Rule #382: The Sisyphus Rule

Rule #382: The Sisyphus Rule

Life is hard.
Life is unfair.
Life is wonderful.

When Zeus enchanted the rock that King Sisyphus was pushing he knew that the King would be doomed to an eternity of frustration. He set an eternal existence which would leave the King in deep despair.

I think about Sisyphus a lot as I have gotten older. Much of what life is amounts to little more than boulder pushing – work, chores, eat, sleep …repeat. So much of what we deal with everyday becomes a process of existence and and not achievement. It is the mundane that fills most of our lives.

I see that boulder pushing become more obvious when our lives take us to be caregivers of love ones with diseases/ conditions that are in themselves constantly deteriorating and ultimately fatal. Life has set the unreasonable expectation of the caregiver to get to that to rock pushing everyday. Visits without improvement, slow roll backs every day. The hope of reaching the top of that hill every night being crushed as that stone rolls over it into the pit of despair. It can be a soul crushing Sisyphean existence.

I think about that King and having an eternity to think about what hes was doing.

And I think he was Happy.

Albert Camus thought about him too in the “Myth of Sisyphus”. He saw him as a happy man.

I think in dealing with a hopeless situation when all your actions by definition of a progress disease will end in failure it is possible to be a “Happy Sisphus”.

Insane you say? Maybe, but maybe there is more going on here than rock pushing.

Camus compared the situation to the famous lover Don Juan. He said “There is no noble love but that which recognizes itself to be both short-lived and exceptional.”

I love that quote and remember it now even 40 years after I first read it. To truly love someone requires an effort to be “exceptional”, which by the nature of it being exceptional is short lived. As I watch my wife and sister-in-law struggle with their mother’s Lewy Bodies, I see that type of noble love with each daily fight with that rock. Its about achieving in one’s existence through exceptional love. Oh, its hard. Its fucking hard. But the love that it demonstrates is exceptional. I saw it with my sister Donna in how she cared for my parents in their last struggles and the love that she developed and showed in the process defined her. It is something that in my opinion defines the best of what we are as human beings, loving beings.

I think the process is more about how it changes us than how it helps the impaired love one. It makes us better.

King Sisyphus was a SOB fighter. The Gods punished him with the rock pushing because he tried to stop death by putting death in chains. This pissed off both death and the Gods.

In a lot of ways I see caregivers as the SOBs ( certainly Sandy, Bobbi and Donna) trying to cheat death like our friend Sisyphus- they know that death will eventually escape ( it sort of has to, to make life work) but they are SOBs and going to chain up death for as long as they can.

That fight. That ” Rocky Balboa” fighter that fights knowing that he will eventually lose to Apollo is inspiring to the human spirit. I’m from Philly so I watched the movie 8,000 time, yet each time I watch is I’m emotionally cheering Rocky hoping that he will someone how win. He doesn’t. Yet I am not sad for Rocky. I think he was happy.

Like Rocky Sandy and Bobbi are fighting unwinnable fights against a damn big rock. They will lose, but in it they will win.

Their fights are against fear and things that take their mother’s dignity way. There fights are hopeless, yet noble and define the human spirit.

I write this blog as a map for my children to follow at times when they are lost. And I know with certainty that they will find themselves as caregivers against one of these rocks, hopefully it will not be me. But its critical to their emotional survival that they understand like Sisyphus that although it might not seem it on the darkest days there is nobility and honor in the process. And there is true love.

I love you both and am proud of you.

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Rule #177: The Santa Rule

Rule #177: The Santa Rule

I’m a fan of Santa. Not that I want the focus on Christmas to be gifts, I just love the concept of Santa.

The dude is a really cool guy. A toy shop, a race of Elves at his command, flying reindeer and magic powers- what’s not to like. The guy rocks. He is also a snappy dresser for us plus size guys.

What I liked best about the jolly guy is the power he gave me over my toddler children to influence their behavior. Just invoking his name anytime between Thanksgiving and New Years would reset behaviors of any child whining, expose any lies, and basically check any negative thing. It was truly magical.

I took full advantage of it! It was a season of easy disapline that made the holiday an especially happy one.

The only negative was that as my children grew they stopped believing. Imagine the power we would have over negative people if there were consequesnce dispensed by a chubby magical entity that could envoke as much fear as joy.

