Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Disregard the Dirty Hippie

Leo Chingkwake, from Wikipedia. Would you take leadership advice from this guy?

I'm on vacation, hence the lack of blog posts, but I was inspired today to write.  My family and I headed out for our day's adventures and stopped by a little coffee shop.  The place had plenty of character, not the least which was the "Fluoride is poison" bumper sticker on the outside of the door.  But hey, I never hesitate to engage in discussion with folks that don't think like me, so in we went.

Yup, this was on the door.  Apparently the science isn't settled by those who continue to fear basic water chemistry.

The coffee shop was awesome.  Besides my white mocha (and my wife's decaf mocha) we had some vegan pumpkin muffins and split a natural candy bar between the kids.  The place had a host of older wooden toys for the kids to play with, so my wife and I relaxed while the kids played nicely.  Well, almost nicely.  My two year old is going through a nasty phase and sometimes pummels her older siblings.  After taking a toy from my son (which he graciously let her do, despite her being rude), she wasn't happy enough, so she hit him.

Yeah, we can't have that.  She then started making a scene when I told her to apologize, so I took her outside, since I didn't feel the other coffee patrons needed to endure her crying.  I walked into the small parking lot and let her cry for a minute, hoping she'd calm down.  Nope.  My daughter now has a nasty trick where she gets so worked up that she eventually throws up everywhere.  This has the added bonus of making her parents focus on cleanup and not on discipline.  The solution (so far) has been to spank her when she starts getting worked up, which tends to stop the workup and keep everything in the stomach where it belongs.

So I spanked her.  Her crying stopped, she said she was sorry, we hugged and went back inside.  All was well...

Except for the dirty hippie on the porch.  I had passed him with my daughter in hand.  I actually walked a bit farther out of respect (as much respect as one can garner for someone who needs to take a shower) because I didn't want to spoil his coffee-drinking experience.  As I walked back in, he mumbled something in hippie-ese, probably along the lines of "my hippie mother never spanked me for smoking too much pot when I was 2 years old."  Whatever, I thought.  I didn't bother engaging with him.

So the kids are back playing, I'm relaxing with my wife, and now dirty hippie comes inside.  He doesn't say anything to me, but he sits at a nearby table and stares.  We're talking hippie death stare.  He doesn't say anything, but he does text on his phone.  Oh, he has an iPhone by the way.  I am suddenly more thankful I bought an Android.

I wanted to do this so badly....
After 5 minutes of staring, I began counting in my head the number of still-functioning brain cells in dirty hippie's head.  I didn't get far until I realized we needed to head out to better things, so we left.  He didn't follow us, but he kept on staring.  I had half a mind to throw him a dollar for the water he needed to shower with...but I didn't.

As a parent, the world is full of advice, most of it bad.  As a leader, there is also plenty of advice.  The Navy is a unique place to work, and needs a unique leadership style that wouldn't work elsewhere and catches plenty of criticism in the outside world.  More importantly, I continue to be challenged on almost every decision I've ever made.  Every one.  There is always someone who will tell me the choices and decisions I made were wrong.  On occasion, they're correct.  In most cases, they are wrong.
If spankings prevent this, I'm all about it!

Theodore Roosevelt had a saying about being the one having to make the decision verses being the armchair quarterback.  It's quite applicable in everyday life.  You'll never make any sort of important decision without a critic.  But nobody makes statues to critics.  You get to live with your decisions, not the critic.  Think your decisions through, but don't expect validation from others.  I doubt my two year old will thank me for spanking her in the near future...I'll just be happy if she grows up to be a respectful person and not a hippie attempting to give bad parenting advice in a coffee shop.

Besides, dirty hippie doesn't have to cleanup toddler vomit.