I have been a parent for the past 30 years.  There are many things that have changed during this time. One thing is that my kids are a lot older now which means I don’t have to watch them as closely as I had to. Although we are doing different things in different parts of the city, we still find time to get together. There is one thing that I will never get tired of.  Spending time with my kids is still and always will be the one thing I greatly enjoy.

When they were first born it was fun doing things for them they could not do for themselves.

When Wendell Jr. was born I thought about how nervous I was holding him. I remember asking the nurse to take him because I was afraid that I would drop him. That was a new experience and if I my mind serve me correctly it was a few months before I came comfortable with the idea that I would not drop him. In fact it was not uncommon for me to be seen walking with him in a baby harness.

I was not as nervous when the other two were born. I did not go into the delivery with any of my guys. I was too afraid that my squeamishness would cause me to pass out. This experience was about the mother and baby. I didn’t want the hospital to waste its’ valuable resources on reviving me and I also didn’t want to become the brunt of any daddy jokes.

I watched with excitement as each kid took their first steps. I did all I could to restrain myself from running over to them each time it seemed that they would fall. When one of them did fall I would check to see if they were hurt and when it was apparent that “I” survived the fall we would continue on We learned the importance of moving past that type of event since there would be so many more events ahead of us.

I knew I had arrived when they started talking. At first I could not understand baby talk. Since I was a salesman I learned baby body language so I was able to stay in tuned with what they wanted in between the incomplete sentences and mispronounced words.

As their language skills increased it was nice to be able to understand them and to have a two way conversation. As time went on they were able to articulate their thoughts more clearly and it became a harder challenge to convince them that they still had a long way to go before they could make decisions on their own

Right now all three kids, Wendell Jr., Deshawn and Jonathan have no problem letting me know what is on their minds. My relationship with them has changed from me being the person in control to the person who is a facilitator in their day to day lives.

I have learned that the relationship with these three boys has to be a two way relationship. This serves purposes. First it gives me the chance to hear what their concerns are in a particular area. I always have felt it was my job as a positive parent to tell them if their concerns are real or imagined. In some instances young people don’t understand what is going on around them. This is where it becomes very important to share with them my experiences. I always felt it was important to be truthful with my guys. There are some things I have never experienced. One of my granddaughters was still born. I did not have any words of wisdom for this experience. This is when I learned about the valuable tools of listening and just being there.

I have said in many posts and I will repeat it here that kids come to most conclusions based on what they see. I have never said to my guys “Do as I say not as I do”. This means it would be very difficult to explain the perils of smoking while I’m smoking a pack a day. They have to see what I am saying.

In recent years I have purposely cultivated these relationships with these 3 kids in such a manner that it will make it possible for us to pass along ideas one to the other. Although I am the dad and I love being a dad, I am no longer in the role as the only one with all the answers. Since we are a team, it is important for each member to help the other. This way we can continue to move forward.

There are many times when I need their help to solve a problem.  For example I have an app on my phone where I can get the schedule for the subway. It’s called SCHNYC. It’s a great app in that at the swipe of my finger I can know what time the train is leaving when I need to go. It even gives alerts when there will be service interruptions.

I searched and searched for a similar app that would provide bus schedules. This is very important because I live in an area where I need to take a bus to get to the subway. I mentioned this to Wendell Jr. and he informed me that already had a great app. In fact it was an app that I told him about. It’s called HOPSTOP. This app I used primarily as a direction finder. I plug in my start destination and my ending destination and it will give the best way to travel. It can be used if I’m driving, walking or taking mass transit.

I opened the app on my phone and he showed me on the bottom of the screen a button named schedules. When I pushed the button a whole new world opened up to me. Not only can I get directions, I can also get schedules for every mass transit entity that is located in the NYC Transit system.

The world is now safe. Bring out the women and children.

This is not the only thing I learned. At Least once a week I learn something new from Wendell Jr., Deshawn or Jonathan. This is what team work is all about. Every member of this team brings to the table his unique skills and then we all move together as a family to that next plateau.

As I get older my role with my guys changes. In the beginning it was one thing. Now it has moved to a different level.

One thing has stood out more than any other thing and that is I really enjoy my kids.

I’m the guy whose glass is always ½ full.


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