Movember's 2010 Pornstache Hall of Fame Celebrity Nominations

I don't think I really need to say anything here....


Road Trippin'

Ready to load up the Chevy Traverse? Not really.
In a few weeks the family and I will be making our trek from Texas to Pennsylvania, and I’m thrilled about spending the time together, especially since it’s one of the few occasions when my sons and stepdaughters are able to see each other. We stay at my boyhood home which is located in a rural part of the state; so the kids spend most of their days much the way I did at their age - catching fish, building forts, chasing fireflies, etc. Scattered throughout will be visits to local festivals and nearby points of interest. Photos will be taken, and videos will be recorded as we catalog these near perfect memories.

It’s possible a case could be made accusing me of painting an overly nostalgic picture of familial bliss shaded with Norman Rockwell-like undertones, but I assure you—never mind, you’re right. I am. I’m ignoring the umpteen thousand-mile drive there and back that sandwiches the week of carefree fun in between.

As opposed to said “carefree fun” (who am I kidding; said “carefree fun” has its less-than-carefree moments too), cramming five kids into a minivan for a two-day journey is like stuffing a bunch of cats into a mailbox and expecting everyone to emerge unscathed. Not. Going. To. Happen.

Improvised Sleep Mask
Early on the trip is fine. The children revel in the novelty at having what seems like an endless supply of goodies, games, and movies all within their reach to be consumed at their leisure. However, once these resources have been exhausted, discontent and restlessness set in. Start to finish, this takes about 30 minutes.

Of course, at 30 minutes we’re barely beyond the city limits, but still, that doesn’t prevent the inevitable question: “Are we there yet?” 

This sudden lapse in the children’s understanding of time and distance astounds me. Even when I point out that we are just now passing the mall where we do our Christmas shopping, the blank expressions of “so what” staring back through the rear-view mirror convey that any further explanation would be the very definition of an exercise in futility.

For some odd reason my silence in response to their question is interpreted as an invitation for them to register their individual grievances simultaneously. Any parent who has traveled with children for more than several hours is familiar with what I’m referring to.

“I’m bored.”

“I’m too hot.”

“They’re touching me.”

“I forgot my [favorite toy that they were told 6,000 times to pack].”

“I dropped my [blank] into [unreachable crevice of vehicle’s interior].”

Etcetera, etcetera.

It’s as if they believe I’m some combination of flight attendant, entertainment director and omnipotent god, able to scrounge up pretzel snacks, amuse their weary minds and exact justice on unrighteous siblings with a mere blink of my eyes (which, by the way, happen to be focused on the tractor trailer closing in on my tail-end). 

Being a veteran traveler, I’m accustomed to my childrens’ low threshold for discomfort during long cross-country hauls, and this has lead to some very advanced techniques in dealing with such situations. I ignore them. In fact, my ears are programmed to filter all the fussin’ ‘n a feudin’ into a form of white noise that allows my brain to submerge into deep thought. And should they crank “Whale Songs and Clamoring Children” to a volume higher than an inside voice, my headphones come in rather handy. 

The "Thousand-Mile Stare"
On one trip I succeeded in listening to Michael Chabon’s Wonder Boys in it’s entirety … well, most of it anyway. Fed up with being ignored for the previous six hours, my stepdaughter proceeded to (purposefully I suspect) pour a full cup of hot chocolate down her front letting it pool in her lap. The hot cocoa wasn’t even warm, but her wailing scream scared me so bad, I swerved off the road. Lesson learned: Children are masters of escalation when it comes to demanding attention, and they will not be deterred by an iPod. 

This truth is also evident when the kids repeat their questions over and over hoping to have the validity of it confirmed via my response. At a certain point it’s clear that the incessant droning will not cease until it’s been acknowledged, which I eventually do but with standard, pat answers that restore silence without making any concessions in the process. 

Discontented Child: “I’m hungry!”

Me: “We’ll be stopping for lunch in a few more miles.” (And by “few” I mean anywhere from 50 to 100).

Discontented Child: “The sun’s too bright. I can’t see.”

Me: “Close your eyes until it goes down.”

Discontented Child: “I have to go to the bathroom.”

...Read what happens next at MAN OF THE HOUSE

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It's Black Friday At Mega Mart

For those of you crazy enough to be out there... of course if you're reading this then you're not part of the madness.


Happy Thanksgiving

Just wanted to wish everyone and their families a Happy Thanksgiving.