I encounter adult people during the year who say cruel things to each other, do evil things just to get personal gain and generally behave badly. Unfortunely these things aren’t illegal and they are basically just the function of people behaving badly. It is sad to say but some people just choose to be assholes. ( I tried to find a more polite word for it but asshole is the only one that really works)

Fortunately I am not completely powerless without St Nick. My kids have the fear of my death and me haunting them ( which I will do for any that are pissing me off ). As I get older and closer to death I intend to use this power more. Yes they may not even believe in God or an afterlife, but do they really want to take that chance? I would be a pretty pissed off ghost.

What we need is a Santa for Adults. Something that just by the envoking of his name behavior instantly changes

Imagine being able to simply yell out to the guy that cut you off in traffic  “ you better watch out” and have the behavior stop. Or say “ he sees you” to the woman that was rude to you at the grocery store and her instantly reflect on her behavior and apologize.  I generally think assholes know when they are being assholes, just without Santa in their lives there is no direct consequence. They need to lose things that they want.

It sad but the holiday seems to have the opposite effect on assholes , they seem to just love hurting other people- maybe because life hasn’t given them enough Barbie Princess Castles or Red Ryder B.B. guns. They are mad at life, have little hope and want to hurt others happiness. We need an Adult Santa to give them something to hope for , and something to take away from them when they are bad.

Yes we have heaven and hell- but assholes are pretty short- term thinkers. They need the immediate reinforcement of Adult Santa to keep in line.

I propose a kickstarter project to set up a second “North Pole Workshop” maybe at the South Pole using magical penguins to help deliver new BMWs and the like. I think with the right magical entity we may really be able to keep the adult assholes in line.

So.. “ you better watch out”…,


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Good Dog



2006 -2017


Life is Hard, I say that a lot in this blog. But one of the gifts God gives us to make life a little less hard is the companionship of animals. In our family that companionship has come from Dogs. It is one reason this blog is named 2catule, the Hills have always been Dog people. Not that there is anything wrong with being a Cat person, ok to be honest there is but I will leave it as we are just Dog People.

There are all types of Dogs in the world. Some hyper and friendly like Piper ( our other lab), some nervous and scared, and some lazy and  still others cool. Generally the Dogs are more a reflection of the families they become part of rather than any inbreed trait.  The dogs reflect how they are treated by their owners and become the animal their lives lead them to become.

Occasionally, there is a special Dog. One that changes you more than you change her. Nittany was that type of Dog. From the moment we picked her up from a breeder near her name sake Nittany Mountain, she was kind and loving. She filled a gap in our family, and helped bring kids from both Bobbi’s and my first marriages into a common love of truly special dog. She was the consistency that gave our entire family a common place to love. She helped us truly become a family. Andrew was 17 and getting ready for college, Collin was 9  and just finding who he was, when she entered out lives…but we all experience the joy of Nittany. a dog that made you love her by her sweet personality.

No matter what happened Nittany was a consistent source of comfort and love for our family. She was in the bed of someone who was sick, or there to wag her tail and lay her head on your lap if you failed a test or were teased in school. She never judged, and never wavered from her consistent loving devotion of our family. She had the ability to seek out the family member that needed her most and stay close to them. She has an emotional radar to be there when you need her, and to give you space when you needed time for yourself.  We all learned a lot from her on how to give emotional support to one another.

When we first got Nittany Bobbi’s plan was to have her live mainly in the garage, which shifted to included the kitchen and dining room within a week, and our bedrooms soon after.  That was Nittany, she had her own plan and by her simple loving nature seemed to find a way throughout our hearts and home.

Each of the 7 AuPairs that lived with while we had Nittany in our lives tried to smuggle her to their home countries at one time or another. Even after we brought home our rescue 5 years ago, Piper, Nittany remained the lead dog at the house. As Matthew put it tonight I may have a 2cat rule, but our home was always a 1Dogrule house- and Nittany set the rule. Piper is special in her own way, and has twice the energy that Nittany had even as a puppy. But she is lost today as we all are, looking for Nittany to lead the way to the beds or food bowl.

