sideline parenting (8 of 12) — chill out

Parenting Advice from the World’s Greatest Coaches (with a charlie’s house coozie)

“If what you did yesterday seems big, you haven’t done anything today.”   —   (Lou Holtz, former University of South Carolina football coach)

I’m not sure if anyone has told you, but it gets pretty hot in Florida.

Most of us have come to rely on a new invention called air-conditioning to get us out of temperatures so hot that Mr. Heatmeiser doesn’t bother stopping by for a bite to eat anymore. It pains me to think that I will never again hear his theme song that reminds me of his great power and domination over hot weather, the world over…

“I’m Mister Green Christmas, I’m Mister Sun, I’m Mister Heat Blister, I’m Mister Hundred and One. They call me Heat Miser, whatever I touch starts to melt in my clutch..I’m too much!”

:Note to Self: Double up on visits to the psychiatrist for the next 45 days and lay off the 5 Hour Energy Drinks.

So, back to the A/C

With very few exceptions, my A/C unit works without fail. It doesn’t matter what the temperature is outside; it remains the same inside. Whether it is 101 degrees outside in mid day, or if it’s all the way down to 80 with a relative humidity of… “I am pretty sure I am not breathing in any oxygen with this misty heat spray”; I still get to come in and enjoy a temperature that I can better cope with. Heck, sometimes I even turn it down to “darn right cold”, just to snub my nose at the sun and it’s proverbial death ray.

Well, my friggin A/C decided to stop working not too long ago.

I don’t have to mention a few things. Like how fast hot air can kick the crap out of cold air, mock your wife’s flat iron, and test your ability to enjoy life without simple things like the absence of that sweat that drips down your back and collects itself in the cloth that makes up the back of your underwear. It’s amazing how a little “swamp butt” can bring you to the realization that you really have taken your Cold Air Moving Device for granted.

Since the unit was less than a year old, I called the company that sold it to us and setup a service call.

So, as I stood, legs open over a box fan, and waited for said-repairman to arrive, I thought about a few things. Like, I wonder how long the hardwood in my floor can resist the urge to buckle up and release itself from the floor. Or, how creative is the impending service/sales call story going to be to try to talk me into buying 15 things I don’t need to fix my 1 year old unit. Or, I wonder what is going to happen when my wife walks by a mirror and actually sees what is going on with her hair.

After it was all said and done; it was a very simple issue, that was very inexpensive to fix, and was easily resolved. We also found out that there are ways to prevent it from happening again. A few simple and inexpensive things to insure that the unit will run efficiently and last for its life expectancy. I learned that if I respect my A/C unit, it works better. If I don’t, it will keep pumping with it’s tongue hanging out to try to do it’s job, but eventually it will halt from neglect and improper use.

I thought about how that related to me as a parent.

My kids are taking for granted expecting that I will continue running every day. They gladly suck up the comfort that I provide and enjoy the fruits of my labor. They have no idea how I do it, and frankly, they don’t care. All they know is that whenever they need love, direction, guidance, understanding, patience, kindness, prayers, hope, etc… all they have to do is adjust the Dad-O-Stat to the desired setting and “viola”; instant gratification.

But how uncomfortable is it when Dad’s compressor isn’t working right, or his overflow is clogged, or his Flux Capacitoris malfunctioning? What do they do to find their “comfort” when Dad isn’t pumping it out efficiently? What sneaky sales dude is going to try to push false comfort on them, selling them on things that they don’t need or that will make it worse? Kid’s don’t have the ability to fix their busted parents…that is your job…single or not.

We need to find out what is necessary to perform routine maintenance on ourselves. We need to stay healthy, get enough rest, and eat well. We need to pray, for wisdom, protection, and understanding. We have to aggressively maintain a relevant understanding of what our kids are dealing with out in the world. We have to be aware of what we are producing with our actions an make sure that we are providing our kids with what they need to grow up with a sense of stability and accountability. We need to train, condition, and develop our mind, body, and soul, for the most important task God has bestowed upon us as humans. Watching over His children.

If you find that your days are not that difficult to manage, then you are probably not engaged enough.

Parenting is a non stop job that is difficult for quite some time. It’s OK to not work as hard when times cool down a bit, but you always need to be ready for the heat. If you’re lucky, it will actually get cool for a day or two and you can have some idle time. But for the most part, it is going to be hotter than a goats butt in a pepper patch. You need to be ready to run, run, run.

And if you work hard enough, they will leave you as well adjusted, respectful, upstanding citizens that will have a positive effect on everyone that they come in contact with. Then you can get back to doing what you want. I already have my exit strategy planned out. When the kids are grown and gone to explore life on their own, we are moving to Alaska. I’m sure that when this is over I will not want to see another A/C unit for a long time.

But for right now I’m ready to take on tomorrow, and no matter how hot it gets, I am ready to do my best to cool it down.

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