Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Lesson 4: Make Time For Family And Friends

friends.jpg friends image by tayshona_resper
photo by Tayshona Resper

Listen up. How much time do you spend with friends and family? And when you do, do you focus on them and how they are doing, or do you just talk about yourself? Okay. Stay with me. It's confession time: the bad, the ugly, and the good.

The bad

The daddy used to spend very little time with his family and friends. He was a workaholic. He has had two jobs as long as he can remember. In the early 90's, he started his own consulting business, and here is how it worked. From 8:00 to 4:30 p.m., the daddy worked as a manager of a semi-governmental agency and from 5:00 to 10 p.m., he worked his own business. He did this 4 to 5 days a week. And once a month, he worked for his business, giving 4-5 hour workshops on violence prevention. Obviously, this gave the daddy little time for family and friends.

Not only did the daddy not take time for family and friends; he didn't take time for himself either. Other than an annual check up and visits to the dentist, he basically disregarded his health. He just about swallowed whole donuts from Super America in the morning, threw food in his mouth at his desk at lunch, and chased cheeseburgers with beer for dinner. Not only did the daddy not take to smell the roses; he didn't take time to smell the coffee either. He just gulped it down on the way to work.

But while in the hospital recovering from an intestinal blockage (Could it have been from all the cheeseburgers?) the daddy began to think about his crazy, workaholic lifestyle. He had all the nice things: a big "manly" SUV, a big warm home and stylish clothes. However, when he looked more closely, he had something far more valuable: friends and family who adored him, bragged about his service to the community, and told stories about the wonderful things he did-- friends he rarely saw. Sure, he would be there for them during a crisis. But at other times (children's birthdays, wedding anniversaries, occasional house parties, often the daddy did not arrive until late, if at all.

The ugly

Looking more closely, the daddy discovered that he was not as kind to his friends and family as they were to him. Did he bring them soup when they were sick? Did he just "drop by" to say hello to see how they were doing? Of course not. Like a hunter collecting trophies, he was too busy chasing money and buying things.

Looking even closer, the daddy realized that, when he was with them, often he talked about himself. you know, his work with violent men, his work with local celebrities, his understanding of what he now realizes were weird subjects to them like outcome evaluations and community policing. He rarely asked his friends about what was up with them, what were their hopes and dreams, either as an individual or a family.

The good

After leaving the hospital, the daddy changed his ways. First, he spent time working on himself. He ate a healthy diet of fresh fruits and vegetables and lots of protein. He cooked at home and invited friends over to share; and while focusing on listening to them for the first time (it seemed), sipped good wine and ate slowly. He gets meditates by listening either to cool jazz from Sirius on his satellite disk or listening to a CD with the sound of Ocean waves. And, as much as possible, he walks by the Mississippi River or the Ocean in Naples, Florida.

And now the daddy does something he thought he would never do, something he never viewed as very manly: he visits his friends and family and, before walking away, hugs them (male or female) and says, "I love you." He might be going soft, but there is something about hugging my friends and family and telling them he loves them loves that makes the daddy feel he has rejoined the human race.

Do you take time for friends and family? And when you do, do you talk about yourself or focus on them?


SagaciousHillbilly said...

Daddy, Great story to share. Thanks.
I was in Naples last week visiting a couple I've called "Aunt and Uncle" all my life even though they are no blood relation. They are also my god parents.
I was about to decide that we didn't have time to drive the 2 hrs down to Naples to see them this trip and then I realized how idiotic that thought was and we went. I'm so damn happy I did. We had a great time.
Went to a really good fish place called Capri Fish House. Man, the curried stuffed flounder was perfect.

You were so lucky to have had someone like Mama D in your life. I'm sorry for your loss.

nicki nicki tembo said...

Fundamentals, fundamentals. It doesn't get any more basic than these lessons that you're dispensing.

MacDaddy said...

Sagacious: Glad you got to go to Naples as well as see your God parents. I hope you are appreciating the series.

Nicki: Good to hear from you two nights in a row. And, yes, these are fundamentals. Sometimes we need to reminded about them.

MacDaddy said...

Nicki: I forgot to say that we're talking about how we act during a crisis. To say that, during a crisis, our mind goes through a mental process and loses perspective is just another way of saying we are not acting like our normal selves. So, in talking about these what you call "fundamentals," I'm really talking about normalizing, or recovering, our mind and our relationships with each other.The real deal is that, during a crisis, what's "fundamental" isn't fundamental anymore.

rainywalker said...

Yes and tell them things I always wanted to say to get closure for us both. A hug or embrace can make the difference in a persons day and life. Wonderful suggestions!

nicki nicki tembo said...

sure, absolutely.

I was sort of speaking to the fact that in times of crisis we have found ourselves having gravitated away from the fundamentals of fam and the like. In many ways these ground us and reassure us in times of uncertainty. Strong family bond can possibly be a maintenance tool.

As you can probably tell I'm loving this series. It's a vital discussion and it seems useful no matter where we are in our current lives.

MacDaddy said...

You are so right. I'm writing a post about that now. Thanks.

Hagar's Daughter said...

Hi Mac,
This post is such a reminder of how isolated I feel. The distance from my family and the busy-ness of friends mirror my own existance.

I take time to call family and would love to visit friends who are in closer proximity, but everyone is too busy.

I am working on getting in touch with what really matters in life and I want others to join me. It's like being rich and not having anyone to share in your riches - it's no fun.

judy said...

daddy, i've noticed in myself more of a need for community than ever before. somehow, in crisis, even surrounded with people, we can feel so alone. taking the time to actually be there, really there, with friends and family is an amazing, healing thing.

MacDaddy said...

Hagarsdaughter: You state the dilemma so well. And it's an ongoing thing.I'm trying to get my friends to slow down so we can spend more time together. Some are listening and some aren't.

Judy: Yes, it's so important to be with family and friends. Life is too short not to be.

CurvyGurl ♥ said...

To be honest, I don't much these days. My fam and friends have gotten used to my not answering the phone or hanging out as much as I used to, sadly. For some reason, I've become kinda relationally moody (if there is such a thing). I have a great time when I am around them and know it does me good, but I quickly go back to the daily grind. I have an idea why this happens, I guess I need to really work on that.

MacDaddy said...

CurvyGurl: Good to hear from you. What do you think of the series so far?