Nittany’s last year was a hard one. She developed complications from diabetes which required insulin and eventually lead to her complete blindness. I am convinced she did this when I developed LADA diabetes so I would be alone in my insulin dependency.

We did not realize how blind she had become until we moved to Florida and began to walk straight into the pool. Never a complainer as she went slowly blind she memorized our old house and hid her special needs. Even when facing a new dark house she learned the turns and steps quickly, and would wait by the elevator every morning and night for a quick ride to her bed or food bowl. This old blind dog rolled with the punches that our move and busy lives gave her and remained her cheerful, tail wagging self to her last breath.

Piper has the tendency to run away when ever an open door presents itself. We quickly learned that when she ran if we took Nittany on a leash she would lead us to her. She always knew where our family was, blind and old, she could see better than all of us. She knew her family and always knew how to find us.

Nittany’s  changed our hearts, our lives and our family and will always remain an important part of who we are. She taught us to comfort, to love and to find each other. She will be missed, but always be with us.

She truly was a Good Dog.






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Rule # 97: NEVER live in Florida!

Rule # 97: NEVER live in Florida!

I hate Florida. The bugs, the heat and tourist. To me the entire state is scrub pines, sweat and hurricanes. In fact I have said recently that I hoped that the new Trump boarder wall would use the Florida- Georgia line as its starting point. I’ve told all my kids I would NEVER, EVER move to Florida.

Then why the hell are we moving to St Petersburg this June?

Yes, the obvious answer of becoming clinically insane has not been ruled out. But, the motivation starts with lots more than the move, its starts with embracing change.

In May 2008 Bobbi and I launched Signature Captive Solutions. In the 9 years since we have many adventures and developed strong partnerships with people like Halls.  Today as we sell our companies  (Blackmoor, SFB, Patriot and Preferred) we do so knowing that our 40+ colleagues are the key to our success, and without their efforts and commitment we are nothing. The right People are everything.

We choose this time to sell because our resources could not keep up with our growth- we needed a bigger park to play. We choose these people because they want to build rather than cut, and would give our employees better benefits at lower costs- Acrisure Holdings was the right company. Being in this industry for +35 yrs this is the first company I’ve met that is as concerned with its people as much as their bottom-line.

This change allowed Bobbi and I to the luxury of picking where we want to live- after much reflection we chose St Petersburg.

But why the hell Florida, you ask?

Bobbi’s Mom and Dad love it there and her Mom is there now most of the time, Matthew just moved there and Collin is starting College there. So, the important element of FAMILY was going to be present. Being close to her Mom was one of the criteria that we set up when making a decision.

We looked at lots of places- Lake Norman, Cincinnati, Atlanta and finding a great high school for Abby was essential – we found one that she loves, the Cantebury school which is a faith based school with a strong Arts and Science programs. It offers small classes and lots of individual teaching- its the right fit. Having Abby have a great high school experience was a critical part of the decision.

We have built a strong network of friends we don’t want to lose. Buying a 7000+ sf house, on the bay/ dock, with a great pool in a great vacation spot seemed like enough of a lure to welcome our friends and family to stay with us. “Living our lives like we are on vacation” became a goal. We want to build new friendships but not lose the great ones we have. So, we found a house that would be as welcoming to our friends as it is to us. We hope to have the opportunity to build great adventures with  dear friends adding us to their vacation plans. And of course Rachel, Andrew, Ashleigh and Hailey will be regular VIPs to our home- we want to make it easy for them to be there often. ( Hailey think Disney World!)

The final decision came down to comfort level. We knew that staying in Pennsylvania was the easy, safe choice- and that the sale of the business gave me the opportunity not to work. But choosing easy has never been our style, its just not who we are- we live a “reality show life”, that is sometimes a little “Survivor” and sometimes a little “Kardashians” but never, never dull. Deciding to move to a new state, without friends in town and taking on new challenges with an exciting great company would push us out of our comfort zone. Sometimes your life needs a kick start . Facing the sloped end of my 50’s scared the crap out of me, I want to live my life as a 38 year old not a 78 year old.  So we chose hard, risky and exciting- lets hope it is the road less traveled, that will be all the difference.

So, here I sit planning my apology to my old college friend Jeff “Florida” Wisor whom I once told that Florida was the arm pit of the country. I am filling out my Publix store card application thinking of exactly how do I admit I was so wrong to so many people. How does one offer an apology to an entire State?

