February 26, 2015

Lessons from my dad

Have your parents ever given you really good advice?  Have they helped you to be a better parent by telling stories that your kids could relate to?  I recently had one of those experiences. My son had lacrosse tryouts, and he is uber focused (Uber – my next rant different context), on perfection.  The pressure he puts on himself to be great, is unrealistic and unhealthy.  His mind starts wandering to all of the possible scenarios that could take place, instead of focusing on the goal, which is to make the team.  I was trying to find a way to explain to him that his attitude will make or break him.  I told him to clean out all of the “junk” in his brain and hit “the reset button”, like he does in the video game, Call of Duty (fine, another rant).  I was unsuccessful in my method.

The next day I was on the phone with my father when told me a story that put it all into perspective.  When he was in high school, he played football in a “working man’s” town in Boston, where the big event each weekend was going to watch the high school football game.  The stadium was always packed, because football was the only thing to do.  Basically, if you played football, you were “the man”.  And if you hung around town, its all people were talking about.

One Friday, his team was playing their rival and it was a tie.  It was the end of the game and the running back for the other team had blown by the entire defense on my father’s team. The only thing standing in between winning or losing the game, was my father’s ability to take down the running back (he played safety).  This isn’t Hollywood and he wasn’t the hero.  The running back blew past my dad who lost the tackle, and his team lost the game.  He had let down the entire town, his team and his coach. And the worst part (according to my father), was that the team would be watching film later that week, and going over that play, again and again.  His anxiety for film night, and re-living that moment, felt like someone repeatedly stabbing him in the heart.

But on film night, his coach got to the infamous play, paused the film, and said this to my father: “Ed, it’s not what God does, but what you ask of Him that will determine your course in life.  You can look at that running back and say please God, send him the other direction and I’ll be there to support whoever else has to make the tackle, or you can say, please God, send him directly to me because I’m going to take him down and win this game”.  And then, just like that, the coach moved onto the next play.  According to my father, it was the most significant advice that anyone had ever given him in his life.   “It’s not what God does, but what we ask of Him”.   My interpretation is that you can look at any situation, like this weekend’s tryouts, and think of about 100 reasons why you wont’ make the team.  You start going over the odds, you name all of the kids that are better than you or have been playing longer, it’s an early tryout and you’ll be tired, the weather stinks, and the list goes on.  Or you can ask God to “Bring it” because you’re going to beast mode this tryout and scare the heck out of every kid there.

As a parent, we constantly look for ways to make life easier for our kids.  I think there’s a term for it, where you knock down barriers before your kid ever has to experience them.  Maybe it’s a bulldozer parent?  I told my son this story before his tryout, and I think it clicked.  Instead of asking God for my son to make the team, I will ask God to help my son have the courage to know what to ask for.  Did he clear the “junk” and ask God to bring it?  Who knows?  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this parenting job is no joke.

Email me at www.randiccrawford@gmail.com.

February 10, 2015

I just don't get it...

I’m not going to write about #deflategate after the fact, because that’s yesterday’s news.  But I’m compelled to write this article.  My husband has the strongest set of values of anyone I’ve ever known.  I’m certain, that if I did something illegal, he’d be the first person to report me to the police.  He’s just “that guy”.  For fairness purposes, you should also know that his favorite NFL team is the Patriots.  It’s a toss up between the Pats, the Celtics and the Red Sox, but let’s just say he drinks the Boston kool-aid.  The last part of this puzzle is that I’ve never liked the Patriots.  And more specifically, I’m not a fan of Tom Brady.  Needless to say, it doesn’t make for pleasant dinner conversation.

