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Relay For Life

It’s been a while since I wrote a real Bootstraps post. I stopped writing regularly back in 2012 after starting my MBA. The workload was just too much for me. I welcomed my son into the world in 2013 and then graduated in 2014 (Yay Me!). Soon after that I was changing jobs, separating from my wife and starting the podcast that I’d had on my mind for a couple of years (www.trivialwarfare.com if you haven’t checked it out yet).

Most of my free time now is dedicated to the show. The recording, editing, marketing and what not is enough to keep anybody busy. Still, I have a soft spot in my heart for Bootstraps. It represents a lot of firsts for me. It was my first attempt at building something, at attracting an audience, and at writing regularly. I’m still proud of it, but don’t figure that I’ll be posting a lot of articles to it in the future, particularly because I can write about them or talk about them on Trivial Warfare.

Still, every once in a while something happens that just doesn’t fit what I’m doing on the other show. That’s what happened this weekend and I want to share it with you because it really touched my heart and reminded me of an old lesson. Read the rest of this entry

Relating to Your Children

Snape’s Memory

I was rereading Harry Potter: the Order of the Phoenix recently when a scene made an impression on me in a way that it hadn’t before. It was the scene where Harry was able to see Snape’s memories of getting humiliated by Harry’s father and god-father when they were fifteen year olds in school. In the story the scene impacted Harry profoundly. It made him question his unwavering faith in the goodness of his idols and better understand Snape’s experience.

This reached me in a new way because I’ve become a father of my own little boy since the last time that I read the book. I thought about what Sebastian might see if he could view my life as a fifteen year old in school. What if the scene was of my worst moment from the viewpoint of someone who had reason to hate me? That’s an ugly little thought isn’t it? The problems surrounding me as a teenager were as numerous as the stars in the sky on a country night. I can scarcely remember a moment that I could point to and use an example of the life I want him to experience.

Frankly, it didn’t get much better over time. Littered throughout the first 25 years of my life are situations and examples that I don’t want my son to have to deal with. It’s interesting how far removed Sebastian will be from that. He was born when I was 36, 11 years after I started making significant strides towards maturity. The confident and capable person that he will experience as I raise him shares very little in common with the person I was before growing up.

That’s what got me thinking. I know I’m not the only one with a past that I’m not proud of that is working towards much better future. But how does that impact our kids? Most of us don’t want to talk much about our embarrassing pasts, least of all to the child that we want looking up to us as they grow older. But maybe that’s just what they need. I feel that quite a lot of the angst and anger that seems to come naturally from the teenage years has its roots in feeling misunderstood and frustrated. How much more meaningful would our advice be if our kids understood where we are really coming from. If they see that we have actually walked down these paths before and have meaningful advice for them based on experience. It’s very difficult for a teen to receive that advice from a boring old parent who doesn’t know what it’s like to go through the things that they are going through. I wager that it’s much easier for them to receive if its coming from a parent who can show that they empathize based on experience.

As I work on being the father that I want to be I hope that this lesson stays with me. There will come a point when he’s 15 and I’m 51 and he will be engaging in behavior that I dislike. I hope that I can still relate to my past and relay my experiences at that point into a meaningful tapestry of experience that he can relate to even if he doesn’t agree with what I’m saying.

Adoption Miracle pt. 2 – The Miracle

This is part 2 of my friend Christy’s wonderful adoption story. If you haven’t read part 1 yet I encourage you to start there. You’ll find it here.

With no further ado – here’s part 2.

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I came home from Disney World and began to research adoption.  I couldn’t believe how overwhelming it was!  Information overload.  OVER. Load.  It was difficult to know where to start.  I wrote down my questions and started making phone calls based on random internet leads.  I spoke with a kind woman who answered my questions and gave me additional information I needed but didn’t know I should ask.  She was the first of many angels sent to us throughout this journey.  She set us on the path towards a homestudy—the process that evaluates us to determine if we’re worthy in the eyes of the State. Read the rest of this entry

Adoption Miracle pt. 1 – The Decision

There are few things in the world that I find quite as beautiful as adoption. At its core adoption gives a child a chance to be raised in a loving home with parents that are overjoyed at the chance to love them and sacrifice for them. This is indescribably better for the child than growing up in an orphanage or being raised by parents who aren’t in a position to accept the responsibility. This is a game changer for these kids and the whole world benefits when kids are raised by loving, engaged parents.

Recently some friends were blessed with an adoption miracle of their own. I’m ECSTATIC for them. I asked if they would be willing to share their story and they were gracious enough to say yes. The story below is part one of a two part story written by my friend Christy that will grab your heart and bless you. Some details have been removed to protect those involved but the story is just as powerful without them.

One last note – if you have an adoption miracle of your own that you would like to share with the world it would be my great honor to publish it for you. These are the most beautiful stories in the world and I would love nothing more than to publish a vast collection of stories that could be used as a reference for others who are thinking about adoption.

God Bless – Jonathan Read the rest of this entry

My Name Is Earl (Mea Culpa)

I never watched My Name Is Earl, but I think I have a handle on the concept. It’s the story of a man who regrets the things that he did in his past because of the long term consequences of those actions. So he’s going from person to person that he’s hurt in various ways to apologize. I bet we all have people that we’d like to apologize to or things that we’d like to apologize for. One of the things that keeps us from doing it is the embarrassment and shame that we feel for how we acted. After writing this blog for over a year I have a confession to make. I have no shame left. It’s actually quite liberating to lose your fear of condemnation. I highly recommend it. With that in mind, I’d like to share my Earl list.

I need to start with a carte blanche apology to just about everyone who has ever known me. This is especially applicable to parents, teachers, family and friends throughout my life. I’m sorry for being such a smart ass. It seems to stem from insecurity. Sometimes I did it to make myself look smart and make you feel dumb so that you could see how smart I must be. I didn’t know it at the time, but that’s the truth of it. I’m sorry. Other times I would do it to get attention and try to be funny. This was a pain for the people around me, especially if they weren’t in the mood or it was an inappropriate time or place. In fact, my efforts to get a laugh probably hurt more people than all of the other things I’ve done combined. I’m sorry. Read the rest of this entry

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