Yes, I still hate the humid hot summers and will always hate the cockroaches even if they name them cute things like palmetto bugs. But I do have to admit that this is both the most scary and exciting thing I have ever done, and at 57 I feel that I am raging against the night. I plan to be working very hard, enjoying every blessing this world has given me and building even stronger friendships.

The future is Bright especially in the Sunshine State.

( I still hate Florida State…Go PSU)










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Rule #102: $300 charge for Vomiting in the Cab

Rule #102: $300 charge for Vomiting in the Cab

I was in Fort Myers Florida yesterday and had the pleasure of being transported from the hotel to the airport in a taxi with 2  8 x 10 signs posted to both back windows that read:

$300 Charge for Vomiting in the Cab

My two questions were when did these signs become necessary, and am I sitting in the place that caused the need for the signs?

The cab driver assured me that this was not due to his cab, but he was required by the Fort Myers government to display the signs because of an incident where the cab driver demanded a payment of $300 to clean up the cab when one of his customers had blown groceries all over his cab. Surprisingly the incident did not occur because the passenger has Ebola or food poisoning,  but because he had drank too much at the bar that he was picked up from. Go figure.

I imagined our hero cab driver, already just trying to eke out a living in the face of unregulated Uber drivers, explaining the fairness of the passenger paying for the mess he made tossing his cookies in his van. And the passenger’s lawyers arguing that because “vomiting charges” were not clearly in writing his client could not be possibly expected to pay for damage he cause. After all his client was denied the right to read a full disclosure of possible charges then how could he have possibly known that he would be responsible to clean up the mess.

This is what is wrong with our society- we don’t want to be accountable for our own mistakes, and we are constantly seeking others to blame for our own stupidity. We avoid responsible and hire lawyers to shift to others what is clearly their own.

I asked the cabbie why there were no signs needed in the cab for penalties for urinating or defecating in the cab, and why was there no charge if I decided to break one of the window.  He reply was a truthful but painful…”not yet”

The culture that we have developed that requires full written disclosure to buy a sugary drink from a convenience store is out of control.  We need to be taxed to keep us from drinking, because we may hurt ourselves.

We now believe it is the government’s role to help us from the evil people that may want us to clean up our own barf. We aren’t going to accept a D in chemistry because no one explained fully to us that we actually had to attend class. Nothing is our fault because we have to live our lives believing that everyone is a complete moron and without  someone telling us not to do it we ‘d be lighting ourselves on fire and drinking bleach.   No one is responsible for anything because there are no consequences to our actions.

Part of being an functioning adult is to know that if you broke it you brought it.
It requires that we be able to function effectively without needing  someone to tell us to clean up our own messes.

We can do better. Clean up your own vomit.







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Rule # 92: Live deliberately- snowshoe rule


Rule #92: Live deliberately-snowshoe rule

“The mass of men live lives of quiet desperation, and go to the grave witb the song still inside them”

Thereau, Walden

I think about that book and the that wonderful quote often. You will find yourself as you approach 60 thinking about it a great deal as well. It sums up the experience, the essence of life’s quest.

Two books to read in your youth are Walden and A Pilgrams Progress, very different books. But they both point to the importance of finding purpose in our lives. Sometime late at night in your late 50’s you will think of these books and ask yourself “does my life have purpose?”, “did I do things that allows me to sing the song God gave me?”

There are only two decisons you make in life that will allow you to answer YES to those questions with certainty.

The first is to choose to look at life as a gift or a burden.

We are all faced snowshoeing through the blizzard of challenges in life. There will be periods of white outs where we are completely blinding us to where we are headed. Some of us will choose to curse the storm and damn God for putting us in it rather than Aruba. These people will sit down, refusing to move.. Dying pissed off and angry at God. Its a cold and bitter way to live,

Others will choose a path, and make a decision to walking towards the warmth of a cabin with a warm fire and brandy. It comes down to believing that the cabin is  there or not, and it requires movement to get there. Movement is life. Staying still will lead to a frozen heart.

The certainties are that there will be a storm, and that none of us know for certain if the cabin even exists.

The second decision is who we choose to travel with in our life.