When “#deflategate” went down, I didn’t rub it in his face, but I did ask him about it.  I didn’t get much of a response and didn’t push.  I waited a few weeks, did my own research, and then cycled back around.  It took two whole weeks for my husband to actually say the words out loud, “I think Tom Brady and Bill Belichick knew about the balls.  Nothing happens on that team that Belichick doesn’t know about”.  I almost passed out.  For him to admit that his team did anything wrong is nothing short of a miracle.  Naturally I asked what their punishment should be and this is where “I just don’t get it”.  My husband, with his unbreakable values, doesn’t think it was a big deal.   To quote him, “The punishment needs to fit the crime”.  And in his mind, the Pats crushed the Colts and would have done it with or without deflated balls.  Hmmm.  You see to me, they cheated. And while I know that it’s incredibly naïve to think that the Colts should move up and play in the Super Bowl, I simply can’t understand how my husband, and frankly all the Pats fans, doesn’t seem to have a problem with the fact that they deflated the balls which makes it easier to catch and throw the ball, period.  I realize that the Patriots didn’t need deflated balls to win the game, so why did they do it?  I know that nobody has stepped forward and admitted to deflating the balls, but you’d have to be pretty naïve to think that 11 out of 12 balls just mysteriously deflated on their own?  And more importantly, why are there no consequence?  As parents, we use sports to teach life lessons, so can someone tell me what is this lesson?

During our conversation about it, he brought up “George Brett’s corked bat” that Gaylord Perry took away from a Royals game against the Yankees, and the steroid controversy with the baseball players.  Does this make it right?  He argued that the NFL is a business and that they were probably elated to have the Pats playing with their huge fan base.  Who is this guy? 

I’m curious.  Do you believe that professional athletes have a responsibility to the people who pay to come see them?  Remember the infamous Nike ad, “I am not a role model.  I am not paid to be a role model.  I’m paid to wreak havoc on the court.  Parents should be role models.  Just because I dunk a basketball, doesn’t mean that I should raise your kids”.

I knew that ad never felt right, but after having kids of my own, I’m blown away.  Kids look up to athletes on and off the “court/field”.  We watch “our teams” play every week; we buy tickets to go to the games, purchase jerseys and the shoes the athlete supports.  I haven’t even mentioned the video games we buy (Madden, NBA, Fifa, etc.), and we sign up our own kids to play these sports.  It’s safe to say that sports are a huge part of our culture and a phenomenal way to teach our kids values, sportsmanship, and how to be a good competitor.  So when the Pats deflate 11 out of 12 balls, what are we saying to our kids about winning? 

What say you? Email me at www.randiccrawford@gmail.com.

January 26, 2015

Liv's Playboy Mansion Party...

Doesn’t that sound adorable?  (I’m vomiting in my mouth a little).  Have you heard about the “Poway Playboy Daddy, who threw a “Playboy” themed party for his18 year-old daughter?  According to several sources, there were 200 kids, and a large portion of them came dressed in “Playboy Bunny” attire.  (see pictures on Instagram).

I just have to ask: Who in the hell has a Playboy themed party for an 18 year-old unless they’re some type of pervert?  I’ll go one step further – what type of parent let’s their daughter attend a party where she has to show up in a little teeny bunny outfit?  What parent possibly thinks this is okay?  Sometimes I forget that we are living in a “Kim Kardashian world”.  Translation – body image, big boobs, round tushies and selfies are the name of the game.  Why wouldn’t a teenager want to attend a party flaunting her sassy self and then posting it all over social media?

So here’s where the party gets especially egregious.  The dad was serving minors alcohol.  If you don’t believe me, you can see the beer cans in their yard (again, those smart teens posted pictures all over the web).  I hope you’ve read enough of my articles to know that by smart, I mean entitled, dumb, and arrogant.  Not only does this dad have young girls running around his house with their cleavage hanging out, he’s mixing and serving the kids alcoholic drinks.  I’m shocked that any parent would put a kids’ life in danger like this.  I honestly cannot wrap my brain around serving alcohol to minors.  Our daughter just started high school and if I’ve heard this once, I’ve heard it a thousand times – “Randi, you know that you have to lock up the liquor cabinet once your kids start high school.  You will find yourself doing things like marking the bottles, and you won’t be surprised when the lines moves.  No matter how well you think you know the kids, or how good they are, they will drink your liquor”.   I get it kids make bad choices.  But a 48 year-old father has to know better, right?

I love it when parents argue that they prefer if their kid drinks at home where they can contain and monitor it.  But we aren’t talking about a sip of wine or a taste of beer.  That’s amateur hour compared to hosting a “teen rager”, serving kids, and then letting them get in their car and drive home. Did this dad have any understanding at all, of how detrimental and serious the consequences are of trying to be the “cool parent”? 

