Who Will Raise Your Kids Since It Won’t Be You?

Child play

I can only imagine the guilt and pain that comes every day a mother or sometimes a father drops their young children at a daycare facility where people they barely know care for their off spring. People that seldom have more than a high school education, and seldom have much life experience beyond high school because day care workers tend to be young. The times when the young ones cling to their mommy and/or daddy and plead “Do you have to work today?” has to be one of the most heart retching experience any parent must face. This is hard and made harder by the knowledge it’s not necessary if the parent makes the right decisions and displays courage. Our experience with AdvoCare has presented to me lots of examples of parents who no longer have both parents working out of the home and entrusting the raising of their kids to some other mostly unknown persons.

Paques01

The importance of being present for your kids is one my wife and I learned early on. And I’m proud to say our kids saw virtually no time in daycare. Being there for your kids is a gift to them you can never give at a later time. That’s why it’s called a “present”. My beautiful wife and I have raised three kids. Though using the past-tense is a little premature since 1) Our youngest is just now entering high school, and 2) Do you ever finish raising your kids? But we have “raised” our kids past the age of any needed daycare. I’m proud of the decisions we made to sacrifice the extra income and status that could have come from working outside the home and leaving the responsibility of raising children to those whose values may not be ours.

Let’s start by stating what must be said. I am sympathetic to the argument that parents only do this because they must. I’m sympathetic not because the statement is true but because it is so common and thought to be true and too many people have fallen into the false belief that no options exist to allow for reasonable, mature adults to bypass the daycare lie and spend the necessary 10-18 years giving of themselves the most valuable community gesture they can. All of society benefits from a well-raised child. And every study over many years and common sense shows that kids raised with at least one parent in the home are far better adjusted and far less likely to travel down dark paths as they grow into adulthood. And such kids are far more likely to be successful as adults and possess the positive values instilled by parents who were present.

LYS87girls

And to the hyperventilating Liberal haters out there who will falsely claim I’m just advocating a 1950s society where the little woman is the care taker of the kids and subservient to the husband I say quite loudly SHUT UP. YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT. In my house it was me who was home with the kids, most of the time. We became parents October 31, 1987 and in the 26 years since my wife has usually worked 40+ hour per week jobs outside the house. I too worked 40+ hours per week, and continue to do so. But I either worked out of the home or in jobs that had me home by early to mid-afternoon before kids returned home from school. For about 2-3 years before my son was old enough we had a Nanny come into our home even though our combined incomes were only middle-class. But even during this time I was still home early in the afternoon before my oldest daughter got home from school. Since opening our audio and video production company Total Broadcasting Service in 2005 we’ve twice tried to bring Mommy home only to find the lost outside income and health benefits she had while working for someone else too much to overcome. The result- I coached my sons and daughters in softball, baseball, soccer, football, and basketball. I, thus, got to know their friends and the Moms and Dads of their friends. I saw to it that they got to their homework after school and that they didn’t come home to an empty house. They were safe and happy.

Your kids deserve the opportunity to be kids. They deserve the opportunity to sleep until they wake, instead of being woke at the crack of dawn, hustled to the car and driven to that house or daycare facility and hurriedly left in the hands of someone who isn’t mom or dad. Wouldn’t your kids eat better when you’re preparing their fresh fruits and vegetables for snacks and parts of meals than day after day of mass-produced mac & cheese? When they fall down and cry wouldn’t their boo-boo be best nurtured by Mom or Dad than by someone who needs to quickly put them down in order to tend to someone else’s child?

And since day care is so darned expensive just how much is gained by parents not being there? According to the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) the cost of daycare for infants and toddlers is $300-$1564 per month (and I don’t even want to think about the $300 places. YIKES!). The state of Washington, where I live, is the seventh most expensive state in the U.S. for infant-toddler care at over $10,000 per year. In 2012 the average working woman made only $35,000. So, in a 2-income household the average working woman was leaving care and raising for her youngest kids for an extra $25,000 or less. Probably more like $20,000 when the unnecessary expense of gas and car maintenance and mileage, as well as eating out are subtracted.