Some of us are loners and trust no one. They choose  lives of self reliance where they charge into the storm, trusting in no one and nothing but themselves.  A few make it to the cabin, but they drink alone.

Others find a leader who’s guide rope they can grab on to when they can see nothing in front of them. It could be family, friends, church, work… Often a spouse or partner. Choicing the right rope is everthing.

There are many that lead in circles. Others that lead you off the steepest ice clifts. Finding the right guiderope to hold on to, and being able to trust that they care as much about you as themselves is the key. They may not know where they are going ( because honestly none of us do) but they do care about you. Choosing the right rope will make all the difference.

Some times we grab on to the wrong rope, and only deep in the storm we realize that we are only being lead, and not care for by our guiderope puller. Letting go of that rope can be the scarest thing that we do in our lives..  But the most important. Choicing the right rope will determine not only if we survive, but if we have a chance to be happy doing so.

We also pull our own ropes with other people following us. Our childern, friends and co- workers watch our rope course in complete trust in us because their course will be changed with our rope change. Choose wisely.

Enjoy the blizzard…stay warm and keep moving.



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Rule # 71: When in doubt seek structure

Rule # 71: When in doubt seek structure

Throughout your life you will find yourself lost at different times. Lost, unable to find direction or purpose and it is in these times you will feel like your life has no meaning. When this happens you will be most vulnerable to depression and self-harm.

When you lose focus life becomes scary and lonely fast, its is all too easy to become buried in self doubt- confidence is one of those things that just seems to disappear if not feed a steady diet of affirmation. Even simple things become hard once start rolling down the slope of uncertainty.

The important thing to understand is you are not alone or strange for having these feelings. It is a certainty of the human condition that there will be times when the next steps seem impossible to find.  Nothing is more certain than uncertainty.

I have been in bad relationships, they starts with lack of clarity  about someone’s feelings towards you and leads to you doubting yourself. Simple things like buying groceries or picking out clothes become unbearably hard because of over thinking every action. The gift of intelligence can become a curse as we try not only to understand what we are doing but how it is interpreted by others. Its hard believe but in these dark times of uncertainty things like deciding on the right pair of shoes paralyze you from leaving the room. And this is from a man who only owns four pairs of shoes at time.

At times we need to accept our stupidity and our lack of control of the world.

When these clouds of uncertainty and fear appear on the horizon we need to seek structure.

As a father of 6 and the owner of several businesses with large amounts of debt I have felt the pain of failure and uncertainty. There have been days when the choice between loafer and oxford seemed far more difficult than differential calculus. Where I start at these times is to add structure…simple structure and keep adding it till I get my feet level.

It starts with setting the alarm, 6am everyday, including weekends.

Then regular bedtimes, forcing myself to be in bed by 11 pm. Sleeping and waking may seem like very silly things, but they are at epicenter of find  a lost footing in life. Start with this and all else will follow more easily.

Sometime we need to ask for help. A spouse, love one, friend or sibling are good choices. But ask for help if you can’t find a starting place.  Saying ” I think things are not headed in the right direction in my life, and I need your help” can be very powerful words.  I think its important for all of us to realize that we have a bit of a submissive side to ourselves, and accepting direction can be both rewarding and powerful. Ask for someone else to hold the lead while you find your footing. Asking for help may be the most important, and yet hardest thing you do.

And keep giving into structure, the more lost you feel, the more structure you add. Add regular exercise and  be fanatical about it. Add routines such as clothes washing, grocery shopping and other activity to a increasing defined and rigid structure, you will need certainty in your life. We all secretly crave structure and certainty in an very uncertain world – these routines can bring back confidence and safety to our lives. Not that we all want to be dominated ( unless you are into that sort of thing…just saying) but we all crave certainty. Knowing what happens next. Alarm clocks and schedules help give us that.

Three thing is our lives move us in the opposite direction from the structure.

Unhealthy people. People with addictions, bad habits uncentered lives want to drags us into their unhealthiness. Beware the enabler, the person that is equally lost but tries to convince you giving up is your only option.

Alcohol and drugs. For short period of times we can self medicate ourselves out of the pain of uncertainty by drinking or using drugs to mask the confusion in our lives. Just because we blackout doesn’t mean the problems won’t be there in the morning.