Baby's Remorse

This is from my "Back Talk" column in November's issue of Houston Family Magazine. Want to how I deal with the can-we-have-a-baby question?

Baby's Remorse

My wife and five children have been pestering me about getting a puppy. They’ve been at it for quite a while too, but to no affect. Their nagging has become an almost daily occurrence thanks to the innumerable prompts that pop up. Every time Disney releases another superhero/master spy/incredible journey-type move starring talking dogs, or the neighbor’s lab saunters up our driveway to sniff my crotch, it’s a sure bet that I’m going to be hammered with an incessant barrage of, “Can we get a puppy? Can we get a puppy? Can we get a puppy?”

Under other circumstances this would qualify as annoying, yet, despite avoiding references to hot dogs, feeling dog-tired and being in the dog house, I’m unfazed by their badgering. You might be asking yourself how that’s possible. Simple. I am the culprit responsible for suggesting the puppy—a tactic meant as a diversion to keep them from asking for what they really want: a baby.

To be fair, I should point out that my three boys never in fact voiced their desire for a new sibling. They’re purely in it for the puppy. It’s my wife and two stepdaughters who are the staunch proponents of inviting the stork over for a visit. That the whole puppy thing has rallied our blended family behind a cause is an unexpectedly fortuitous byproduct of my scheme.

What’s truly beautiful about my plan is that three of the kids are allergic to dogs virtually guaranteeing that big bags of puppy chow won’t be propped up in the corner of our garage. I would’ve thought that someone, my wife in particular, would’ve caught on this Catch-22 by now. Nope. Even I’m surprised to discover that the enthusiastic affection of a cocker spaniel and the adorable daintiness of a Teacup Yorkie can trump the powdery smell of a three month-old infant. 

Ah, that new baby smell—like new-car smell but for women. This is the precise issue that kicked off the whole “make-a-baby” campaign in the first place after someone asked my wife if she would like to hold their baby, a request I consider to be the mommy version of the infamous pull-my-finger prank. Granted, the aroma may be a more pleasant than what Uncle Jim been holding in for an hour after hitting the taco buffet, but the consequences can still reek an equal amount of havoc.

In mere seconds the scent being emitted from this baby’s smooth, doughy skin wafted up into my wife’s nostrils, triggering that expression of joyful longing all women get anytime they’re within a swaddled newborn’s thirty-five meter, aromatic bursting radius. One whiff and boom! They’re gone. I have to imagine this is why Glade hasn’t introduced a new-baby fragrance for their Plug-In air fresheners or, heaven forbid, the same thing in an aerosol form. Rehab clinics nationwide would be overwhelmed with an influx of loopy women caught wandering in a euphoric stupor through Babys “R” Us stores after having sprayed the stuff into a paper bag. 

Seriously though, I realize there’s a bit of science involved here. If memory serves me correctly, I believe the Germans—a country known for its long history of cuddliness—published a study claiming that a baby’s smell (dirty diapers excluded) can awaken a woman’s nurturing instinct: therefore, explaining the correlation between olfactory stimulation and the desire for a baby. Strange as this may sound, I can relate. I feel the same way pulling a tray of blueberry muffins from the oven—I smell them, and I want one. The only major difference, however, is you can eat a muffin and walk away; a baby lasts forever. Fore. Ev. Er. 

Thus, when my wife glanced over at me with wistful eyes, I cut her off by rolling mine. Oh, boy, heeeeere we go. 

“Hey, honey, couldn’t we—“

“No.” Emphatic as my answer was, I knew, like a New Orleans levy, it wouldn’t hold her back.



“Come on, it would have our best features—my brains and your—“

“Not happening.” I could say this with the confidence afforded me by one tiny detail. “Besides, dear, aren’t we forgetting something? Like maybe ‘The Procedure?’” 

“Oh, that,” she replied looking away.

I attributed her short-term memory loss up to the mystic powers being wielded by the baby tucked neatly her arms. Still, a vasectomy isn’t exactly the sort of thing you can wave off, especially in light of the biological impediments that go along with it. What’s more, baby or no baby, if there’s anything my wife should remember, it should be my vasectomy, an event she couldn’t keep to herself after getting loaded at her office Christmas party

“Seeee thizz righ’ here?” she said, directing the attention of a company’s VP towards my lower regions by swirling her open hand in a wax-on, wax-off motion Mr. Myagi would’ve been proud of. “Yeah. We’re gettin’ that righ’ there aaaaaall taken …taken care of tomorr—Hey! Who’s thirsty?” I’ll forgo the ensuing aftermath, but needless to say, it was epic, epic enough that a full frontal lobotomy couldn’t erase it from memory.

