25 Weeks of Rediscovery: Chapter 3 Discussion – The Lessons We Teach Our Kids

Posted January 29, 2015 by jimhigley

let_2141262b(Sorry this post is two days late – I’ve been under the weather! This is the fourth week of a six-month journey of self-discovery. Thanks for joining me. Earlier this week I shared Chapter 3 from my book, “Bobblehead Dad: 25 Lessons I Forgot I Knew.”  Today we take the topic presented in that chapter a little deeper – and I share some thought questions for you. Tomorrow, I hope you’ll come back for a new story about stress. Thanks for being here. 

Lesson 3: Clean your desk. Clear the clutter. Then focus.

Writing the story I shared a few days ago – about going to my dad’s office every week – was one of the most cathartic experiences of my life.

And the interesting thing to me – after my book was published – was how many people related to that story of sitting and watching my father open his mail. Their stories didn’t involve mail, however. They were stories about fishing. Or mowing. Or doing carpentry. Shaving, farming, cooking. Or fixing a broken carburetor.

They were nuggets of everyday tasks. Unimportant in the scheme of things. Yet what made them important was the person behind the task.


And the unimportant thing my father did was open mail.

But it wasn’t really about mail, was it? It was about how he lived his every day life. It was how he approached things – especially the difficult things – that left his handprint on my life.

He modeled healthy behavior.

And it wasn’t until my cancer journey that I more fully understood and appreciated how the modeling I observed as a small child impacted my life as an adult..

Which, of course, made me panic over reflect about the way I was modeling healthy behavior for my own children. And no where is that a bigger challenge than when I’m dealing with stress. My emotions travel quick. From a micro level, to my heart, to my stomach, my eyes and then to my words. All in a nanosecond. I actually like that. Because I know I can instantly tap into my inner-feelings at the flip of a switch. I’ve always got some company.

But that company can be debilitating when I’m faced with stressful situation. From everyday stress to “You’ve got cancer” stress and all the way to “having a teenage child” stress – which I’m now in the final 12 months of a 13-year sentence.

The triggers that can induce stress never stop.

But I’ve got a secret weapon. I learned it watching my dad open mail.

I can’t help but wonder what secret weapon my kids will think I gave them.

Come back tomorrow and we’ll talk more.  I’ve left some questions for you to think about. And here’s a quick link to yesterday’s story.


Here’s some things for you to noodle on:

How did your parents deal with stress?
How do you deal with bigger issues in your own life?
Is there an issue needing your attention today?


Want more?  Read the first week’s posts including the  Prologue and Introduction. And come back tomorrow for an entirely new post! 

  • http://www.8bitdad.com Zach Rosenberg

    I enjoy opening mail too. A lot of the time, it just stacks up, but the stack is never too big. And there’s a place for it all to go. Trying to clean my desk is impossible; all of that stuff “goes” there. But mail – it all has a place. Coupons go somewhere. Bills go somewhere. Cards go somewhere. Trash goes…in the trash. It’s an activity that can make anyone feel like they accomplished something. Plus, you might get a coupon for a tree trimmer.