Monday, February 10, 2014

Daddy-Daughter Dance Forces Me to Practice What I Preach!

Ok, so two things about me are important for this week's post: First and foremost, I'm a dad to four Fantastic kids! Secondly, I'm always preaching to you guys about the importance of being aware of your self-talk and the impact that has on your feelings. Well...we all slip up sometimes, and I had a bit of a slip-up this weekend at my daughter's Daddy-daughter dance. I must admit, I, like many parents, tend to think of my kids as the tiny little babies that we first brought home. Ok, sure, it gets a bit strange for them when I still try to pick them up and carry them "cradle-the-baby-style", especially my oldest, who has 3-4 inches on me in height! But come on! Can you really blame me? Most of the things a couple decides to bring home stay pretty much the same size over the years! (Consider all the discussion that goes into selecting just the right French-door refrigerator!). But kids keep insisting on growing!  Here they are just this past Summer:

Super cute, right? (I'm not really asking, I was presuming your thought so ;)  Notice how young and sweet they look. Pay particular attention to my one and only daughter, Sabrina. She's 10-years-old in this shot and just as sweet as can be!

   Now, while they are all seriously great young people with really admirable characters, we're going to focus on Sabrina for this post. (Here she is at 10 again:
She's my little girl. My only little girl. Oh yes! That means something! And while I recognize the importance and value of gender equality, I also recognize that I think of my daughter a bit differently. It's funny to me when people say that for parents, girls are so much easier to raise than boys! Uuummm, ok. I'm not feeling ya. Think of all the real additional challenges that she will have to face simply by virtue of her gender.  Ever since the drive home with Sabrina from the hospital, things were different. For starters, I almost ripped the stereo out of the dashboard as it finally hit home for me how pop music talks about girls/women! (You wanna do WHAT to my little girl!!?!!)  A serious sense of responsibility to shelter and protect her slammed down on me with a vengeance!  And therein lies a delimma.  While I want to protect and shelter her; while I want to give her everything she wants, I also want her to be prepared for this world that she'll be a part of. I want her to grow into the kind of woman that she can be proud of.  I want her to grow up strong, independent, self sufficient, and with an indelible sense of her own value! I want her to know that her character, intellect, drive, and heart are her finest qualities and that they are hers alone! I also want her to know that she will never need to derive her sense of value from someone else! In short, I want her to grow up to be like her mother.  

So how do I raise a strong young woman while inside all I want to do is pamper her? I'll tell you. It's by purposefully and deliberately checking myself. By making sure that I'm not committing all of the thinking errors that I've been discussing in this blog.  So what happened this weekend? How did the "slip-up" occur? It was all because of the gosh-darn song by Bob Carlisle, Butterfly Kisses!! That song had never bothered me before. NEVER! 

So here's what happened. Sabrina and I attended her Daddy-Daughter Dance on Saturday night. I was floored from the start by how beautiful and grown-up my 11-year-old little girl looked! (You can see for yourself...

Yep, she almost as tall as I am!

Things go incredibly well at the dance. We went out to dinner first and I was so proud of how she carries herself! We went with another Daddy-daughter couple who we like a lot! So the whole evening was pretty rockin! Then they announce the last dance. It's that darned song! It started out fine. Sabrina is an excellent dancer! Then I start listening to the lyrics. I'm picturing my little girl. And, in my mind, she's this tiny little thing, and that's when it hits me. I realize that as we dance, she's resting her head on my shoulder, just like when she was a baby, only now, she doing it while standing on the floor! The irrational self-statements go absolutely BALLISTIC then! I'm basically telling myself that she's already out of the house and in a career, maybe with a family of her own! I feel like I'm having a panic attack! Sabrina looks up into my eyes and says, "Daddy, are you crying?"  "I'm okay, Sweetie" I tell her. But then she begins to cry, too!  

Eventually, and thankfully, the blasted song ends and Sabrina gives me a great big hug and tells me she'll always be my little girl. And though I know she'll grow up into an amazing woman, I believe her. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Common Sense is Really Not All That Common At All!

     "Everybody knows that!" This is a statement that I heard my son make an one evening when we were sitting down for dinner. And the interesting thing about this is he was acting as though he was sort of annoyed that one of his brothers didn't know this thing that he thought that "everybody knows".  This is something that I find we do all too often. The thing that comes to mind when I consider this social phenomenon is the problem of common sense.  One way that common sense is defined is: 
  "Sound practical judgment that is independent of specialized knowledge, training, or the like; normal native intelligence."
and this conceptualization of common sense is evident throughout history and literature:
"Common sense is in spite of, not as the result of education." 
Victor Hugo 
"Common sense is the measure of the possible; it is composed of experience and prevision; it is calculation applied to life." 

 Henri Frederic Amiel 

 "I have great confidence in the common sense of mankind in general."

Thomas Jefferson 

"Common sense is genius stressed and its working clothes." 

 Ralph Waldo Emerson

But I believe George Seaton said it best when he said, "Faith is believing in something even when common sense tells you not to."  We are so used to thinking of common sense as though it where a universal answer! Yet when we think it through, we recognize that an overreliance on common sense leads us to fail to recognize the value of sense that is common to people outside our own experience. 
This is one of the ways that we mislead ourselves. We are so convinced that common sense is this thing that we should all share.  Yet, we fail to realize what commonsense is actually based upon. Common sense is only common in so far as it is consistent with the experiences that we have had. Our common sense does not extend beyond what we've been exposed to, beyond what we, ourselves, have experienced.  Therefore, common sense is not so common at all! Consider this, if I've spent my entire childhood traveling all over the world with my family, to me, common sense would suggest that many people speak different languages and have different cultures. If, on the other hand, I've spent my entire life in, say, a small town in rural America, common sense might tell me that everyone speaks the language that I speak and knows the creeks and trails that I walked throughout my childhood. Why might I think that? Because that is my experience! That is all I know! And if I talk to my neighbor, or the kid I rode to school with, or that really nice lady at church, they would all know the same things. Therefore, it might seem like "common sense", but in reality, it is not necessarily common at all.  We convince ourselves that, because we live and breathe these things every day, that it is an absolute truth! But truth goes far beyond our limited experience. And like my son at the dinner table, we have an expectation that people share our common sense, and when they do not, they are somehow less-than

That being said, let's identify this as Thinking Error #8: Our common sense is not necessarily so common

You might wonder how I explained to my son he would do well to stop supposing that everyone shares sense that is common to him. I actually used the example that I read in a text book by David Myers. Dr. Myers suggested that you try this exercise. He said imagine that you could fold a sheet of paper in half 100 times.  And he asked how thick would it be. The average sheet of notebook paper is one .1 mm thick. What would common sense tell you? Would it tell you that you should multiply .1×100? Nope. That wouldn't do it. Remember, you are continuing to fold the product in half until you've done it 100 times! Common sense would go on to tell you that it is impossible to fold a sheet of paper in half 100 times. You see? Because is it something outside our experience, we have trouble even visualizing it! The answer? Somewhere in the neighborhood of 800,000,000,000,000 times the distance between the earth and the sun! Hey some that is almost unimaginable! Which means it is beyond our common sense. So, despite the fact that Dr. Phil McGraw would tell us that "common sense needs to be more common", I encourage us to move beyond common sense. This will allow us to be open to understanding that is outside our immediate experience, knowledge that goes beyond what we've been exposed to, and insight that will enrich our lives.

Dr. Saz

***** If you have questions, comments, or challenges please feel free, no, feel encouraged, to post in the comments section below! Oh, I accept positive feedback, too! I'm just kind like that. 😉