Father-Son Duo, Team Hoyt, Celebrates 37 Years of Inspiring Teamwork With One Last Boston Marathon

 PHOTO: Dick Hoyt pushes Rick Hoyt as they compete in the 2008 Boston Marathon on April 21,2008 in Hopkinton, Massachusetts.

In 1962, Dick and Judy Hoyt welcomed their son, Rick, into an unsuspecting world; a world that would forever be changed by their presence and sacrifice. Because of complications with his birth, Rick was diagnosed as a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy. According to a CBS interview, Dick remembers the advice of the doctors who suggested that his son would essentially be non-functioning, and that he should place him in an institution.

Dick refused. Continue reading

Anywhere But Here

Before you, I was free.

I had my choice of the time of day I woke up.

My breakfast, lunch, and dinner were all prepared one serving at a time, strictly to my liking.

Privacy and choices were as abundant as air and light.

I was accountable for every decision I made, because I was the only one who had to live with their consequences.

Living life was comfortable, and that’s how I liked it.

I couldn’t imagine living anywhere but here.

Then, the news came.

Two red lines where there should be one.

In a split second, my definition of manhood disintegrated, and as the dust settled, all that remained was one word, that label of which I was informed I would become soon.

Dad.

Contemplating this fork in the road, I wanted to be anywhere but here.

Before long, my freedom would inevitably fizzle.

I would have to wake up all hours of the night and early on the weekends.

My meals would be dictated by when you were hungry, eaten only after you were satisfied.

Privacy would become a precious commodity found only within the fortress of solitude that is a locked bathroom.

Choice would become a satellite orbiting your world, fully dependent upon your comfort, your safety, your wellbeing, and above all, your happiness.

Living life would forever become a complex web of neverending dilemmas, anxiety-ridden burdens, and seemingly incurable worries.

Now, that’s how I love it.

As a man, I helped make you a child.

As my child, you made me a father

Today, I can’t see myself happier.

Anywhere but here.

Write Your Own Obituary

Deep in thoughtThe topic of death terrifies most of us. Facing our own mortality is neither a pleasant thought, nor is it one that most of us would choose to entertain on a daily basis. Even as I type the word “death,” I am suddenly reminded of the absolute truth that all of us will die, including myself and all of those whom I love — or not.

With this week’s passing of Westboro’s infamous Fred Phelps, I am reminded once again that death comes for us all. It matters not how we live our lives, for death is an immutable event and one of life’s few universal commonalities, though the chosen trajectories of each life may dictate the timing of our day of ultimate atonement. Continue reading

A New Definition of Leadership

Female Leader

Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, recently proposed that we ban the word “bossy.”  Her reasoning?

“When a little boy asserts himself, he’s called a ‘leader.’ Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded ‘bossy.’ Words like bossy send a message: don’t raise your hand or speak up. By middle school, girls are less interested in leading than boys—a trend that continues into adulthood.”

A little over a month ago, I posted a quote from Sandberg on my website’s Facebook page: “I want every little girl who is told she is bossy to be told she has leadership skills.”  The post ignited a firestorm of commentary.  However, my reasoning behind the post was for my daughters.  I want them to grow up in a world that values their leadership skills, especially considering the level of time and effort I am investing in teaching them these skills.  As a professor whose doctorate is in leadership studies, it was only a matter of time before I waded into the issue. Continue reading

Welcome to the new site!

Mindful-Dad.org has a new look, as you can see!  All of the articles from the old site are still around, but now, easier to browse & find.  Check out the new feature in the sidebar, “Categories” to find more of what you want to read.  Also, new sharing features make it easier to pass along items of interest.

Many thanks go out to http://www.mothershaven.com for their generous sponsorship of this upgrade!

Our Words Become Theirs: How One Bad Day Became a Profound Lesson in Parenting

The night before was daddy-kid movie night. Together, my kids and I gathered up nearly every pillow and stuffed animal in the house (which is a lot!), and carefully transformed the basement playroom floor into one giant and colorful cushion.

This is a family tradition that we try to reenact at least once a week, but usually on Fridays, since it provides both a great cap on the end of the regular week, but also serves as a great intro to a weekend filled with adventures.  Continue reading

Coming Back Around: Catching Up With the Ticket Agent at the Delta Counter

When I originally wrote the article, “To the Ticket Agent at the Delta Counter,” I was not prepared for such an overwhelming public response. In fact, I only wrote the article because my wife suggested I do so as a lesson in seeking forgiveness and being a good example to my children. 

I will admit freely that, while writing the article, I had the same response as many have stated they had while reading it: I cried. For once, however, I didn’t cry solely because I tend to be overly sensitive. I cried because, as I wrote the story, I realized the importance of what I was writing. This was not just a letter to a man whom I would probably never meet again. It was not just a letter that might survive me and provide evidence to my children and future grandchildren that, once upon a time, there lived a dad who tried to do the right thing when all of his instincts told him to just drop it and move on with his lousy day.  Continue reading