After bringing up the vasectomy, I recognized a slight hint of disappointment seeping through the weak grin on my wife’s face. The irony in all of this, of course, is that she’s the one who set up my urology consultation free of any prompting from me. Now, however, with the transaction long since finalized, she seemed to be hit with a sudden “baby’s remorse” after test driving this newer model.

Then my stepdaughters showed up inciting their mother’s storied mischievousness.

“Hey, girls,” she said in a leading tone. “How’d you like to have a little baby brother or sister?”

“Really? That would be awesome!” they both squealed while jumping up and down.

“How ‘bout a puppy instead?” I said.

There was a short pause as the girl’s eyes grew to the size of a jar lid for strained carrots. 

“A PUPPY!? We want a puppy!”

My wife handed off the baby to its mother. “I want a puppy too!”


V for MoVember & Whatever Happened to my Helper Monkey Mojo?

I know you've seen it all over on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc. What? Movember. It's the combination of Mo (short for moustache) and the month of November. And why? I'll just use a quote from Movember's About Page.

"Movember challenges men to change their appearance and the face of men’s health by growing a moustache. The rules are simple, start Movember 1st clean-shaven and then grow a moustache for the entire month. The moustache becomes the ribbon for men’s health, the means by which awareness and funds are raised for cancers that affect men. Much like the commitment to run or walk for charity, the men of Movember commit to growing a moustache for 30 days."

What kind of men's health issues? Take for instance this fact: In 2010 tragically more than 32,000 men will die as a direct result of prostate cancer. (Hey, I've already had 2 colonoscopies and I'm not even 40 yet; so, stats like that are kind of scary)

Anyway. I've been letting my facial hair go, but instead of shooting for mange-inflicted, caterpillar after chemo, I'm growing a beard. It chafes. But it's for a cause; so I think I can manage to make it through to the end of November. Oh and what the heck!? It's week 3 and I haven't posted any pictures yet. Okay here's a peek...

Ta Dah!!!

Homer & Mojo
You might be wondering why I'm holding a Baby Bjorn baby carrier, but it's not what you think--trust me. We're not rounding out the Brady Bunch with #6. No, those wacky guys over at DadLabs were holding a giveaway during one of their live webisodes, and you guessed it. I won. However, since my kids are all too big, and my wife forced to give my helper monkey, Mojo, back, there's not much I can do with it. That being the case, it's going to get donated to The Women's Home on behalf of DadLabs and Baby Bjorn (Thanks y'all).

And on that note, I leave you with a link for you to donate the Movmember cause. 


Thanks Dad: Being There

During bedtime the other night my stepdaughter, Allie, made a remark to my wife that caught me off guard. “She sat up and said, ‘You know, Mom, Ron’s like a real dad to us.’” The way I leaned back in my chair made it appear as if those words hit me with the same physical force as they did emotional.

Allie said that? Really?

Earlier that day, Allie’s class had put on a show in honor of Veterans Day. It’s all she talked about throughout the week, and because I had served in the Army, she expected me to attend. But there was a problem—a doctor’s appointment that overlapped with the program. I winced realizing this. Rescheduling wasn’t an option, yet it was so obviously important to my stepdaughter that I see her singing—singing for me.

I explained the situation to Allie, hoping to set an expectation that would ease her disappointment if I didn’t make it. She said she understood, but still, I couldn’t bring myself to commit one way or the other as to my final choice. “Being there” is critical to my stepdaughter’s emotional well-being; so much so that she has to see a therapist in order to manage the anxiety that’s resulted from too many years of too many people not being there for her.

Well before I entered the picture, Allie’s life had already been a series of uncertain situations lasting just long enough for her to feel safe, only to then disintegrate the moment she did. Today things are different. Allie has stability, and the positive effects of this are a evident in her behavior and attitude. She’s come a long way. Still, despite the best efforts of her mother and I, Allie continues to be let down by the one person she wants a real relationship with—her biological father



Is This How The French Potty Train Their Children?

If this is how the French potty train their children, then I have no idea why they think they can act snooty to foreigners.

WARNING: For this being a children's show, the imagery is rather... gross.


