Wednesday, August 17, 2011

60,000 Minutes...

It was a perfect Sunday afternoon.  The kind made for the most tranquil of naps.  The kind where the sun played stop and go - hinting that it would emerge from the gloomy clouds just until you reached the door, at which it seemed to comically speed back to its overcast state.  The boys stood looking through the patio door...waiting...wanting.  So did I.  I waited to be swept away into Dreamland while suggesting we play the quiet game on my favorite couch.  What I wanted was REM sleep!

It was magical!  I'd somehow entered a new and wonderful place.  There were balloons and talking dogs.  It all felt so real.  Just as magically, hot breath began to form on my left eye lid causing me to turn my head just enough to catch what was later said to have been as a whisper.

"I'm knee hurts."
"Which knee?" I said with my eyes still closed.
"My elbow hurts"

The chuckles in the background were not amusing.  Having been sitting around watching the movie UP, the kids had found a way to become bored and turned their attention to the old guy faced-down on the couch.  While I didn't find their afternoon antics Kevin Hart like, I did understand.  I understood that they needed a hobby to act as a sort of diversion.  Preferably one that took their attention away from me!
It was then that I sat up and had them turn off the TV.  Wiping my now damp eye lid gave way to more chuckles until I asked a simple question. "What is it that you want to be when you grow up?  You can be anything. Go!"  I could almost see the possibilities swimming through their minds.  Because I asked them this often, they must have prepared themselves because in unison they proudly replied..."We want to make shoes!"

Now that was a new one for me and I immediately felt compelled to avert their sweat shop dreams- and quickly!  "How about you design them, I said."  Simultaneously their mouths dropped open as one mentioned his perceived inability to draw.  It was then I repeated to them one of the most profound notions I'd ever heard.  The boy was just standing there with his head hanging low when I said, "Take my shoes off boy!" With him looking down, I'd noticed him standing on the back of both my only pair of good church shoes!

Then I said, "In order to be considered a professional at anything, it's been studied that you need to practice for 10,000 hours or 60,000 minutes."  I continued, "Whether its sports or simply drawing, a dedication to your craft will get you to where you want to be."  Having read this in a recent book, I relied on its statements and their scientific study to prove my point.  Now it was time for them to prove it to themselves.  I had them gather tons of paper and begin designing.

From the beginning it was clear that the boy was justified in hanging his head.  His first concept design looked like a sort of geriatric corrective ape boot!  Then something amazing happened.  The more time they put in, the better they got!  After what seemed to them like hours, they ran back to me and proudly displayed their designs.  I must say - I was impressed.  They'd come a long way from their early Air Primate designs to footwear I'd actually like to wear.

After explaining to them that they had come so far after only twenty minutes, I couldn't wait to see what they'd do after another 59,980 minutes!  By the time I awoke, their rooms were covered in concept ideas.  Taped on the walls, mirrors, and beds, they'd clearly become inspired by this notion.

In was a perfect Sunday night.  The kind made for the most cramped of hands.  The kind where I admired their work as I tucked them into Dreamland.  There I stood...waiting...wanting...  So I did.  After reaching over to whisper good night, I breathed on their eye lids the hottest of breaths just before tucking them in.  Then, reaching the doors to their rooms, I turned to "whisper"..."My fingers hurt!" They were not amused.

To read more please be sure to purchase a copy of my soon to be published book chronicling my life as a single father.  Also, feel free to donate toward its costs if you so choose by clicking the donate button @ Thanks for taking this journey with me.
Miracles and Blessings

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