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Guiding Principles of a Daughter’s Dad

I’m not the smartest or greatest dad there is. Not even close. I have many faults and made many mistakes over the years that I regret.

However, I do think I’m pretty good at understanding my faults and I work hard to minimize their impact to myself and others, especially to my family, as much as possible.

Even still… just because faults were minimized, it doesn’t mean there wasn’t impact from them from time to time. There was. I regret that.

But… we live and learn and live and relearn and one and on.

My daughter is my first child and when she was born I didn’t have a clue as to how to raise her.

I found out quickly though, that having children, and especially having the first child, is kind of like going to war.

No matter how much you plan for it, once the first shot is fired the best you can hope for is a campaign of organized chaos.

Fortunately, not long after she was born, I happened upon some useful information — probably from articles in a newspaper (remember those things?) — about the results of a couple of different studies.

I don’t remember the newspaper — probably the Stars & Stripes.

And I certainly don’t remember the studies or who conducted them so I cannot attest to the veracity of the reportage.

However, based upon my life experiences, what was reported seemed to speak the truth.

And from these apparent truths that I happened upon long ago, I was changed — or at least I sought to change — from their insights.

And from this change, I hope I became a better father to, not just my daughter, but to my sons as well. For I also hope that when my sons, too, have daughters– and based upon the make up of my lovely and loving wife’s family and mine, they probably will — they understand how their beliefs and, more importantly, their behavior can have such an impact on the outcome of their daughters’ lives.

The first thing I learned that changed my behavior as a father was…

The more education a father has the less the chance will be that his daughter will find herself in an abusive relationship as an adult.

The second was…

Girls with high self-esteem tend to have less sex during their middle and high school years and girls with low self-esteem tend to have more.

The inverse is true for boys.


It’s Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.

#dadsmatter

 
 

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MY VIEW – A Women’s Issues Feature

When DotedOn submitted her essay My View to the Relating to Humans Women’s Issues feature, I could immediately feel its power and its truth, and the life lived as written, raw and exposed.

When submitted, DotedOn initially addressed it to me. I wrote to her soon after and asked if I could take out the address as I felt it may be distracting from the essay’s message. She wrote me back and, kindly, as she always is, said it was fine for me to make the edits and, since English is not her first language, she asked that I make any other edits that I felt may be necessary. I was pleased when she wrote this because there were, in fact, some grammar adjustments that I had wanted to make.

And, with haste, I made the adjustments.

However, after I read her essay with my edits, I found that something had happened. It seemed its power had somehow been diminished. I immediately restored the essay back to its original version, which, in turn, restored its power.

I spent the rest of the day reflecting on what had happened. The edits I made were almost insignificant, really; however, the impact of the edits was wholly significant. The impact was devastating to the overall feel and effect of the essay.

Perhaps, then, our words draw their strength not so much from our language and its form, but from our voice and our uniquely individual inflections and tones as only we can speak them…


 

My View

by DotedOn
 

I’m a single mom. I have five kids. I escaped an abusive relationship because I got to the point where nothing could be worse than staying one more second in that house. I exchanged comfort for unknown. I feel guilt every single day of my life. I know I took the right decision. I still don’t understand why my kids don’t see it and keep asking me why I don’t go back to daddy. They were there, they should know why.

Some people admire me… I still don’t get why. What’s to admire? That I left 5 kids without a dad? That I tolerate abuse for so long? That I’m alone and lost in another country miles away from every person dear to me?

I get questions like: How can you manage alone with 5 kids? I rub my eyes. I have everything. My question is: How could a widow 80 years ago manage 11 kids and no washing machine or fridge or disposable diapers or Nintendo’s to keep the kids quiet for a while.