The “mom” was the former PTA president as well as participating on a MADD committee  – and here’s her tweet to her daughter, “Happiest Birthday to the baddest b**** in town.  Now don’t get arrested.  Love you madly.  #liontamer.”  Are you freaking kidding me?  Is this nut job re -living her high school years?  Her horribly entitled daughter, Liv then tweeted out, “Huge thanks to everyone who was able to be a part of last night! I hope you all had a damn good time and that you’re all okay and safe.”  And this is after her father was brought in and faces 6 months in jail. Nice empathy for her dad?  This family is one hot mess, and a very sad representation of our society.  And who came up with the 6 months?  I don’t think 6 years is enough.  Any parent that serves alcohol to a minor should pay big.  They should put a scarlet letter S in his yard for STUPID.   They should tattoo the letter S to his forehead so he can look in the mirror, everyday, and remember the night he almost killed 200 innocent kids whose lives were in his hands.  Playboy Daddy, did I mention he’s an attorney?  If someone can come up with a way to dole out common sense, please tell me.  We have really hit rock bottom when this becomes the norm.

What say you?  Email me at www.randiccrawford.com.

January 13, 2015

Aspen, then and now

Our family went to Colorado for Christmas, and had one heck of a time getting home.  The irony of our travel ordeal is perfectly wrapped around what made the trip feel so different this year.  Growing up, skiing was a very different experience.  The lifts were for 2 people and went extremely slowly up the mountain. The lines to get on the lift could be as long as an hour and so most of the adults wore those leather Bota bags filled with red wine around their neck to stay sane.  It was a much more social experience.  We had a family of 5, and therefore, someone always had to ride “single”.  My older sister loved going with strangers, and somehow she knew their entire life story by the time they reached the top of the lift.  I loved skiing in big groups of people that we met and accumulated on the lift line. My father worked around the clock, so when we took a family vacation, we were the first people on mountain, and the last one’s off.  We took 2 twenty- minute breaks for hot chocolate a Hershey bar, and fries.  There was never any democracy about which run to take, or how long we should stay out. I hesitate even calling it a vacation!

Today, skiing (and snowboarding) is entirely different.  There are 4 and 6 person, high- speed chairs all over the mountain.  Translation: nobody is waiting on lines for more than 5 minutes anymore.  No one ever has to ride “single” and meet new people because they are the odd man out.  You get in so much more skiing, that by noon you’re generally toast.  But here’s what you don’t get with all the new high speed lifts.  Nobody is sharing their wine or talking to each other on lift lines, because the lines go too quickly.  There is much less camaraderie on the mountain, because people come in big groups, stick together and don’t deviate.

This brings me to my travel day(s) from hell.  The entire week we were gone, it snowed (woohoo).  There was no visibility and the snow was fantastic.  The weather was so precarious; that most of the kid’s Christmas gifts never even made it to Colorado.  But the day we were leaving to come home, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and any concerns we had about leaving, were off the table.  (Travelling in and out of Aspen has always been an issue).  Apparently, so many planes were unable to get into Aspen the night before, that it pushed commercial planes out of their assigned “slot”.  What did this mean for my family? 40 private planes flew out of Aspen, while only 3 commercial flights took off that afternoon.  Nope, I wasn’t on any of the three.  I won’t take you through our 12 hours sitting on the floor of the airport near the men’s restroom so we could “juice” our cell phones, or our 2- day ordeal to get home, but this is the “new Aspen”. 

Here it is: Large groups of people fly in on their private jets; stay at private homes and have private chefs.  They shop at Gucci, Moncler and James Perse (all stores they could find in any major city), which have taken the place of the A frame stores that were unique to Aspen.  It used to be that even if you had money, you flew in on a commercial airline, first -class, but you were somehow connected with everyone else.  You saw each other on a flight, and then met them the next day on the mountain.  It was friendly.  Today we are all so isolated. 

What was once a very social community of like -minded people enjoying the slopes has turned into a place where people don’t want to be bothered with anything except how many runs they can squeeze in.  When people are at the lodge, all they do is look down at their cell phone, or stalk your table so they can grab a seat.  Call me old fashioned, but I’ll take the longer lift lines and a little more camaraderie.  I want my kids to connect with people around them, and each day all we do is become more and more distant from each other.  Skiing is just one of so many examples around us.

What say you?  Email me at www.randiccrawford@gmail.com.