The internet. Yes the internet. The consent stream of stimulus and response from web searches and online interaction can make you feel that virtual in good. Why seek friends if there are is an unending supply on Facebook? These friends are here 24/7 , 365 days a year, their raw availability gives us false sense of certainty. When lost the worst  place to turn is the web.  I don’t care how many likes and re-tweets you 140 character of wisdom gets, it doesn’t give you a moment of pure confidence pure structure will give you. Try a month of non- internet  during these times of uncertainty- trust me Donald Trump and Beyoncé  will still be there when you come back. So will

The world is a scary uncertain place, setting your alarm, going to bed early and regularly and living a structured life will bring you the confidence and purpose you have lost. I’ve said it earlier in the blog, but few things make you feel more confident than making a bed.




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Rule #93: Snowflakes Melt- don’t be a snowflake

Rule #93: Snowflakes Melt- don’t be a snowflake

Rarely do things go my way in life on a day to day basis, adversity is part of my daily existent. Things break in the house, kids get sick and I don’t get over half the business I try to get .. in short most of the time day to day existence in life in is a grind. Yet, I am profoundly grateful  for the life I have been given.

I wake every morning to new opportunity. As my weight will attest I do not want for food, shelter or basics needs… that first level of the Maslow Pyramid is covered by a warm blanket of certainty that has been their since my parents place on me the day I was born. I was born into privilege, not just the white kind, but the broader deeper one of being blessed by having good parents who loved me and gave me the confidence to know that all life has to offer us is a blessing from God. I don’t feel guilt for that blanket, but feel deeply grateful.

My kids don’t yet think of it in the spiritual context I do, but they understand the concept well. I was talking to them during Christmas time and asked them why they have the confidence to do the things they are doing, and they said “it is because it will always work out”.  That doesn’t mean they won’t fail, in fact they have the certainty that they will have a failure in their life. But they know, truly know, that if they stay focused on doing the right things, caring for others and themselves they will find a way past these failures.

When Stephen told me he was leaving for his doctorate work at the University of Hawaii and had no housing arranged as he boarded a plane for the 5,000 mile trip I was far more worried than him. He knew he had options ( which he used) of hostiles, YMCA  and other places until he finalized his arrangements 45 days later. He not only survived, he thrived, knowing that he was going to get through it.

Bobbi and I did not raise snowflakes that melt with the first warm beams of adversity. We raised strong independent personalities prepared to deal with life’s pressures without becoming a puddle of disappointment. We encourage them to take risks, and when they failed we taught them to shake it off and keep moving.

Yesterday Abby was talking to me about a couple of her schoolmates complaining about grades in school, she told me that her advice to them was to ” keep moving”. She gets it. Our children do no fail by not achieving a goal, they fail by giving up and stopping moving forward. Motion in our lives is what matters, not the stumbles that happen on the path. I for one have very skinned knees ( and a metal one) from my journey so far and expect many more falls.

Life owes us nothing, we are entitled to nothing- everything we have is earned or loss not by an unfair world, but by a world that recognizes that we aren’t entitled to anything. Often I become discourage by perceived unfairness of the world, the “why me” moments of life. Then I step back and realize I’m not that damn important, and am lucky to be here and have the opportunity to keep moving.

In 2017 I have had friends who have started battles with illnesses, illnesses so significant they would melt a 500 lb snowman, let alone a snowflake. Yet these friends tell me “God has a plan” and ” It will all work out the way it is meant to”. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t fighting back everyday against illness, they just fight the fight with two clear understandings – that they are not in control, and that they will end up where they are suppose to be.

I worry about the world because I see people becoming more and more entitled, demanding more protection and guarantees in life. They no longer trust that their efforts will lead them where they’re suppose to be, they now want certainty and no failure. They want guarantees for healthcare, education, housing, food- they want a life free of worry and concern.  What they fail to understand is that the worry about those things is what drives us forward to our destiny, it is what inspires us all to get up every morning and face the day with energy and excitement. Fear and need motivates us.

You didn’t get the account. Your spouse wants a divorce. Your car broke down and you can’t afford to fix it. You get cancer. Your company lays you off. Shit happens deal with it, and move forward. You are not a snowflake you are a blessed by God and have the opportunity to move forward. You will not melt. Keep moving.