Could you work at home part-time, raise your own kids, and make $20,000? With Advocare you definitely can. Again using myself as an example we’re working a plan that will have us earning $12,000 in our first year representing Advocare’s high quality health, nutrition and weight loss products. And we have only been able to devote about 5 hours per week to the effort. Naturally we expect that will grow in year two. Our friends and mentors started with AdvoCare almost four years ago and worked it on a more full-time basis and earned $60,000 their first year, and over $166,000 in their third. Could you raise your kids on $60,000 per year? How about $166k? And consider this, are you in a job where you could realistically expect to grow your income to $60k annually in 3 years? How about $166k? Most people will say no.

And we’ve found the “selling” of Advocare easy. And so will you. It really comes down to using the products. My wife and I lost over 100 pounds combined in 8 months using the 24 Day Challenge and Advocare products thereafter. After using the products, you simply tell people of your experience and encourage them to try them too. How hard is that? What makes it even easier is that Advocare provides you with an incredible training program that should you choose to participate, listen and follow will make success and a good income inevitable. You can do this.

Your kids would want you to. Your kids want you to be healthy and to have the energy and the time to devote to them. And that’s what you want too. Like all things it will require you to try. You must try. If you don’t try you’re guaranteed to fail. Simple.

Call me to learn more: 425-687-0100.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

Click to go to our AdvoCare website.

Click to go to our AdvoCare website.

Conflicting Feelings For a Parent.

Your author, step-mother Terri, my Dad Jerry Schuett, and brother Jeff.

I’m not the only one out there with conflicting feelings about my parents, or any specific parent. I can’t be. And this blog and other blogs I’ve written confirms this for me.

Today, had he lived my Dad would have been 75 years old. Unfortunately he was only on this planet until he was 64. At 48 years of age I can say with far more assuredness than I felt at the time of his death, that’s too damned young.

My Dad died of liver disease brought on in part by medical malpractice and in part, I’m guessing, with his life long habit of enjoying a cocktail whenever he felt like enjoying a cocktail.

Jerome Mathis Schuett was born September 26, 1937 to Delores and Shelby Schuett in Bellingham, Washington. He was born to people of moderate income and moderate everything else. Which is to say…he was born an American.

He was fiercely proud of being American, but his pride came from little effort of his own. He lived a life in which he tried to do what he wanted, when he wanted, and be damned anyone who in any way inhibited his selfish desires. He was American.

I clashed with my Dad through much of my teens and early adulthood. I never felt he was racist, but in today’s context few would say he wasn’t. He opposed me marrying a black woman. I distinctly remember jokes told in a family setting in my childhood that were racially tainted and disturbed me. But I also remember him speaking highly of people of color who impressed him. I remember him calling me Jackie Robinson for having ignored his opposition to marrying a black woman and saying, “You showed that it was all right”.

I felt he lacked ambition. And I felt a lack of respect for him because of it. But he worked for himself the last 27 years of his life, running his own business. Having done the same for the past seven years I have a new-found respect for how difficult that can be.

My Dad lost his temper far more than anyone would like. He never showed a reverence for Jesus, that I feel. My Dad seldom showed much reverence for anything that didn’t immediately serve his specific need or purpose. But he always counseled me not to hurt others. He always counseled me to NEVER start a fight, but if I did I better finish it.

It’s hard to imagine how my life would be shaped without him. But 25% of our nation is raised without a father. It’s frustrating to think of all the angry episodes he displayed for me in my formative years for all to see; and how in spite of my vow to not do the same how I have on far too many occasions done so.

What I can’t get over, what I can’t reconcile in my heart and in my mind……………………..is how much I miss him and wish he had been available to me for counsel during some of the more trying times in my life.