Some Good Dads at Dads Good

I wanted to take a moment to announce a newly launched daddy blogger site called Dads Good: The Best of the Daddy Bloggers. Dads Good is a companion page to The Good Men Project Magazine founded by Tom Matlack and publisher Lisa Hickey. Among the featured contributors are a top notch bunch of fathers and writers that include the site's Managing Editor, Aaron Gouveia of The Daddy File, Craig Playstead (The Blog of Craig Playstead), Derek Markham from Natural Papa, Dad Centric's Jason Avant (Pet Cobra), Jim Higley of Bobblehead Dad, and John Cave Osborne of Tales From the Trips fame (and somehow I managed to make the short list too).


Context In Focus

This is from my column from Houston Family Maagizne's Fall Baby issue.

Context In Focus

When it comes to writing about babies I tend to find myself at a loss for ideas. One would think that for a guy who has five children, spitting out stories about babies shouldn’t be a problem by virtue of the sheer amount of material that many kids could generate. That’s logical reasoning, although, my two stepdaughters should be removed from the equation since Allie and Avery were ages five and four respectively when I first met them. I was, and always will be a spectator to the lives they lived prior to our fateful union as stepparent and stepchild. But even with that being the case, I’m still privy to the details of Allie toddling out the back door to find a dead cat, and the circumstances of Avery gloriously entering this world three months ahead of schedule, (which incidentally, must have filled her quota for being on time, because the child is never where she’s supposed to be, when she’s supposed to be).

Of course with my sons, Noah, Sawyer and Harrison, it’s different. I was there when they were born. I’ve seen their faces smeared with strained carrots, and cleaned “accidents” on the carpet, but wracking my brain for a good story about them as babies can be difficult. I’m not sure why this is. Am I a bad parent? No. That’s like saying you’re a lousy driver because you forgot where you put the car keys. My theory on why it’s hard to sometimes recall the details from those days of diaper rashes and teething is a matter of context. READ THE REST HERE...


Some Hockey Fun Facts From Texas

Last friday my family and I had the chance to go see the Houston Aeros hockey team play as part of a H-Town Blogger's Night Out event. Honestly, I had my reservations about how much of a good time we would have. Everyone was crabby; there were several meltdowns, and we ended up getting out the door late. Turns out, we had a blast. Hockey? In Texas? Who woulda thunk it?

I'm from Northwest PA, and hockey was a big deal. I went to a few of the minor league pro games up in Erie, and it was a blast. But I was teenager, so I had my doubts as to how long Allie and Avery would last. They loved it. In fact their enthusiasm for every body check and fight bordered on blood-lust, the likes of which caused me to make mental note never to expose them to the WWF.

As the evening progressed, Allie started asking me all kinds of questions about the game, prompting me to send out some facts about hockey via Twitter. It's been a while since the days when I followed the game closely, but I think most of what I sent out is fairly accurate. (I also added a few more.) 

Hockey Fun Facts*

Hockey Fun Fact: A faceoff is when a player from each team have a staring contest & make mean faces until one of them laughs

Hockey Fun Fact: When it comes to picking a team to root for my wife will pick the one that has the better font on their jersey.

Hockey Fun Fact: The players like to slap the puck out of things

Hockey Fun Fact: Not sure what “icing” means, but in hockey, it doesn’t go on cake.

Hockey Fun Fact: They’ve got nachos? Mmmmm, naaaachoooos.

Hockey Fun Fact: Zambonies make ice shiny.

Hockey REALLY Fun Fact: There are cheerleaders!

Hockey Fun Fact: A “slap shot” is when you’re wife catches you looking at the cheerleaders

Hockey Fun Fact: Being in the “penalty box” is like timeout for adults. There’s another definition but I can’t say as this is a family event

Hockey Fun Fact: A “2-on-1” is …you know what, let’s just not go there.

Hockey Fun Fact: “Poke Checking” is—Hey! I thought this was supposed to be a family event?!

Hockey Fun Fact: “Shuffle the muffin” “ringing the pipes” “hip-check” “wrist shot” & “stickhandling” More proof this game is filthy

Hockey Fun Fact: Fights occasionally happen. Ooo, Ooo! Punch that mutha effer in da throat you pussy!!! #houstonaeros family night

Hockey Fun Fact: For Texas hockey players Line Brawling is done the same a Line Dancing but with 2 fists not 2 steps

Hockey Fun Fact: You keep track of periods, the players wear pads & it's not unusual to see blood.