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Rule #88: Guilt is no aphrodisiac

Rule # 88: Guilt is no aphrodisiac

In keeping this blog I try to share insights to my children when they are revealed to me.
I make effort to keep the rules practical, leading to specific life advice that can help guide them in their life decisions.

I have watched several of my kids deal with breaking up with girlfriends or boyfriends. Through my words and action I have instill a strong moral sense, and the desire to do the ” right thing” in my children’s lives. I’ve seen the kids enter and leave relationships with the desire to be seen as the “nice guy/girl” and not hurt anyone. This desire to be liked and to be kind may seem like it good thing, but it may not be so clear.

One of the proudest moments of my life was when my son Collin said at the Thanksgiving table during our annual ” go around the table and say what you are thankful for” rituals that he was Thankful to have a stepfather that was the most honorable man he knew. That made me feel really great, but also worried me.

Had my process of protecting the family, and taking the high road put too much of a moral burden on my kids. Because the simple fact is that in breaking up with someone who doesn’t want be broken up with is a messy painful process. Moral high road can become  impassable, filled with fallen trees of the relationships past failures.

There is a line spoken by Dorothy in the movie Jerry MacGuire that sums up the problem pretty well. It is when she is explaining to Jerry why they have to end the relationship and why they have to walk away..

“My need to make the best of things, and your need to be what, “responsible”… if one of us doesn’t say something now we might lose ten years being polite about it.”

I may have taught my kids to be too polite in relationships.

Through my example of “responsibility” and what Collin called ‘Honor” I have taught them that you have fight for your relationship and work through the hard times. I taught them that men don’t run, they stay and fight for their families. Which is true a lot of the time, even most of the time. Just not all the time.

If you are staying in a bad relationship or a unhealthy relationship then the honorable thing may be to leave with grace. If the reasons you are staying are no longer centered in love and caring for each other, but are now driven by a desire not to hurt someone or out of guilt – leaving becomes the healthy thing to do.

The degree of responsibility increases dramatically with marriage and kids, so in the early relationships that do not work its important to act quickly.

You can’t find romantic relationships through guilt, guilt is no aphrodisiac. Guilt is often the unhealthy -having you stay with an abusive partner or a dangerous person. Guilt can sacrifice your personal happiness for the pretend  happiness of doing no harm.

Damage people often fight dirty, find guilt in your pass actions, threaten harm to themselves and others. Damaged people can make you feel very guilty and ashamed.

In relationships you will find yourself with damaged people, who’s weaknesses sometimes don’t appear till under stress. In these new relationships its important to understand that being honorable doesn’t mean you ignore all the stop signs and stay with unhealthy people. Its being truthful in your emotions, and honestly saying what you believe. Sometimes the most honorable thing to say is “this isn’t working for me” or ” I don’t love you” or ” I don’t want the same things you want”.

Honor is complex, its not always being the nurturer or protector, sometimes its being the person brave enough to say its over. Accepting that life isn’t about being seen as being the nice guy to others, living with honor is living your life truthfully and fully.

Speak honestly, kindly and directly- the rest will take care of itself and you will find true honor.










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Take a Mulligan 2016

Take a Mulligan 2016

I try to not be too political in my blog which was intend for a guide book for my children’s lives. I know that political seasons change, and generally this country has had effective committed leaders through both parties- and it generally all works. Not perfect but works.

This years election I have struggled as I have seen poor behavior at such a degree it explains how Jerry Springer was once elected Mayor of Cincinnati. We have found the lowest common denominator and it is zero. I don’t think we can’t lower the bar any further. We have one candidate that can’t seem to help himself from saying stupid crude crazy things, and the other that can’t seem to tell the truth. The third party candidates can’t even name one world leader. We as a country are in deep do-do.

So I am taking a Mulligan.

Yes we need to pick up the ball and everyone pretend we never hit into the swamp. We need to all agree that we can do better on a second swing, after all how exactly could we do worse?

I’m urging my blog followers to write in MULLIGAN as their choice for President of the United States. Vote for the rest of the positions, but let’s write in MULLIGAN to show both parties that we are disgusted and ashamed of the choices they have given us this year.

They can do better.

We deserve better.

Send a message  #Takeamulligan2016


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