My Dad was an extremely flawed man. Which, I guess, means that I am likewise. Because I will never forget his death-bed. At one point when he could no longer talk I said, “I hope you’re proud of me.” Though he couldn’t speak he almost cried, and with his reaction told me all I needed to know to forgive him his many flaws, and to love him the rest of my life.

You have parents. Hopefully they are loving and free of the contradictions that cause my conflicted emotions for my father. But as I’ve written before, if he/she is there, if they are present in your life, they have fulfilled more than what more than 25% of American fathers fulfill. Be grateful. Because someday, like my friend Rob McBride told me a long time prior to my own fathers death and a short time after his own father’s death, “forgive him for your own sake. You’ll miss him/them when they’re gone.”

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

Kids Should be More Afraid of Their Parents than Police

I was watching some classic Richard Pryor last Friday night, Richard Pryor Live in Concert, when he started talking about kids.

In the segment above you see him portraying a little kid so afraid of getting in trouble with his parents that he lies to them.

In this brief segment, he talks about his parenting philosophy:

It was then that it occurred to me that Richard Pryor was wrong and his parents were right. Kids have lost their fear of their parents in this day and age. And it means kids have lost their respect for their parents too often as well.

For the record, I am not advocating BEATING your kids. On the other hand, I see nothing wrong with a spanking when appropriate and not done in anger. No parent should ever punish their child in anger. My Dad use to punish me in anger all the time and nearly 40 years later I still resent it. And if other kids are like I was, I often didn’t understand why I was being punished or why I was being punished so severely.

But on the few run-ins with law enforcement I had in my youth I can tell you I was more concerned with what my Dad would do and think than I was concerned with police or courtrooms or jail. They couldn’t hold a candle to my fear of what would happen at home.

My father never beat me. Richard Pryor talked about his Mama “kicking his ass”, but my guess is “kicking his ass” amounted to a switch across his backside. When I was little my brother and I got a wooden kitchen spoon across our bottoms when being disciplined. I did not want that! Thinking about it now and I can’t imagine such a device cause me any pain. But at the time, that spoon was terrifying.

And even the spoon was retired by the time I was 12 years old. By that age I was already taller than my Dad, so him getting physical with me was pretty limited. By age 16 it was non-existent. But that didn’t change my fear of him. Getting in trouble with my Dad was just about the worst thing I could do. Trouble with teachers, coaches and even police paled in comparison. And as it turned out, I grew into being a fairly successful man (I actually consider myself very successful because of the people in my life).

Being fearful of your parents does not mean you don’t love them and respect them. If you are a believer in The Bible numerous passages tell us to fear God. Deuteronomy 6:13 says, “It is the LORD your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear.” Ecclesiastes 5:7 says, “For when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity; but God is the one you must fear.” But numerous Biblical directives tell us to love God. Mark 12:30 says, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” And, obviously there are numerous others. A kids feelings toward their parents can and should be the same balance between fear and love.

Do parents fear disciplining their kids because their kids won’t like them? On the subject of discipline kidshealth.org writes: “If parents don’t stick to the rules and consequences they set up, their kids aren’t likely to either.”

As teenagers we all tried to get away with as much as we could with our parents. But the extent of what kids now get away seems to be far beyond what it use to be. Drug and alcohol use is up compared to 20 years ago. Teen birth rates climbed tremendously from 1940 to a peak in 1994 of 45.8 births per 1000 teens. It’s decline since then coincides directly with increased abstinence education; showing that teaching kids what they don’t want to hear actually works. Yet births to unwed mothers, many teenagers, has reached record levels.

On the positive side high school dropout rates have declined over the long-term. And teen criminal activity has also declined, at best, or remained static at worst. It depends on what you read.

I’ll be curious what statistics show about the past 3-5 years when such information is more readily available. Bad economic times can translate into bad social behavior. Whether that remains true, time will tell.

If you thought this blog was going to be about how bad things are compared with “the good ol’ days”, I’m sorry to disappoint. Education has gone a long way to overcome a lot of what ails individuals in society. But most of that education comes from better educated parents, and much of that education comes from good, loving parents unafraid to put the fear of God into their kids.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

A Father’s Love. Happy Birthday to my Son.