Hockey Fun Fact: When your wife shoves you after reading your tweets, it's referred to as a “bawdy check.”

Hockey Fun Fact: “Ripple the twine” is a phrase for scoring a goal 1st used in a poem by Emily Dickinson after seeing her 1st game in 1848

Hockey Fun Fact: If a player pulls 3 goals out his ars in the same game it’s called a hat trick. (I don’t get the connection)

Hockey Fun Fact: If home team scores during a predestinated 90 second stretch fans are treated to free hot wings at local eatery

Hockey Fun Fact: “Stoned” – an AWESOME save by the goalie …who is also high as a kite.

Hockey Fun Fact: A delayed penalty is when a player gets distracted for a few seconds before committing a foul.

Hockey Fun Fact: “Pulling the goalie” is like when the goal tender gets laid off.

Hockey Fun Fact: My old girlfriend & I sat in this same section of the arena to see a Coldplay concert.

Hockey Fun Fact: Same girlfriend and I watched NIN from VIP skybox on the other side of arena. What a night.

Hockey Fun Fact: When your wife says it's time to go early because she’s pissed at you it's called a "Power Play."

*some of the items listed may be longer than 140 characters as they have been modified for clarity purposes here

Before I close this post out, it would be wrong of me not to express my gratitude to Jamie from Love to Shop Mom and Christina of Rant Rave Roll, who did a fabulous job of organizing the event in conjunction with Nikk Welsh, the @houston_aeros social media coordinator. I do feel badly, however, about arriving late since it deprived me the opportunity to talk to Elz (Elizabelz) again, and meet other bloggers like Stacey of Tree Root Twig, Mile High Mama, and many others. I hope to get the chance again in the near future.

So the FTC doesn't body check my skinny butt into the glass, I'd better point out that I received four free tickets in order to attend this event, but no one asked me write this post. I only did it to boost my stats.

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Grandparents: Like A Boss (But Not)

This post is from my September  "Back Talk" column in the grandparents issue of Houston Family Magazine.

Grandparents: Like a Boss (But Not)

When it comes to family, I liken grandparents to blue-collar, union supervisors sitting atop the seniority ladder. They’ve been around forever; can do as they please; and are virtually untouchable. Don’t get me wrong; I mean this with the utmost respect. Grandparents have earned their position, what with all the diapers, Band-Aids, laundry, throw up, homework, teenage rebellion, etc that we junior workers at Adult World Inc. are still fumbling around with on the conveyor belt of child-rearing.

I have to mention that there’s a distinction in referring to grandparents as supervisors as opposed to managers who in this case would actually be …well, this isn’t a perfect analogy. Still, my point here is that grandparents, like supervisors, stand nearby sipping their coffee while watching us work as parents. Sometimes they will give us a pat on the back. Other times they might offer some piece of unsolicited advice when the situations warrants. 

Okay, I know what you’re thinking here: “My ‘supervisor’ is always giving me their two cents, even when I don’t want it.” That’s going to happen, especially if it means the grandparents will come off like the proverbial good guys. This is a regular occurrence in our home too. When my stepdaughter’s Ga Ga comes over for a visit, it’s a sure bet some variation of the following exchange will take place.

Stepdaughters: Mom, can we do such and such?

Girls’ Mother: No, you may not do such and such.

Ga Ga: I think you should let them do such and such.

Girls’ Mother: But you never let me do such and such at their age.

Ga Ga: What? Yes I did.

Girls’ Mother: No you didn’t!

Ga Ga: You’re making that up.

Stepdaughters: Isn’t that lying, Mommy?

Typically this is the moment when Ga Ga, sporting a sly grin, volunteers to take the girls for the afternoon—an proposition no sane parent could refuse—only to return several hours later after buying more toys than the girls can carry in a single trip. This also serves as a prime example of my thoughts in saying that grandparents do as they please.

I’m guessing that grandparents do this for a couple reasons, payback being one of them. Remember all those times when you were acting like a pill and your parents said that they hoped you would have ten kids just like you? Spoiling the kids, ignoring you, grandparenting with impunity—it’s all intended to see those earlier hopes become a reality. In fact, I think that grandparents actually believe they are making us better parents by employing the what-can’t-kill-you-only-makes-you-stronger paradigm which demands they instigate civil unrest via the grandkids and then leave it for us to quell.

