Practical Advice For My Son #8 ~ Let The Pan Heat Slowly

There is something about cooking that people don’t tell you… it takes patience. When you want an egg, you want an egg. The temptation, and generally the action, is to put a pan on the stove and just heat the heck out of it. Especially on an electric stove, you just want to put it on high, or at least medium high, and go for it.

Unfortunately, when you take this approach to cooking a couple of things happen. First, you get rubbery weird eggs that are overcooked on the outside and too runny in the middle. Second, you get a pan requiring industrial cleaning because there is stuff burnt on to it.

Life is a lot like this process. When you go at things full blast, with no thought, you get some difficult results. First, you may have an incomplete or inappropriate solution and have to re-do whatever it is. Second, you may have relationships you have “burned” on the outside without resolving the mush on the inside. Third, you may say things that you either can’t take back or didn’t want heard.

So, when cooking an egg, or almost anything at all, it is best to set the pan on medium or medium low. Then wait until it is evenly as hot as you want it. Then put your food in and wait for it to cook evenly and thoroughly. When you are done not only will you have food that looks good and tastes good, you will have a pan that you can clean and put away without much trouble. Life is like that… let the pan heat slowly.

Things I Want My Son To Know #22 ~ Express Yourself

There are serious conversations, there is chit chat and there is jib jabber; and there is writing. All of these are about words. For some people, words are sufficient for the expression of self, the expression of the truest and deepest feelings. But words, talking, writing is not enough for some.

This is not really about the kind of expression that results in dialogue, in a two sided or multi-sided conversation. This is about finding a way that allows you to get your feelings outside yourself; to show yourself without unbearable vulnerability.

For me its music. I love writing (you didn’t guess?) but I hold back in writing when I am writing about my innermost feelings unless I am sure nobody will see it. In music I don’t need to hold back. In music I can hide behind the fact that the words are someone else’s but I know in my heart they express perfectly how I feel. When I sing I can let loose in a way that I never do any other way. But… music doesn’t do for everyone what it does for me.

For some it is dance, there are people that feel that no matter how well or how poorly they dance, they can let loose in a way they don’t elsewhere. In fact, for those people, they don’t know that they dance well or poorly, they just dance for the sheer job of expressing themselves in dance.

For some it is in drawing or painting that they find this kind of freedom of expresssion; for some its sculpture, photography, film. You name it, there are those that find the expressions of their souls in it. And some people never find the joy of being able to express themselves totally, without reservation.

So I say, listen to all kinds of music, you never know where you might find your inspiration; it may not be in the music popular with your friends. Dance even if you think you can’t, and dance as if nobody is watching you, just enjoy it. Look at all kinds of art and photographs; watch old movies and foreign movies; expose yourself to things unfamiliar. We know you can draw, paint, design. Don’t forget that you are really talented. Don’t forget that you once enjoyed designing for yourself. Don’t forget you loved fabrics and clothing when you were young and nobody was judging you. Just keep doing something until you figure out what gives you joy. There are many different kinds of joy: there is joy in the love of a relationship, joy in friendship, joy in your children, joy in faith and joy in work that you like. But there is a kind of pure joy in finding a way to express yourself fully in a way that works for you; it doesn’t matter if anyone else every understands it, just do it.

Practical Advice For My Son #7 ~ Ask For Directions

Okay, so there is a joke; a joke about men asking for directions. But the joke arises from a reality, at least in American life and culture.

American men often have the idea that asking for help in any way is a sign of weakness. This goes for any kind of help, from the most serious psychological help, to medical help, to reading instructions, to asking directions. Silly mostly.

If you are having a breakdown, or a relationship problem, get professional help; you never know but you might save a marriage, help your children, save your life. If you feel bad, go to the doctor; you never know but you might feel better, improve your health, save your life. If you are in hour three of trying to put together a tricycle, play kitchen, desk, lawnmower, read the instructions; you just might feel better, get to do something else and, in the case of heavy machinery, save your life.

If you are lost, or don’t know where you are, ask for directions. Not only will your partner not think less of you, they are likely to be grateful. Also, you will get where you are going much more quickly. It is likely that you will avoid a great deal of frustration that you would have to hold in pretending that you actually know where you are and where you are going (and yes despite this drama your passengers doknow that you don’t know).