Who should I please? Why I get judged? Why if I chose to be happy I feel this guilt all the time?
 

dotedon.wordpress.com

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In Honor of the End of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy

An offering from POEMS FROM THE RIVER, a collection of my poetry that will soon be released.

~~~~

We War

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things.
The decayed and degraded state
of moral and patriotic feeling
which thinks that nothing is worth war
is much worse.

The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight,
nothing which is more important than his own personal safety,
is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free
unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

~ John Stuart Mills

We war, don’t we
We warriors
We worriers for the world

You, Red Death Warrior
You mobilized
You sanitized
Purified to perform ancient rights of battles
And to stake patriot claims of fragile freedom
In hearts alien, hearts eternal,
Hearts ignorant of all you know

You know
You know

You know, noble warrior,
While you wander through the heaven of Hell
Raking the shit scattered pieces
Of bitter and broken promises
Into neat, heaping piles made ready
For the devil’s dusty full bin,
I, Warrior of The Forgotten Peace
Arming my chair of flaccid command
Long for the glory fight that I never had
The fight I will never know
The fight you will never forget

You know
You know

~~~~

I would like to congratulate and thank all who courageously sacrificed their identities, and in some cases, their lives, in order to proudly and honorably serve their nation while Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was national policy.

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September 20, 2011

September 20, 2011, will be a historic day for our country, and a special day for me.

It will be historic because the United States’s discriminatory Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy will finally be put to rest.

And it will be special to me because I hope to release my novel THE SEA TRIALS OF AN UNFORTUNATE SAILOR on that day in honor of the historic event.

But, like the cup half empty kind of guy that I am, I won’t believe either will happen until I actually see them happening…

But I’m hopeful it will all come true.

I can hardly believe that DADT is finally coming to end because it has been a powerful presence in my life since my decision in 1994 to work outside my career field of telecommunications, and outside of my comfort zone, to become a navy Equal Opportunity Advisor. My duties as an EOA required me to become thoroughly familiar with the DADT policy and to facilitate seminars and focus groups regarding it at navy commands throughout the Western Pacific. A key element of my training was not to just remind sailors that they could not ask about someone’s sexual orientation, but also to make it very clear since it had become an issue in the military that, just because their values or stereotypes or perceptions or prejudgments motivates them to do so, doesn’t mean they can harass or abuse or murder someone who they perceive has a sexual orientation that is contrary to their beliefs. I use the word “perceive” because rarely do homosexuals violate DADT policy by telling others, especially others hostile to their lifestyle, about their sexual orientation. Consequently then, the most likely way a homophobic person can be motivated to act upon his or her (mostly his) homophobic tendency to want to harass or abuse or murder is by perceiving a service member to be a homosexual based upon the perceived homosexual’s behavior or personal characteristics. Facilitating the discussion of such a sensitive, and often combative, nature for three years was very challenging, yet very rewarding for me.

If I can hardly believe that DADT is finally coming to an end, I can only wonder how one feels who loves his or her country so much that he or she was willing to join the military knowing that the DADT policy required him or her to suppress his or her identity and sexual orientation in order to serve. (Normally, because I am a man and because I choose a male identity for myself (It’s a gender thing, you wouldn’t understand…probably.), I would not bother with all the “he or she” and “his or her” distraction; I would simply just write “he” or “his,” just as I would expect a female writer to just write “she” or “shis,” I mean, “sher,” I mean, “her,” but I feel in this situation, it is important for me to highlight and reiterate the fact, in an effort to remind everyone, that both men and women have chosen to make this enormous sacrifice for their country. Talk about Patriots. All you heterosexuals out there go ahead and try imagining what it would be like to not only not be allowed to tell others who you love, but also to not be allowed to completely express your love to the person whom you do love. Hard to imagine, isn’t it, since it’s our privilege to not have imagine such an absurd way of life?

And I can hardly believe that my novel is finally going to be released because it, too, has been a powerful presence in my life for nearly as long as DADT has been. Consequently, I find it hard to believe that in a few short days I will finally be able to call the project complete.

And I also can hardly believe that my novel is going to be released on September 20, 2011, since it is only a few short days away and, because of a few issues I am contending with, I still have yet to complete the publication review process with the publishing service I am using. So, at this point, September 20, 2011, is more like a target release date than a set release date. But we’ll see.

Regardless of whether my novel is actually published on September 20, 2011, or not, the date will always be special to me since it was DADT, or more specifically, since it was all the harassment and abuse and even murder that was inflicted on so many service members because of DADT, that provided the unfortunate impetus for why I wrote the novel to begin with.