Life’s Too Short

Bob PinoI’ve been thinking about my Dad a lot lately. It’s been 5.5 years since he passed away from cancer, but that wasn’t the first disease he/we battled with in his life. The realization came to me the other day that he was my age when he was hit with Multiple Sclerosis. As a kid, I watched my Dad go from a guy I could kick a soccer ball with, to a hospital bed for 3 months, only to come out in a wheelchair for many years to come. In that time, they also determined he had diabetes that would require injections multiple times a day indefinitely.

My Dad was never accused of being “healthy” in any form. He did drugs for years, ate too much, didn’t exercise, was angry and yelled a lot. Too many things to pass off as just “being Italian.” Even so, being a child watching him have mobility, energy, dignity stripped from him, was heartbreaking. I had to be “the man of the house”. My Mom and I had to do everything. I mean how many kids are lifting their Dad in and out of bed, or the bathtub, or the toilet? How many are loading wheelchairs into the car, check the oil in the engine and air in the tires, etc? How many go from a fairly normal income to below the poverty line because their Dad no longer works and Mom can’t because she’d had to become his nurse? I don’t say this as a sob story, it’s just my childhood story.

What smacked me in the face is that he was MY AGE when this started! Whether his (reckless) life caught up with him or whatever it was, he was hit hard. Only later in life to see good progress in his MS but then get hit with cancer multiple times, finally leading to his 59 year old death.

What’s now on my mind? How unhealthy I am. There are things in life we can’t control, but food & beverage intake, exercise, how we handle our finances, etc are well within our power to control. I don’t want my kids to live the life I did. I don’t want them to have to grow up too fast. I don’t want them to lose me too early. Outside of my wife, Amy, they are the greatest blessing in my life.

So, will this all change overnight? Of course not. Can this change if I commit to consistency for my sake and their sake? Of course it can!

Before I end this, I do have to put the silver-lining on this cloud. In the last 10 years of his life, my Dad was a different guy in many ways. Most importantly, he took his KNOWLEDGE of God, Jesus, & Church and turned it into a RELATIONSHIP with them. While his physical body was failing, his spiritual one thrived. Silver-lining indeed.

I loved my Dad, even with all his shortcomings, because he was my Dad. But, I’m proud of my Dad, because his last decade modeled a committed life to his Creator. I can’t wait to see him one day in Heaven…without pain, sickness, and disease. BUT that day is going to be a long long time from now. I will not allow myself to undermine my health and my family’s future anymore!

If you read this whole post, thanks…but also, get back to whatever you should be doing . Life’s too important (& short) to stare at your phone all day! :)

Written by Andrew Pino

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Innovative Leadership Traits

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If you’re looking to be the best leader possible, this list of 6 leadership traits is a great place to start.

Innovative Leaders:

  • Create a climate of reciprocal trust. Innovation often requires some level of risk. Not all innovative ideas are successful. Highly innovative leaders initiate warm, collaborative relationships with the innovators who work for them. They make themselves highly accessible. Colleagues know that their leader will cover their backs and not throw them under the bus if something goes wrong.
  • Display fearless loyalty to doing what’s right for the organization and customer. Pleasing the boss or some other higher level executive always takes a back seat to doing the right thing for the project or the company.
  • Put their faith in a culture that magnifies upward communication. These leaders believe that the best and most innovative ideas bubble up from underneath. They strived to create a culture that uncorks good ideas from the first level of the organization. They are often described as projecting optimism, full of energy, and always receptive to new ideas.
  • Are persuasive. These individuals are highly effective in getting others to accept good ideas. They do not push or force their ideas onto their teams. Instead, they present ideas with enthusiasm and conviction, and the team willingly follows.
  • Excel at setting stretch goals. These goals require people to go far beyond just working harder. These goals require that they find new ways to achieve a high goal.
  • Are candid in their communication. These leaders are described as providing honest, and at times even sometimes blunt, feedback. Subordinates feel they can always count on straight answers from their leader.

This post is adapted from a recent HBR article. Interested in reading the full article? Click Here

Posted by Andrew Pino

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Raising Grateful Kids

IMG_2995“I am NOT wearing jeans! I’m never wearing pants, EVER,” she screams as she collapses onto the floor in an absolute fit. <insert disciplinary action> Dresses only, thank you very much, for both of my girls right around the 3-4 year old mark. And while I don’t mind them wearing dresses a majority of the time, it’s not practical for the everyday…at least not our everyday. Pants and jeans were purchased for a reason and we are going to wear all of the clothes that we have with a grateful attitude, I explain for the 42nd time. She lets out a scream as I say this and collapses onto the floor again, mad as can be. <insert 2nd disciplinary action> After this scene is repeated another time (oh yes she did!), I got smarter. “Sweetheart, because you chose to continue throwing fits, being disrespectful and having an ungrateful attitude about your clothes, you have now lost your dresses, nightgowns and dress up clothes through Sunday.” <insert wailing and gnashing of teeth and a profuse amount of “I’ll never do that again.”> She, of course, did lose her “dress privileges,” but, an amazing thing happened…she stopped fighting me about the pants. It’s a small win, but I’ll take it!

If you’re struggling with entitled kids, you aren’t alone! It’s a battle we fight on a regular basis -raising grateful kids. Over the next month or so, I plan to share some of the strategies we’ve put into place in our home that will hopefully be encouraging and helpful to you; especially in the upcoming season, but today, I wanted to share a post that I read and loved over at “We Are That Family.”

She has some excellent thoughts and ideas and I find myself reading it and saying, “Yes! Exactly!” Read it, get some ideas and tell me what you think! How do you combat this with your kids or with yourself?

Written by Amy Pino

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Your Title Is Dad, Not Friend

IMG_2617I know some of you may read that title and think “I want to be both” and while that concept is good in theory, it’s often poorly executed and leads to kids with issues.

We are called to be Fathers and lead our children in a way that glorifies God, our Heavenly Father. To model that, takes far more discipline then most of us guys want to exert. We’d rather just leave it to our wives to be “the mean parent” and we’ll be the hero, the cool parent, the fun one.

When we aim for “being a friend”, we miss the target God set before us altogether. It’s through you that your kids will learn discipline, patience, anger management, integrity, character, etc. (Moms don’t get upset, they learn this stuff from you too, but Dads/Husbands are called to lead their homes)

If we will strive to be the kind of Father we’re called to be, our kids will look to us with the respect we so deeply desire. That then becomes the foundation of a lasting and influential relationship with our kids.

I want my daughters to know that I love them and care for them enough to correct them (in love) when they do something wrong. I want my son to see that I can handle anger without yelling and screaming because God has equipped me to do so.

Trust me, I have walked the friend/Dad line plenty. This post is as much for me as it is for you! So lets do something about it. Lets rise to the call placed on us. Lets lead our kids and model what a Father and Husband should look like. I guarantee if we do, our kids will consider us their best friends in the long run.

Written by Andrew Pino

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