While being a problem solver, a solution seeker, is an admirable and sought after trait in the business world, there is a fine line. When you simply don’t know how to solve something, fix something, build something and you can’t imagine or create a solution, ask for help. always remember that asking for help is not unmanly, it is efficient. There are so many better things to do than wasting your time trying to figure everything in life out on your own.

Practical Advice For My Son #6 ~ 3 Teaspoons In A Tablespoon

There are many things that fill up a person’s mind. Often these things seem unimportant and seem to take up a lot of mental space; until you need to know them, then they are critical. As an aside many of those things I learned from my father, your grandfather. He really knows, or knew, a lot of things; he probably has the biggest fund of general knowledge of anyone I ever met. I have a pretty good sized fund myself. I couldn’t possibly think of all the things here that come in handy and are important, but here goes just a few.

There are three teaspoon in a tablespoon, two cups in a pint, two pints in a quart and four quarts in a gallon. A pint is a pound the world around. Five feet is sixty inches. Right for tight, left for loose (or as your father says righty tight, lefty loosey). If you put tape on a wall before you put in a nail it won’t make a messy hole when you move out. Adding salt to oil and vinegar makes a vinagrette dressing. Cleaning your toilets with vinegar will prevent the growth of germs. You can clean glass (like your windshield) with glass cleaner and newspaper, it will be streak free. Salt will take a spill out of a carpet and soda water will take a stain out of your shirt if you are out on a date. You can occasionally take Tylenol and Advil within an hour of each other if the fever doesn’t go down. Don’t eat dairy with the stomach flu; eat the BRAT diet, bananas, rices, apples and toast. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Carry your wallet in your front pocket in the city.

There is so much important trivia it is mind boggling but this stuff comes in handy so collect it, remember it, believe it. The things here are just examples of the things you might need in life. You never know when you will need to know how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon.

Things I Want My Son To Know #21 ~ Love With All Your Might

I didn’t know it at the time, but my parents were my first loves. As I get older I realize how much I love them, how much I have taken their presence in my life for granted. In facing the proximity of loss, I understand how much I will be losing.

I have come to love my friends. Learn this soon and remember it. Hold your friends close, cherish them, stay in touch with them and don’t let them go. Your friends will tell you the truth even if you don’t like it, your friends will bail you out, your friends will cover your butt and keep you company when you need it. You will tell your friends things you may not tell your wife, and that’s ok. Love your friends back.

When I was young I didn’t know anything about faith. Now I do. Having faith is about loving the God of your own understanding; believing that you are not alone. Love God with all your might by striving for great faith; with it life is much easier. You can talk to God when you can’t tell things to your friends or your wife. Treat this relationship with the same love you give to all your relationships.

And then I learned about perfect love, the day you were born. You will be stunned by how much you love your children. You will think you have never loved so much when you meet the person you decide to marry and you will be floored to discover the extent to which that love pales in the reflection of how you feel about your children. You will never understand how much we love you until you have children of your own. Love your children with all your might, and tell them often how much you love them.

When you forget about unconditional love, remember your pets. Your cats and dogs love you unconditionally, asking only in return that you do what they can’t do for themselves. you forget to feed them, they still love you. You accidentally lock them in a closet, they still love you. You step on a tail, its forgetten in seconds. Take a leaf out of their book and remember to love the people you love without question and without expectation.

And then there were all those “first” loves. Even having had two prior husbands, I don’t really remember being “in love”, but every one felt wonderful at the time. And I have learned from every relationship I have ever been in. No matter how much the end of a relationship hurts, no matter how afraid you are of failing, or having it end, you have to love with all your might. If you don’t you will miss knowing how wonderful it is to be in love, you will miss the feeling of that first kiss, and you may miss finding the one person you were meant to be with. You know your dad and I have had our ups and downs, but I know that he is my “meant to be”. Even when I want to kill him, I can’t imagine my life without him. You will never know how that feels if you don’t love with all your might.

Love is risky; all kinds of love. Our prayerbook says that “it is a terrible thing to love what death can touch” and that is true indeed. When you open your heart, it can get hurt. But you have to love with all your might, you have to keep your heart open, otherwise how will all those people find their way in?