Musings on Birth Order, Nostalgia, and My Love/Hate Relationship With Social Media

I assume that all men in their 40’s can recite most of the lines from Airplane, Vacation, and Caddyshack.

“Sit down Waldo!”, of course, is from Van Halen’s “Hot For Teacher” video.

Eddie Murphy singing Roxanne in 48 Hours…..enough said.

Monty Python’s “Upper Class Twit of the Year” is quite possibly the greatest six minutes of comedy in the history of mankind.

And everybody should know about the history of American sport, right?  Like the 1982 AFC championship (Bengals vs Chargers) played in -60 degree windchill.

freezer bowl

But my wife reminds me quite often that everybody isn’t a 40-something male.  Life and its conversations really aren’t just one big Lynyrd Skynyrd song.

My feeble nostalgia based attempts at conversation startups earn me “the look”, as in “why don’t you have this conversation with your brother or someone who knows what the heck you’re talking about”.

So when I snap a picture of a Gwar song on an XM display as a Beavis and Butthead reference, where else do I go to find those six people out of 1,400 friends that actually know that Beavis went bonkers when a Gwar video came on?


Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, of course.  I don’t want to change people’s political views or even find people that agree with me or think my pictures are cute.  Sometimes I just wanna connect with people that can name the original three actresses on Charlies Angels without using Google.

Ask for people’s favorite Saturday morning cartoon from the 70’s, worst sit-com from the 80’s, or best music videos ever made………and you will have a colorful conversation with folks that you don’t normally hear from.

I don’t long for the past but it’s nice to talk about it and have others stir memories of things that may have slipped away.

I primarily like social media because there is no time limit.  Long periods of silence are just awkward in person (it just takes me a long time to answer people).

I can come across as sort of interesting on Facebook (my wife doesn’t get jazzed about  1978 UK basketball references……but she does marathons and builds loft beds for our son on her day off work……so she really is quite interesting).  I know you were beginning to pity her so I better clear that up.


Birth order.  Kids under 10, parents can post pictures and tell stories about them without getting in trouble.  Middle school and high school kids require child’s consent before using their likeness or antics for public broadcast.  1) Because we embarrass our kids with stupid stuff and overkill and 2) because adults take just a little “gathered” information and twist it around and blab it back to our kids and make us look bad.  I take liberties about using my college freshmen daughter for a lot of blogging life illustrations because she is a fellow blogger and closet philosopher like me (not because my two middle kids aren”t awesome too).

“Karrick, people don’t have any idea what you’re talking about.”  Sometimes I guess not.

But it’s really cool sometimes to have that one person that always seems to get what you’re saying, even when no words are spoken.   (Besides my wife of course)

My 18 year-old had the advantage of growing up without smart phones and social media for the most part.   Sure, she uses them now, but probably 10% as much as mom, dad, brothers, and sister.

Everybody writes about it, so I won’t go into detail here.  But the overuse and overattention to handheld devices is a serious problem that parents should not overlook.  Parents and kids alike are guilty of burying their nose in their devices and ignoring the people that they share a room with.  I worry about my 8 year-old because of the abundance and appeal of technology that’s been available for his entire life (my older kids just had a GameCube at his age).

My job is in a retail business.  If I have a customer in my presence I will not even consider taking a phone call.

The person in my presence has more value than the person on the phone (I can call them back).

Why should I not apply this to my family life.  Whoever I share a room with deserves my attention more than a Facebook or Twitter feed, Instagram, etc.  Put down the smart phone and laptop.  Limit their use and encourage your kids to do the same.  Of course, I’m guilty as charged (and by writing this, I paint myself in a corner and force myself to change my own habits).

To wrap this up…….what happens with the kid who grew up missing out on the app crazy world of today?  She pays attention to her surroundings, doesn’t have to overcome the handicap of “distraction”.

And she gets what her crazy dad is saying, even when no words are being spoken.

Our family of six is traveling down the highway and road construction barrels make it difficult (but not impossible) to avoid driving directly on the noisy rumble strips.  My wife hates it when I drive excessively on rumble strips (and also when I leave windshield wipers on long after the rain has stopped).

Children 2, 3, 4, and wife all seem to be distracted, possibly with phones and a DS.  The extended roar of the rumble strips brings a quiet chuckle from the back seat.  “Macy, are you laughing because you know I’m doing that just to get under your mom’s skin?”


Hysterical laughter from both of us now.  Everybody else missed it.   As long as I have an audience of one, I guess I will keep on speaking in crazy code.  I just need to do a better job of teaching others how to crack the code so they will be in on the next joke.

Are the things that grab your attention today the things that will hold value for you and for loved ones tomorrow?  Twenty years from now?



Don’t Forget to Play Video Games With the Kids…….Seriously


This was supposed to be a piece about lessons learned as a dad in the nine years that separated the births of my oldest daughter and my youngest son.

I had points to make about second chances to get things right.  Opportunities I surely wouldn’t miss the second time around.  Overreactions and blowups that wouldn’t repeat themselves.

One thing is certain.  With older siblings aged 18, 16, and 15, I have become very comfortable in my role as  a dad with 8 year-old Kal.  I have relaxed more and simply enjoyed the moments of being his dad.  There is peace that comes from experience as a parent and a maturing trust in God.

But a funny thing happened on my way to writing about lessons learned by a veteran dad.  I learned another big lesson.

Kal accidentally let me know that he probably hasn’t enjoyed me as a dad as much as his brother and sisters have.  Sure,  my role as a father isn’t to just have fun and be the good guy all the time.  The balance between rules and relationships is a delicate one that parents should not neglect maintaining.

But when parents try to maximize quality time and quantity time together with their kids in the middle of busy schedules, moments of simply enjoying one another’s company need to be actively sought.


What was my offense?

Simply forgetting history and failing to get a clear picture of the present.

Words innocently spoken by my son, “Dad you remember that ONE time you played Wii U with me?  That was really fun”.   Not too bad on the surface, but underneath it smells really bad.

Today’s kids prefer apps on Ipods over console games.  Why is this even important?

Because I spent enormous amounts of what would be classified as “quantity time” with my three older kids when they were ages 5-12 just goofing off playing Nintendo64, Gamecube, and Wii.

TOGETHER, we conquered Zelda, Lego Star Wars (3 editions), Mario, Smash Brothers, and Animal Crossing.  And yes, there were countless hours spent hammering out music TOGETHER on 5 versions of Guitar Hero and Rock Band.

Looking back, what I thought was quantity time turned out to be time of the highest quality with my kids.  Times when our worlds came together easily.  Those moments aren’t easy to come by as they get older.

Just to set the record straight, I despise having kids stay in a room alone to play video games or playing inside instead of outside.

Be aware of too many precious hours spent “doing your thing” while your kids are doing theirs.  And be aware of taking the easy way out as a parent simply because older siblings “occupy” younger siblings time so well at times.


We only have so many days and so many hours to influence our children and the direction their lives take.  We must be in their presence, in both mind and body, to have a meaningful impact.

Realize that times change.  Parents spend too much time with a laptop or cellphone in their line of vision.  Kids spend too much time occupying themselves with Ipods and Ipads.

Get your kids in your line of vision.  And look at the same things they’re looking at.

I just need to convince Kal that I actually can play games with him.  Apparently he’d made some efforts for me to join him and was left with the impression that I was an incompetent gamer.  I guess I told him to ask his brother to be his partner or for answers way too many times.

I spent too much time trying to come up with BIG quality time adventures that he wasn’t interested in.

Kal just wanted to play WiiU with his dad.  Those were great times for him.  He told me so.

Bring your worlds together while you can.

Time together IS quality time.