Not quite the right message

Ever do something that undermined the message you were trying to teach?

Right before lunch today, I took my daughter, Bailey (3 1/2 yrs old), and my two nephews (6 and 4 years) to the park at the end of the block – more like a patch of grass with a play gym on it. We had been there a few minutes when my nephews called me over to look at what they found. Bailey followed me over, and we saw a rattlesnake crawling along the wall at the side of the park.

Ah, the joys of living in the New Mexico. It really was not surprising to find the snake there, the park is right next to a stretch of open desert. It was obvious how the snake got there.

Being the good father/protector that I am, I told the kids to keep their distance. But being the free-range kids advocate that I am, I also took the opportunity to use this as a teaching moment. I explained how dangerous rattlesnakes are, pointed out the rattle, and told them how the snake uses it to make noise to warn people or other animals away when it feels threatened, but sometimes they will bite without rattling first. All the while I repeatedly warned them to stay away from rattlesnakes.

I managed to get a picture before it crawled away and out of the park.

Rattlesnake at the park.

The danger abated, we played a bit more before heading back to the house. My wife was there when we got back, and we told her about our encounter. My wife asked if the kids tried to play with it with that worried mom tone. “Of course not,” I said and gave Bailey an impromptu quiz to show the valuable life lesson she learned.

“Bailey, what do you do when you see a rattlesnake?”

My daughter furrowed her brow for a few seconds while she pondered the question. Her face lit up and I knew she figured out the answer. My fatherly pride kicked up another notch.

So what do you do when you see a rattlesnake?

“You take a picture!” Bailey announced excitedly. My wife burst into laughter.

Sigh. It easy to forget that what you do is more of an example for you kids than what you say.

The good things

This has been a good week for learning. I went to an off-site training class for work. This was a three-day class. I was expecting a corporate style class on business communication. I got so much more. It was an intense class – especially today. Maybe more on that later, but maybe not.

The good part about a class that is coming home to what it important. An added benefit to these three days was being home to give Bailey her bath and get her ready for bed.

And then the topper, spending time with her before putting her down for the night. I was flipping her lip. She loved it. Here is the result.

A lesson in forgiveness

Last Wednesday, 6 year-old Noe Balderrama was crossing a street with his 14 year-old sister. His sister got to the other side but Noe had turned around to get a book he dropped. The driver of the pickup truck didn’t see him. After the accident, the driver stopped to give aid, but Noe died at the hospital.

Noe’s funeral was yesterday. James Hoehl attended. James was the driver of the pickup.

During the funeral, Noe’s father called James forward and embraced him saying, “It’s not your fault. It’s God’s decision. There’s nothing we can do about it.” Noe’s mother followed and also embraced James saying, “It’s not your fault. He was an angel and it’s not your fault.”

We can all stand to learn a lesson from these parents on how to forgive.

May God bless Noe Balderrama and the family he left behind.

Teaching your daughter to date

I was talking to a friend at work last night about how to teach a daughter to make good decisions in the men she dates. Now I don’t have to worry about this at the moment, but that moment will arrive one day and I want to be prepared.

I think he had the best point in the discussion. You don’t necessarily need to teach her a list of rules in teaching her how to date. Just be there and be an example for her while she is growing up. She will learn by observing her father about how men should treat women. This is why girls need fathers in the home.

Still, I figure it can’t hurt to teach her what she should be looking for. I’ve noticed that women who pick bad men to date usually miss a number of warning signs. So far I have a couple rules. Care to help pitch in?

1. Date a man who goes to church regularly (preferrably a Catholic Church – of course). These men are more likely to treat a woman well, but less likely to use drugs or be in other kinds of trouble.

2. Do not date a man who does not have a job. Preferably date a man who earns more than you.
(Correllary: Don’t date a man whose job is selling drugs.)

3. Do not date a man who has been to prison or jail.


4. Watch how a man treats his mother and sisters. Also note how he treats waitstaff. If he treats these people poorly, he will treat you poorly. (Thank you Laura).

5. Do not date a man who does not come to the door to pick you up. If he honks his horn at the curb, my daughter will not be allowed to leave the house.