This kids is now 20

Do your kids know you love them? Let me rephrase and get specific. Do your adult kids know you love them? From my experience and observations its not such an easy question. Coming through the turmoil that many teens put their parents and family through hard feelings are developed and those hard feelings can and sometimes do last a lifetime. Sadly, they usually extend from child to parent and not the other way around. I know there are exceptions. But I honestly can’t imagine a father’s love dissipating because of teen troubles.

These thoughts are on my mind today as my one and only son turns 20 years old. There are lots of milestone birthday’s but to me this is THE big one. Legally we all become adults at 18 years of age, and at 21 we are legally able to drink in most states. But at twenty you leave behind the teens, the label you’ve had stuck on you for seven years, and you become in the eyes of the world…not just the law…a real adult.

Coming just over 2 weeks from Christmas I’ve always felt my wife and I didn’t adequately recognize and celebrate my son’s birthday. I regret that. And this year is no different. My son has plans. He’s 20. Of course he does. And, of course, he will the rest of his life. Our time has past.

My initial question weighs on my mind. I can’t imagine that I’m the only parent who thinks about such things. Our oldest daughter is now 24. Her challenges as a teen were shocking and remarkable for her mother and I. We really were not prepared. We did the best we could but we felt derailed and couldn’t figure out why our perfect little girl had turned into such a handful. Then it was my son’s turn. Having been close at hand and witnessing the many challenges our daughter laid before us and the whole family I really couldn’t imagine our son wanting to go through and put us through such pain. But he did. And it was not good. The arguing, the yelling, the disappointments, the crushing disappointments. It was really heart breaking.

Obviously I’m not being specific. And you don’t need to imagine two awful little tyrants (either our kids, or us parents). It doesn’t matter. Because fortunately it’s behind us. My daughter lives away from us and while we can hardly say we like everything she does. It’s OK. It’s perfectly OK. It’s her life and my love for her is eternal. My son is still in our home and is still in need of Mom and Dad, or at least our home and food. And his current life is not completely as I’d want it but like our oldest, it’s OK. Isn’t it? Isn’t it the same with your adult kids?

I can say with complete and unwavering conviction I love my kids. I would die for them. I would give all that I own for them. And when we’re apart I miss them terribly. And I’m confident they love me. So my worries aren’t deep, but because of the troubles of the past AND my own feelings toward my own failed parents…some tiny doubt remains. And that tiny doubt sucks. Am I the only one? Tell me. Do the troubles of the teens carry into hard feelings for adult kids? What is your experience?

For me, I won’t be caught off guard if the troubles return. I’ll certainly handle them better…for I still have a 13 year old daughter who at present shows no sign of going through the challenges of her siblings. But its coming. And when it does I’ll be prepared. And I’ll love her too. For a father’s love is unbreakable.

The "Schwa"

Happy birthday to my beautiful and wonderful son.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

Do YOU listen to Non-parents giving parenting advice?

The Seattle Times Editorial offered a printed hand slap to Washington State Senator Mike Baumgartner that I didn’t feel was appropriate, but got me thinking about parenting and non-parents. See what YOU think.

Official portrait of Senator (D-WA).

Washington U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell

In the Editorial “Cantwell challenger makes rookie mistake in commenting on marital status” it is written: In a fundraising letter (attacking Senator Maria Cantwell‘s position on availability of “Plan B” contraceptive pills to teens without parental consent), Baumgartner mentioned that Cantwell is unmarried and “has frequently voted to undermine the role of parents in child rearing.”

Baumgartner is a declared Republican candidate to challenge Cantwell for her Senate seat in 2012. Good luck with that, Mike. :-\

The Times goes on to ask what Cantwell’s marital status has to do with her views on the Plan B contraceptive and its availability to teens without that teens parental consent. To which I respond, it has a whole lot to do with her views. If you don’t have children you can’t possibly imagine the responsibilities, the weight of each and every day decisions, and the day-to-day challenges a parent faces.

