As a young boy growing up in a very difficult environment, I often wondered, "Who am I?" I had a stepfather who was ill equipped to fulfill the responsibilities as the head of the house and serve as male role model to those in his care. Alcoholism and other demons controlled his life, leaving little time to cultivate a relationship and invest in others, though I desperately longed for a dad to be my hero.
It's hard to believe that the first quarter of 2021 is already in the books, and it has been as unpredictable as last year. The stock market is acting like a child's yo-yo, experiencing all-time highs followed by record one-day lows. In late February, an unprecedented ice storm hit Texas, causing more than 4 million customers to lose electricity and more than 90 people to lose their lives.
Back when my daughter, Faith, was nine years old, she was a strong-willed child, but she was mostly compliant, which sometimes made it hard for me to say "no" to her. For some time, she begged my wife and me for a dog. "If only I had a puppy to love, play with, and care for…" became a common utterance. After much discussion, we surprised Faith with a miniature dachshund, Bella, that Christmas.
Many years ago, several friends described the beauty of Seattle, Washington, and encouraged me to visit. That February, I was invited to participate in a weeklong conference held in that area. I was excited to see the Space Needle, the incredible architectural buildings, and Mount St. Helens. As a kid, I remember when Mount St. Helens spewed ash all over the Pacific Northwest, clear into my home state of Montana.
My contractor friend and I recently traveled to my beach home in Florida to assess some of the damage from the 2020 storm season, which was brutal. There was a record-breaking 30 named storms and 13 hurricanes, and the state's Forgotten Coast was not immune to the effects. The house had a few leaks, a couple of wall cracks from being shaken, and a deck that required some cosmetic attention, but nothing beyond surface damage occurred.
It has been said that communication is the foundation of healthy relationships. If you love being a dad as much as I do, learning to communicate with your children is a work in progress. Just when you think you have arrived, you discover the destination has been moved. When your children are little, you learn that not every cry or whimper means the same thing. As they mature, it only becomes more complicated — or does it?