Father’s Day Introspective

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Step into my Office and read my bio

On this Father’s Day, I reflect on what it means to be me.

I also give a shout out to my father, who has guaranteed his immortality:

Happy Father’s Day, Pop!

All My Children

My children are my world and I love that they share their world with me.

I don’t talk about my kids much. I’ve been married twice and the two unions have resulted in seven wonderful children.

I missed all but the first three years of my first-born and all but the first two years of my second-born.

I took care of them, financially, but we lost touch over the years.

When I got married the second time around, I was a bit older and a lot more mature.

My wife and I made the decision to homeschool our kids and, so far Sheldon and Dominique have completed our rigorous preparations.

Playfulness is the one word that sums up our family life.

Whether parked in front of the television, crowded around a computer, or sitting at the kitchen table, you’ll always find us having fun.

A little while ago, I was invited to write a guest post on my friend

Rebecca Leamon’s blog.

I rambled on and on about how our family used games to spark creativity.

Thinking back on that article, I realized that I had written about creativity before …

My First Blog Post Ever

You know how much I love to discuss the glory days of WritingUp.com.

Joining that community of bloggers on November 27, 2005, I never realized just how many doors would be opened, friendships made and networks explored.

Although that site no longer exists, the friendships and networks endure and the doors – what can I say?

While I have reposted some of my writing from WritingUp.com, I never republished my first ever blog post.

Here it is, unedited, for nostalgia’s sake:
Chocolate ToolsCreative Commons License Janne Moren via Compfight

I wonder if I am an artist or an engineer. I am not trained in either field, yet there are moments of Athenian inspiration during which ideas spring forth full-blown from the right side of my head. Afterwards, the sinister side takes control and attempts to systematically mold the nascent creation into an elegant framework. I see the result of this one-two punch in everything that I do – be it designing a game, writing software, teaching abstract concepts to my children, teaching abstract concepts to adults, supervising co-workers, brain-storming with colleagues, writing poetry or posting in forums. I think it’s called style. If so, then I’ve finally developed my own synaptic fingerprint.

The need to create is visceral. There is a parallel between the arousal of neural pathways and my constant association of disparate things to one another. At the biological level, new connections between nerve cells enable my brain to store and recall information more efficiently.

At the conscious level, new associations between objects and concepts enable my idea pipeline to flow. Often, when I’m reading an issue of Science News, I’ll get an idea for a game. Maybe a clever commercial will ignite a marketing plan for real estate. When admonishing one of my younger children, I may create a parable to explain why he should consider changing his behavior. Each of these mental activities is deliberate and leads to copious note writing or manipulation of words and gestures calculated to give concrete form to my thoughts.

Successful instances of this whole-brain thinking leave me feeling warm and fuzzy; however, evoking mental monstrosities, half-baked hypotheses and idiotic ideas cause me to wonder if I am merely a conceit and a Doppelgänger, rejoicing overmuch at my own introspection, while sowing confusion and misguided information.

Father Knows Best

In the spirit of playfulness, here are a few fatherly words worth repeating:

“Lucky that man
whose children make his happiness in life
and not his grief, the anguished disappointment of his hopes.”

- Euripides, Prehistoric Playwright (just kidding)

“Poets have said that the reason to have children is to give yourself immortality. Immortality? Now that I have five children, my only hope is that they are all out of the house before I die.”

- Bill Cosby, Comedian

“One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.”

- George Herbert, British Poet

By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong.

- Charles Wadsworth

“First you do them a favor, then it’s your job, then it’s your fault.”
- Hillard Allen, my Dad (after volunteering once too often at his government job – but it could apply to kids, as well!


[Update]

A few days after I wrote this, Kyle, my oldest son, called me.

He shared two major bits of news. First, he’s getting married in August.

Second, brother Kerry has a daughter! My first grandchild!

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