I have had several friends over the course of the years who have chosen to go through life without kids. A couple of them come to mind on this subject. My old friend Deborah, (really a co-worker more than a friend) would never hesitate counseling my wife and I on what SHE thought should be done with any of my three kids. My kids range in age by a full 12 years youngest to oldest. So the unsolicited advice ranged from what to do about a crying baby, to how to deal with a rebellious teen. Now Deborah is a smart person but completely full of herself. And the fact that she had a college degree in “Early childhood development” was something she never failed to mention. But when Deborah or anyone else offered parenting advice I would listen, because you never know when you might luckily stumble upon a gem of a good idea. But usually I would be a little offended that a non-parent felt knowledgable enough to offer such thoughts, and I would take the advice with a grain of salt, or with the knowledge that it came from a person without a clue.

I’m a sports fan. I played football in high school. I believe myself very knowledgable about the game. But despite the fact that I had my “bell” rung a few times and had the wind knocked out of me by 150-180 pound high school opponents I can’t relate in any way to what Tom Brady goes through. Did you see the hit he took in the Denver game last week? He got blasted by Broncos D-lineman Elvis Dumervil.

English: Elvis Dumervil, a player on the Natio...

Elvis Dumervil

Dumervil is 6-foot and 260 pounds. And he runs a 4.5 second 40 yard dash. I’m almost as big as he is but if he hit me I might not get up. I can’t possibly imagine.

Most non-parents are smart enough not to offer parenting advice. It’s quite arrogant to do so and to think you can relate. Trust me, you absolutely have no idea. So I think it’s perfectly appropriate for Baumgartner to question Cantwell’s marital status and childless status when Cantwell takes political positions that take away the rights of parents.

What do you think?

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

Goodbye Dad; again.

Dad & Arica

My Dad with his first Granchild

Ten years ago tomorrow, November 30, 2001 my father died. Amongst the things I remember about this day is that Beattle George Harrison Died the previous day, but the news escaped me until the morning of my father’s passing. I also remember hearing a horrible Christmas song that morning about a young boy wanting to buy some new shoes for his dyeing mother. The song probably isn’t that bad. I guess a lot of people liked it. They made a TV movie about it. But I hated it. It always brought me back to the day I lost my Dad.

Losing my Dad was far more emotional and troubling than I would have ever predicted prior to its occurrence. I was a basket case for at least six months. I thought about him daily. And then slowly over time it got better.

At my Dad’s request he was cremated. Cheap and/or practical to the end. I bought the urn. His remains were kept in the possession of his widow. Not my Mom. She had been married to him his last 20 years beginning my Senior year in High School. Initially she talked of spreading his ashes in a couple of locations in Eastern Washington where my Dad frequently went camping in one of his RV’s (He rented RV’s for a living. So he had many over the years). But that never seemed right to me. Sadly I didn’t have a good alternative. It’s all just as well because the idea of spreading his ashes drifted away and never occurred.

My Dad’s widow died 2 months ago. I took possession of his ashes, and a few small items of his that she’d retained over the previous ten years. My office is now decorated with mallards, as my house was growing up.

Keeping his ashes in my home is not an alternative. He never saw this house. I bought it 2 years after his death. Keeping him here just wouldn’t be fitting. Fortunately I actually thought of the perfect place to spread his ashes, and that is what I am doing tomorrow

Dad's resting Place

He is where my Dad's ashes will spend eternity.

. I will drive up to Bellingham, where my father was born. Along the way I’m picking up his brother, my Uncle. Together we will drive to a favorite spot of my Dad’s along the Puget Sound waters south of the Canadian border. He spent countless days in this place as a kid. He took me and my brother to this place time and again. And in my 24 years as a father I have taken my family here innumerable times. I will dig a small hole in the beach when the tide is out, and will deposit his remains there, amongst the clams, and muscles and crab. I will then say a prayer. And then I will say goodbye Dad…again.