charge of supper still.  I think I am going to see if Tombstone pizza wants to sponsor my blog.

The reason I used Yoda's words of wisdom is because balancing work and family is not one of those things you can vow to try.  Look back at all the "try's" in your life.  I tried working out three times a week.  I tried to cut down to one Sun-Drop a day.  I tried to exercise on a regular basis.  I tried to play tennis every Friday with some guys from school.  You see where I am going with this?

In the brochure, I liked a few of the suggestions.

1.  Tell your coworkers about your family commitments.  This is huge.  You cannot mention this in passing.  You have to make this a big deal.  Every year I tell my grade level that I can meet at any time to discuss the grade's plans and interventions, except after school.  After 3:05 p.m., mild-mannered Mr. Wood turns into Super Daddy or Bat-Husband.  I like either one, lol.  They need to know that you are a team player, but you will not sacrifice your family for work.

2.  Do your job!  The brochure says "Stay Busy and Focused" but I like my version better.  Get to your job, get your stuff done, and go home.  Don't doodle around the office talking to everyone about everything.  Workplace relationships are important, but the quicker you get your job done, the quicker you can go home.  The brochure goes to the extreme of suggesting a "Do Not Disturb" sign.  I, myself, arrange my desk in my classroom so people cannot see me when they are walking by.  I am not being rude, but during my planning times, I try to get as much grading and work done as I possibly can.  Trust me, my wife loves the fact that she sees virtually none of my school work.

3.  Limit work on weekends, vacations, and holidays.  I read once of an executive that had a special email for people to ask him questions on vacation.  It was something like  I loved it because it forced the person to actually write out what they were doing to that man.  Your family loves you and does not like sharing you.  Trust me, when I worked at retail and people would call me at home at night and on my days off to ask questions, my wife was not a happy camper.

Did you notice that none of the suggestions said try to tell your coworkers about your family.  Or, try to get done with everything at work.  Did it say try to limit work on weekends?  It said do it.

This week don't try to be the Father God wants you to be.  Don't try to be the Daddy your son or daughter needs you to be.  Just do it.

Here is the newest picture of our little one.  He or she is growing like a weed.  It is hard to believe that three weeks ago they looked a peanut with legs and arms.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

It's about balance?


I am a school teacher so my summer is over.  I know some of you are saying, "Oh, you poor baby."

I allowed school to sneak up on me this year.  I am teaching 6th grade Reading Language Arts again and I am ecstatic to be back with the older kids.  Since we are talking about balance this week in the Gold Medal Dad Games, this is a perfect time for me to have this checklist to work on.  Let's talk about my day today.

I woke up this morning and got ready.  I woke up my catatonic son and forced him to go to the bathroom.  He almost fell off the toilet while he was trying to stay awake.  We left for the babysitter, where Bright crawled on the couch and went back to sleep.

We had meetings at school until lunch.  My wife called and thankfully was having a fairly sick-free day.  However, we are probably seeing a pregnancy specialist since my wife's pregnancy recently was upgraded to a high-risk pregnancy.  As hard as my day was, hers I know was harder.

I was at school until about 5:00 and left for home.  I got in, fixed Bright a drink and started on supper.  Thank goodness I managed to have it ready at the exact time my wife got home so she didn't have to wait on it and could get something in her stomach.

Balance.  Balance is what keeps things from crashing.  Balance keeps things from breaking.  If one side is heavier than the other, something is going to fall.

Growing up, my father would sometimes bring his "bad day" home from work.  We could tell how the door would close if it was going to be a bad mood or a good mood.  I swore then and there, that when I grew up I would leave work at work.

I can honestly say that I have done a good job of leaving the manager at the door and allowed the husband and Daddy to come home.  I looked at my house as a retreat, an escape.  I looked forward to going home to see my wife and play with my son.  I enjoyed it so much that I left retail to become a teacher.  I promised my wife that I would leave "Mr. Wood" at school and especially for my son's sake.  I am his Daddy, not his educator.  I thought I would allow my wife to tell you what she likes about how I separate work and home.

"I don't ever feel like Maury takes anything out on me because of a bad or good day.  I never know if he had a good or bad day unless he tells me.  He has a good work ethic, which is bad at times.  When he was in retail, he wasn't able to contribute anything at home because of his workload and his need to finish his job.  That was one of the reasons he had to leave because he was out of balance as far as home and work.  Since him becoming a teacher, he is able to compartmentalize and balances family and work a lot better."
--Karen Wood

Any other advice, dear?

