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Your Life is Your Story, Issue #021 – The Dad Days of Summer
June 19, 2005
"Your past is your story up to now. The future is the story yet to come. The present is where you live with that experience, your hopes and your dreams."
From Tom Gilbert – Editor and Writer, www.your-life-your-story.com
Opening remarks: Happy Father’s Day
Opening Remarks: Happy Father’s DayToday is Father’s Day. This holiday has special meaning for most of us, especially if you are a dad.
I had “ups and downs” with my dad growing up. Of course, now that I have my own children I get a different perspective. When you are a teenager it is natural to want your own way and rebellion is just part of the age. As a father I go through the challenge of letting my kids stretch and grow while still doing the best I can to provide guidance, to teach, to learn and to love.
I send heartfelt greetings to all of you, especially the many new subscribers to the Your Life is Your Story newsletter. Over the past couple of days I’ve seen a large number of people visit the web site. Apparently one of the stories I wrote about my son and I, The Walk was circulated around and I received a number of thoughtful emails. Thank you for that.
I also wrote a story about my teenager daughter that you can read here .
You are receiving this e-zine it because you signed up for it or someone who is subscribed passed it along to you. It is a special thing to share with you life story writing and personal history tips, resources and thoughts. If you like what you read here, you can pass it along to a friend. If a friend DID forward this to you and if you like what you read, please subscribe by visiting our signup page . Also, let me know what you’d like to see more of in this newsletter – simply reply to this email e-zine.
While the main focus of this newsletter is to share thoughts, ideas, and insights on life story writing you should know that I offer various services and also mention some products and services that can be helpful. You are under no obligation to purchase anything, but if any of these products or services are helpful and you decide to utilize them then I am most grateful.
Thanks for reading. – Tom
Featured Article: The Dad Days of SummerBy Tom Gilbert
The life journey we are on should, and will, teach us many lessons. One of those great lessons is that we are not in control of everything.
This is not an easy lesson for men. Society in most cultures tells us that men are tough, strong and in charge. If we are to make anything of our lives we must do it ourselves. We are frequently told if we admit defeat or show weakness then we lack character. We’re told that real men are not like that.
Some of the attributes that society tells men are important are even contradictory. We’re told people respect the "strong and silent type". At the same time we get encouragement to be part of loud and boisterous events like sports and the military. We’re told to be "our own man" and yet sent messages about "hero worship".
Eventually men discover the falseness of this approach. You can be successful early in life, build your career and have some "triumphs", but sooner or later the reality that you are not in control will hit home. Quite often this happens about the age of 35 or 40. It might be a family or health crisis, a job loss or a major addiction problem. It also could simply be the realization that all the things we thought we were supposed to achieve don’t fully satisfy. Along comes the mid-life crisis.
At this point we discover the truth about powerlessness. This is actually a good thing. This is when real growth happens.
The truth about being a real man and a good father can only be achieved through experience. You can learn by reading, but self-knowledge is not sufficient. Being a dad is not easy and it’s a process. It will come with the "ups and downs" of parenting. There will be struggles between being an authority figure, setting boundaries, disciplining your children and the need to show unconditional love, encouragement and for your children to not be afraid of you or life.
Hey, nobody said it would be easy. Singer and songwriter Loudon Wainwright III says it well in his humorous and poignant song, Being a Dad .
Being a dad can make you feel sad, like you’re the insignificant other. Yeah, right from the start they break your heart. In the end every kid wants his mother.
One of the great rewards I’ve experienced in my journey is to watch my children grow and face life and to recognize with a new perspective what my father faced with me as a child.
You can get good advice and learn parenting techniques, but remember there really isn’t a specific instruction manual. You learn to be a parent by doing it. And we all learn from our mistakes. Yes, especially from our mistakes! Bob Dylan said it well in one of his songs, "There’s no success life failure/and failure is no success at all."
If we don’t examine our lives and our journey it is hard to learn from it. What we learn from it and the unique perspective that only each one of us can give is worthy of being passed on to others. This is one of the great reasons for telling your story.
In the end we should do the best we can and hope for the day when we get to watch our children go through the parenting experience with their own kids. No wonder grandparents have that special "knowing" smile.
You can read other articles on life-story writing here.
Resources You Can UseMemorygrabber
The fabulous Memorygrabber e-book will give you countless ideas and help in recording your life story, from great memory-inducing tips to various ways to preserve your story.
I personally use this product and I really appreciate the effort Michael Boyter, author and creator, put into it. It’s very affordable and easy to use. See more here
Your Favorite Year
Here’s an idea that can preserve part of your life story. It’s not meant to be a comprehensive autobiography but it can be a start for preserving your journey and a shorter memorial to a favorite or meaningful year in your life.
What was your favorite year? It varies for everyone but I’m sure there was a time that meant something very special to you and that you enjoy reminiscing about.
You can get more information about the special Your Favorite Year life story service Your Life is Your Story provides by going to the get started page. Check the box for Your Favorite Year and submit the form and I’ll email you more information.
That’s it for this month’s issue. Thanks for reading and here’s to telling your story. Do give it some serious consideration because I just know you’ve got a great story to tell! Be sure to see the Get Started section.
Any comments, ideas or feedback is greatly appreciated. Just reply to this ‘zine and tell me what you think!
Until next time, – keep your story alive!
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