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Category: Conversations to Have

Fatherhood and Teaching

Fatherhood and Teaching

My first real interaction with Chris came a few weeks into our freshmen year of high school.  We were in a pickup game during after school intramurals and I had the ball at the three point line.  Chris was guarding me.  I was very aware of who he was – this was the 13-year-old who could already dunk!  As any proud former 8th grade all-star would do, I decided to see what he was all about.  I made a move and drove right by him! 

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Making the Best of a Situation

Making the Best of a Situation

I tell lots of stories. One of the stories I don’t think I’ve ever told stretches back to the last birthday party I had in 3rd grade.

Having a birthday in December meant I had just changed schools that previous fall. Beginning the school year at a catholic school in a neighboring town, I didn’t think to invite many kids from my previous town (and school). However, I did invite my best friend, Ari. He was known to have a good time and get a little out of control like myself. He always managed to keep it together just a little bit more than myself, so he made for a good governor.

3rd Grade Birthday Party

At my 3rd grade birthday party, I asked my dad to have it at an ice rink. Ari, was the only friend I invited from my old school. Everyone else was from the new school I was attending.

After a few laps of skating the rink, I found I wasn’t having much fun. Something inside was telling me that the party wasn’t exactly what I wanted. The skating rink seemed something like my new friends from the parochial school would be interested in. My old friends wouldn’t know what to make of it. Internally, I felt I wasn’t really into it.

It didn’t matter, I convinced myself to keep up the facade. No matter what, I had to make believe I was having a good time. Otherwise my father wouldn’t let me hear the end of it.

Within a few minutes my best friend Ari came up to me and said, “This isn’t fun!” I knew he was right. But I wanted to impress my new friends. I kept on skating around the rink and hoped Ari would act more like them. I pretended I had a headache. Ari did silly things to get me to laugh.

Hindsight is 20/20

As much as I wanted to laugh and have a good time with him, I didn’t bother. By the end of the day, I just hung out by myself. My new friends from the parochial school loved Ari and I was miserable. The party hadn’t turned out how I wanted it to. Ari was the star of the show. People wanted to hang out with him. I was supposed to be the big deal but no one seemed to notice.

As I look back on the situation with 20/20 vision I realize now I shouldn’t have compromised who I was. At the time I knew it too. I didn’t trust myself enough to be happy being myself (who I was inside). I thought assimilating to the new culture was more import. Since then, every day I kicked myself for leaving Ari left out in the wind trying to make me laugh by have a good time.

Now, I am an adult and I hope my children don’t make the same mistake I made as a child. I pray they will be themselves no matter who is in front of them. I hope and pray they will unapologetically be themselves. As dad, I’ll clean up the pieces proudly so my children grow to be themselves.

 

To My Wife on our 7th Wedding Anniversary

To My Wife on our 7th Wedding Anniversary

Hey Beautiful,

Happy anniversary. At times it’s hard to believe we have been married for seven years. The time has truly flown by. We have accomplished so much and there is still much more left for us to do.

There are time when it seems like we’ve been married even longer than seven years. After all, we’ve known each other for 14 years. That is almost half my life we’ve known each other.

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Before I Lose my Marbles Listen to This…

Before I Lose my Marbles Listen to This…

Every now and then I realize I’ve told the boss every story there is to know about me. Lately, I’ve been narrating many of my favorite child stories to my students during down time. I’ve got a new bunch of students every 9 months so I can repeat the stories knowing I’ve got a captive audience. However, lately I’ve been realizing I’m forgetting some of the awesome details. I think it’s time to record those stories so my kids can hear those, “back in my day,” stories before I go senile.

The Sore Cut Home

The summer I entered fourth grade seemed like yesterday even though it was a long, long time ago. Both of my parents decided that they would take my older brother, Joshua, myself, and my younger sister, Allison, with them to Jamaica. Spending time in Jamaica may sound wonderful because the beaches are beautiful, people are pleasant, and the food is fantastic. That is exactly what I thought until my mother told me we were going to be going into the mountains where they both grew up and we’d all be in summer school Monday through Thursday.

So that summer my siblings and I woke up in the morning, took the bus to school and walked home in the afternoon. One day while walking home in the blistering sun, my brother suggested we take a shortcut through a cactus field. He suggested that we walk sideways down the rows so we did not get pricked by the sharp points of each cactus. As we began walking through the field we quickly learned that it was going to be a sore cut instead of short cut. The short cut ended up taking longer than walking around because we stopped numerous times to take out the tips of the cactus. I encouraged my brother to keep moving forward with one step. I knew that with each step we took, that would mean we were one step closer to home.

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Wake up America!

Wake up America!

I never thought I’d live to see the day when I’d see a man gunned down on television. I never thought I’d see their killer walk free months later to restart their life after a not guilty verdict. This has become so common I can’t imagine what my children will grow up seeing when they are my age.

They told me, “Trust the system.” But the system isn’t working for everyone.

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Happy 2nd Birthday MJ

Happy 2nd Birthday MJ

Happy Birthday my dearest MJ,

Over the past year you’ve grown so much. It’s so hard to believe you are 2 years old already. I feel like you began walking only a short time ago. Looking back at pictures, it’s easy to see you’ve been walking and talking for months.

I enjoy looking back to see all of your progress. The fondest memories are full of your spunky personality. It was best most a month or two ago. You, Jackie, & I were walking through the library. The Bruff Family Library Rules didn’t apply to you for some reason.

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I am Creating a Monster

I am Creating a Monster

The first step to solving a problem is admitting you have a problem. Hi, my name is Chris. I am creating a monster. At night My Precious cries for someone to comfort her. With my busy schedule, I don’t get to spend as much time with her during the daylight hours as I’d like.

At night time, guilt piles on hard and lightens with each step I take toward her bedroom. Within moments, I’ll pick her up or climb in bed snuggling close with her pink zebra. Every night like clockwork she’s up at 11pm and 1am waiting for me to visit. Should I leave her be? 

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A Letter to My Mom

A Letter to My Mom

Recently I teamed up with an incredible mom blogger from down under. She runs All Things Mom Sydney. I was given the unreasonable task of writing a letter to my mother in 350 words. It was difficult because I’m pretty wordy and my mother encompasses more than 5 paragraphs. With that being said, I narrowed my focus. I wrote what I should have told her year ago.

Hamburgers!

A Letter To My Mom

Dear Mommy,

I know I don’t tell you this enough so here goes. Hamburgers.

Mother, I miss you cooking hamburgers. It’s cliché for people to tell stories about mom taking care of their needs at home. All that is true and more. Let me tell you why “hamburgers” is important to me.

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Jackie Turns 3

Jackie Turns 3

Happy birthday Jackie! You are the most special boy I know. In fact, you’re my favorite boy. Even though I say it a lot, I truly mean it. I am lucky to be your dad.

This past year has been special. You’ve accomplished so much. Most of your accomplishments have been a collection of milestones of first times and new beginnings. However, what has stuck with me the most this year has been your smile.

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