"Yes, use the time on the way home to let go of your day."--Karen Wood

This week, we will concentrate on our balancing act and making sure we are spending time with our families.  To mention something from former weeks, also be sure to give your spouse her time too.  She is part of the balancing act on the home side as well.

Remember, let's be the fathers God wants us to be and the Daddy our children need us to be.

Friday, August 3, 2012

It's not about me anymore.

I woke up this morning, like I wake up every morning.  I rolled over, hit my alarm clock and then sat up and stretched.  This morning was different though.  The armpit on my right side was killing me.  I touched it and it hurt, too.  I got up and told Karen about it and she said keep an eye on it.  I asked if I needed to go the doctor, but we agreed we'd just watch it.  After my shower, I got in my car and started off to my Mama's to drop Bright off.

On the road, while Bright was enjoying his peaceful second sleep in the backseat, my mind wandered.  "What if this pain is something more?" I asked myself.  I kept looking in the backseat and started thinking about Brighton not having his Daddy for those milestones in his life.  My Mama had cancer and I was trying to think what exactly I could be feeling under my arm.

I got to Mama's and talked to her about and she reassured me and said the same thing Karen did.  So, both important women in my life had agreed and I was OK...until I got to school.  My mind started wandering again.  Every time my arm moved, it not only brought pain but it triggered my mind to go into "gloom and doom" mode.

I watched the clock until I could leave and I went straight to the doctor.  The doc asked me questions and then felt under my arm.  "That does not feel like a lymph node," the doctor said.  "It doesn't," I reluctantly answered.  She then went on to give me some Latin medical terminology for my ailment.

It was an ingrown hair.

Why do I tell you this story?  Because five years ago, I would have just shook it off and went to work.  Being a Daddy has made my existence a bit more important.  My presence is needed on this earth.  Karen and I have discussed what we are to do if something were to happen to one of us.  As important as being a husband and wife is, we both know at this point in the game, our role as Mama and Daddy are a bit more important.

This week, we Daddys are challenged to affirm our kids.  A few of the tasks are: hug your kids, say "I love you", say "thank you", and complement your kids.  Do you really grasp the importance of your role in your child's life?

I read my Bible every night before I go to bed.  One of my resolutions this year was to read the entire Bible through from cover to cover.  Being a Christian since 1987, I should have already done this.  The important thing is I am doing it now.  One of the books I am reading right now is 2 Chronicles.  It is a book that tells of how Israel and Judah turned away from God.  Every once and a while we have a king that repents, asks for God's guidance, and gets Israel on the right track.  They are considered good kings.  However, Israel always falls back to the bad ways because the current king leads them that way.

Is this a leadership problem?  Is this an example of someone not knowing what they are doing?  In my opinion (my wife brought this to my attention), it is a Daddy problem.  Those kings are all succeeded by their children who start doing bad things.  If these fathers would just have taken the time to guide their sons in the right direction, Israel's and Judah's problems could have been avoided.

I know some of you might have never cracked open the Bible.  The analogy can apply to your life either way.  As Daddys, our opinions, our leadership, our guidance, and most of all, our example helps mold our kids into what they will become later in their lives.  Most of your strong leaders today, attribute their success to their parents.

We were walking through Wal-Mart today and I said excuse me to someone I was trying to get by in an aisle.  Brighton looked up at me and asked why do I always say excuse me?  I told him because it is what we are supposed to do when we need to get by someone.  Brighton is learning about manners.  How many times do we see rude people in public and automatically start thinking about their "raising"?

With these Gold Medal Games, I have learned so much.  I have learned that honestly, I am a good Daddy and I know that because Brighton has told me.  He crawls up next to me and props his arm on my leg and leans into me and watches TV.  Sometimes, in those magical moments, he looks up out of the blue and says, "I love you, Daddy."  I look at him and say, "I love you, too Buddy."  His reply, "yes."  It happens like that every time.

Stay tuned later this week for a special treat.  As my son has turned the big 4, I feel he is ready for his first interview.  We will hear from Brighton next week and the view from a four-year-old's eyes.  Please, please, please send me in your questions for him at  I would love to have a few.  Let's shoot for the interview to air on Monday evening.

Here is a preview.

Q--What is your favorite television show?
A--"Wild Kratts"
A--"Because I do"

This is going to be fun!!

Be the Father God wants you to be and the Daddy your children need you to be.

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