When I was five, my grandparents took me along to the grocery store where they bought me one of those cheep, plastic toy horns—you know, the kind that plays three solitary, atonal notes at decibels levels only Louis Armstrong could blow in announcing the Second Coming. After my grandparents handed me that horn, they dropped me off at home and hightailed it out of there as if they had just ignited a short fuse on large bomb. I had no sooner signaled the beginning of the Apocalypse with an explosive rendition of “Muskrat Ramble” when I felt a hand rip that horn from my lips, never to be heard from again. Looking back now, I can see my grandma and grandpa giggling as they pulled out of the driveway that night knowing full well what they had done.

But really, what can any of us do to stop a grandparent? It’s not like you can notify your union rep. Even non-family members are reticent to take them on as was the case with my other grandma. She loved watching me play basketball in high school, and of course, was a fervent fan—a little too fervent. As I fought against a defender for a spot under the basket during one game, Grandma stood up in the bleachers and shouted that I should—and I quote— “Knock that dumb kid on his…” well, you get the idea. No one dared to confront dear, sweet Grandma. My mother, on the other hand, received quite a few dirty looks, and I recall bearing the brunt of more than my usual share of cheap shots on the court. Grandma, meanwhile, enjoyed the evening unscathed. 

Admittedly, I’m jealous of grandparents and all their perks. If I armed my kids with an obnoxious toy and then left them at their grandparents for a sleepover, it’s likely they would be returned to me before evening’s end like a bad rental movie to Blockbuster. What’s more, I would still end up being the bad guy. But in another sense I’m okay with that. Despite my silly analogy comparing grandparents to bosses, they really are not. They are loving, generous and warm, and I’m thankful my children have grandparents like this. They are just what my kids need. 


Clark Kent’s Lunchbox: What’s In A Name?

Superman and Fatherhood

Fathering Superheroes  
One question I am often asked is how I came up with the name Clark Kent's Lunchbox for a dad blog to which my immediate response is a quip about it being something of an accident. The real answer, however, is a bit longer. When I started this blog back in 2007, I did so with the intention of improving my writing; I had no idea there was such a thing as daddy blog (or even a mommy blog for that matter). But that didn’t mean fatherhood wasn’t weighing heavily on my mind.

In fact, putting my thoughts on the topic into context and becoming a fan of The Man of Steel ran congruent to one another. I explain this better in How Superman Made Me a Better Father, and so I’ll bypass those details here. The lone item I will mention, though, is that my attraction to the Superman Mythos had less to do with the actual character, than it did his adoptive parents on earth, Jonathan and Martha Kent. (You can find a quick primer on them here.)

Jonathan and Martha Kent

Jonathan, Martha & Clark at the farm
My curiosity about this simple couple who took in a strange alien child on their quiet farm near Smallville, Kansas, revolved around the concept of what kind of parents they would have to be in order to raise the most powerful being on the planet. How exactly does one deal with a cantankerous baby, a willful toddler, or a surly teenager capable of leveling entire buildings using his fists and incinerating objects via his eyes? 

Dwelling on this caused me to compare myself to the Kents. If they managed to ingrain such a strong sense of moral character and compassion in the boy they named Clark that people would later refer to him as the Big Blue Boy Scout, then did my own children deserve anything less from me as a parent? Sure, the whole story is pure fiction, but does that mean it’s not worth aspiring to? I don’t think so. 

Who Really is Clark Kent?

Who is Clark Kent?
What’s rather ironic about having a blog named Clark Kent’s Lunchbox is that people believe I’m alluding to myself as being Clark. As such, I receive quite a lot of tongue-in-cheek ribbing about exercising my superpowers, which I’ll play along with in the spirit of good fun. Even so, the thought that others are under the impression I’m trying to pass myself off as some form of an omnipotent superhero makes me sheepish. 

I am no better than anyone else; so for me to say I’m super anything, feels arrogant on my part. The truth of the matter is that I don't see myself as mild-mannered reporter, Clark Kent, but rather Jonathan Kent, the father who did his best to instill in his son about the lessons learned from the consequences of right and wrong choices, and the obligations in looking out for the wellbeing of others. At the same time, I also represent Superman’s biological father, Jor-El, the Kryptonian statesman-scientist who imparted the knowledge, wisdom and guidance his son, Kal-El (Superman’s birth name) would need for facing the world’s larger challenges.

