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Our children’s Upbringing is Not Our Own

Our children’s Upbringing is Not Our Own 1440 810 Jason Stadtlander

Fifteen years ago, I saw my son emerge into the world and it was the first time I can really remember getting choked up at the emotion of an experience. Here was this tiny living person that I had helped create, someone that was part of me and part of someone I loved. A tiny person that could not even feed themselves, had yet to learn to walk or speak. Activities that his mother and I had the responsibility to teach. Elements to living that we would not even realize we were teaching, things like compassion for others, learning to pet an animal gently, or showing respect.

Among the more interesting things have been hiking, biking, learning to swim, and learning to climb. Being able to live my own childhood again through my children’s eyes. Sitting on a deck while drinking coffee as they chase a duck down by the pond and remembering my own years of sneaking up on a turtle or trying to pet a rabbit. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your child’s childhood, to want them to experience everything you experience. I’ve taken my children on trips all over the United States and tried to show them things that I experienced.

A few months ago, I asked my son some of his favorite things we had done. He rattled off places like Cape Cod, Maine, Montana, giving specifics of going to beaches and going on whale watches and it got me thinking. I have strived to always take him to places that I loved while growing up, like Ohio, Lake Erie, and Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. Don’t get me wrong, he enjoyed Mammoth cave and liked some of the things I did as a child, but they were not his favorite. For a moment I got a little upset, I didn’t let him know it, but I was very annoyed that he didn’t enjoy the things I did as a child.

One of the most rewarding experiences about being a parent, especially beyond the elementary years is not having your children relive your own experiences, but watching them live through their own.

How could he not absolutely love the Air and Space Museum in Dayton? As strange as it sounds, it was the first time that I really stood back and realized that it was because he was living his own childhood, not mine. My son was his own person and was experiencing a childhood through very different eyes than mine.

Some of my greatest experiences have not been things that my parents taught me, but have been discoveries I’ve made on my own. Like traveling the country, the world, and my own inner journey to understand myself better. Sure, my parents laid the foundation and that was critical, but I am the one who stepped off our shores and found out just what the rest of the world sees in America and what part I can play in this whole thing called the human experience.

This led me to another line of thought, what part was I to play in this? My oldest son may be fifteen years old now and I tend to be a little slow to come to realizations on things, but I do think I still have a big part to play. My job in being his father is to expose him to as many things as I can. Not things that I have personally experienced, but things that are new for both of us. Teach him to explore his own world and experience his own discoveries. This is a problem I have seen with my own father and many other parents – trying to force your children to love the things you loved instead of embracing the uniqueness of their own lives and experiences.

One of the most rewarding experiences about being a parent, especially beyond the elementary years is not having your children relive your own experiences, but watching them live through their own. So I will endeavor to help my children face their own future, make their own discoveries and I will strive to realize that their experiences are their own, not mine and there is nothing wrong with that.

Our Legacy and What We Leave Behind

Our Legacy and What We Leave Behind 1707 1280 Jason Stadtlander

The movie “The Road” starring Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee is a movie based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Cormac McCarthy’s book, “The Road.” For those who haven’t seen the film, it is an extremely powerful film about hardship, the love of a child and survival instincts. The book is also an incredible read, but difficult.

That movie – and my novel, The Steel Van Man – have made me wonder about the connection to our children and families, and to ask myself what lengths I might be willing to go to protect my family.

I can attest to my own experiences and feelings toward family, children and the overwhelming need to protect them.

A Family to Live or Die for . . .

protect-the-childrenFor those of you who do not know, I have two children of my own, and I can say without thinking about it, I would kill to protect them. When I am gone from this world, all that will remain of me will be the words I leave behind and my children. Although I hope my writing endures, my children are paramount in all that I do, see, breathe and speak.

In The Road, a father is trying to guide his son to safety, and in doing so,  shows him what is right and what is wrong. At one point, attempting to protect the boy, the man steals the clothes from another man who has just robbed them. The boy later encourages his father to return the clothes to the man and leave behind food for him, showing the father what it means to retain a level of humanity during a time of distress and societal collapse.