Superman's Biological Father, Jor-El
So, who then is “Clark Kent?” Simply put, Clark symbolizes my children. He is my sons, Noah, Harrison, and Sawyer; and he is my stepdaughters, Allie and Avery. No, they may not possess freeze breath or X-ray vision (thank goodness), but they do have their own powers from within that can be used for either good or evil depending on what decisions they make in life. Furthermore, my children will have their own versions of Lex Luthor and General Zod to contend with, and who I am as a father today will impact the paths my children choose and they manner in which they will handle difficult situations now and in the future. To me, this is every bit as crucial as parenting someone who can fly at supersonic speeds. 

But A Lunchbox?

I’m not sure why, but reflecting on the things I hand on to my children brings to mind the image of me giving them their lunches as they head out the door on their way to school. This is where the idea for the “Lunchbox” came from. Hokey? Maybe. But in the same way we want to provide our children healthy food that will make them stronger, we also work to provide them with what they need in order to become stronger individuals, and what they need comes in the form of my actions and my words—words that I’ve been pack into this blog for several years now. 

Exploding Planet, Lost Farm, and a Basic Truth

Kal-El's Escape from Krypton
Why am I explaining all of this? A few weeks ago I seriously considered quitting blogging. In my personal life, the planet Krypton was on the verge of exploding, and the Kent farm was about to be repossessed by the bank (metaphorically)--difficult situations that haven’t changed much (and ones I’m reluctant to even mention because, like Jonathan Kent I have too much pride). 

Since that railing, slightly self-righteous post of mine, a lot has happened in the parenting blogosphere, the details of which don’t need to be rehashed here. In following all these situations, I’ve found it disheartening to see many say that they’ve lost faith in people over some of what’s happened. Most who have made this remark I realize, said this within the context of the world of blogging and thus, it does not actually mean complete hopelessness. 

Still, a number of us parent bloggers really open ourselves up on our sites. We invest a great deal of time and energy into what we write, and it represents at least a portion of who we truly are inside. So when circumstances such as those mentioned earlier occur, then it’s only natural for these situations to result in hurt feeling and diminished trust. This is where I was at as I considered "selling off the farm" so to speak. 

A quiet moment for Clark at the Kent farm
But then I was reminded of an important truth both Jonathan Kent and Jor-El reminded their son of on a continual basis: At mankind’s core exists a basic goodness that’s always worth believing in and fighting for. 

In regards to all that’s happen in the recent past, I’ve witnessed this play out (at the blogger level) in the form of all the encouraging comments and emails I received while pondering my future. This however, was dwarfed by the support and compassion demonstrated amongst other bloggers who were involved in situations much more serious than the one at the center of my minor little hissy fit.  In seems like on an almost daily basis, I see people supporting causes, raising awareness, and helping others. The opportunities afforded through blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc are astounding, and what's more, I'm able to witness the best of who we are playing out right in front of me.

Purpose in Symbols of Hope

Lex Luthor
Are there “villains” out there, so concerned about themselves that they refuse to see the needs of others? There always will be, both on and off the computer. Can our world explode into millions of pieces? It can, but jettisoning from the debris, a hope can exist leading us to someplace better. Will there be times when it feels as if the things we that cherish most are in danger of being taken from us? Yes, but this may also mean that we have to work harder in order to hold onto them. 

Clark Kent’s Lunchbox was meant to be for my children, yet somewhere along the way, I’ve strayed from this to a certain extent. Losing sight of my original intent, had a hand in making me susceptible to the frustrations that almost caused me to quit. Remembering that people are still good, despite the damage that we are also capable of, restored my commitment to maintaining this site for my children. 

Among comic book fans there's been a debate as to whether or not the Man of Steel still retains any relevancy in our current society. Some contend that his unwavering commitment to truth and sincere concern for others is too unbelievable for people to relate to. (They've even turned him into an emo, Twilight freak.) Of course, I disagree and for many reasons, one of which being what Superman has always symbolized: Hope. And hope is never irrelevant. 

From hope comes faith and commitment, which is easy to forget when negativity surrounds us. Had I acted on this and given up, in effect, what I would’ve really been saying to, not only my children but also others, is that hope is irrelevant, and therefore, placing any faith and commitment in humanity's intrinsic goodness is worthless. And that doesn’t sound like something Jonathan Kent or Jor-El would have imparted to a super hero in the making.

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