At what cost do we allow humanity and society to influence our families? If you have children and are at home reading this, look at your children right now. If you are at work reading this, look at a picture of your children – I’m sure you have one around. What are their lives worth? What is their safety worth? Looking at your child playing on the floor or smiling up at you from that photo. You know that you will do absolutely anything to protect that innocent life. Your needs are (should) be secondary to theirs. You will carry the world on your shoulders, plow through any obstacle and face any challenge to help that little person – that little human who is part of you and someone else. You will help them to become someone special, to be more than you are right now.

Now, look at this from a different perspective. Times are constantly changing, rules of society changing. Some rules for the better and some not. How far will we allow humanity to dictate the final outcome of our children? How much do we allow society to control and skew the perspectives of our children for the betterment of society?

We as a species fight all the time over politics, race, gender classification, and religion. Your race doesn’t matter; neither does your class, gender classification, your spiritual denomination or your job. I know that sounds harsh, but it’s true. It matters to you, but in the great scheme of things none of this matters when it comes to the responsibility of raising your child. Hell, none of them really matter even when you don’t have children. In the end, when you are gone from this world, you are gone for good. Take control of the world around by starting with yourself and your family. Concentrate on what you can change in the immediate, then focus on what seems impossible to change.

Complicated Times – Simple Rules

family-time-is-most-importantWe live in an age of over-stimulation, an age of instant information, social media and media overload. These access points are constantly trying to change our perspective on the world around us. Worse, they are trying to change the perspective of our children, parents be damned.

In our home we have five (primary) rules:

  • Treat others with respect
  • Expect respect, but fight for it if you don’t get it
  • Eat dinner with no television, computers or phones while sitting AT the table – every night
  • Never hit someone, but know how to defend yourself
  • Never, ever lie to those you love

The most important thing to take away from all of this is; Believe in yourself and what you feel is right deep down in your heart, and what you know will guide your child in the right direction.

Because in the end. . . they are what we you leave behind. Our children are what we all leave behind.


Being Positive in a Negative World

Positive Thinking in a Negative World

Positive Thinking in a Negative World 1024 768 Jason Stadtlander

All around us negative things are going on.

Here in the U.S. we are in the process of impeaching our leader and if that is not the current topic, then there is an array of topics that both liberals and conservatives will be happy to throw at you. Shootings are regularly occurring (again, mostly in the U.S.). In other parts of the world, Britain is plagued with Brexit and a few violent eruptions that have recently been occurring, and there are talks of Prince Andrew having ties to Jeffrey Epstein. Iran has an onslaught of protests over government-set fuel prices and we won’t even start on what’s going on in Hong Kong.

All over the world, the economy is on the edge of a precipice that we are uncertain of. This coupled with concerns over retirement and handling our aging parents creates one giant snowball of stress, heartache, and pain.

In a nutshell, the world levels of negativity and pressure are a constant barrage on our daily lives. As a society, we try not to pay too much attention to these problems but historically we have chosen not to pay enough attention to them.

So, the real question is how do we cope with today’s problems and violent confrontations while continuing to raise children, embrace our families and still attempt to mitigate the violence and negativity all around us?

In a single word – communication. Communication with your family, your kids, your family, your friends, and even your co-workers.

I am not proposing that you go and complain about all the problems in the world. There is a significant difference between complaining and discussing.

  • Complaining envolves you walking into a room and verbally vomiting a negative spew of problems at someone.
  • Discussing, on the other hand, would be going to someone you know and trust and letting them know you’re concerned about XYZ and asking how they cope with it. Seeking their advice.

When it comes to children, you might be surprised how much the world’s actions are weighing even on their minds. Most likely, they have a very different perspective than you do. They are hearing things from their friends or their teachers. So it helps to see their perspective and hopefully impart your own wisdom or concerns.

Turning Things Positive

I’ll admit, this is something I struggle with. It is so easy to let the world around you bring you down or squash you. Here are a few things I do to maintain a positive outlook:

  • Appreciate your health. Even if you aren’t the healthiest or even if you’re battling a terrible disease. At the moment, you’re on this side of the ground and you are able to fight. That is always a good thing.
  • Embrace those you love. It may sound silly. But the next time you’re at home, hug your child or your husband or your wife or your girlfriend or your boyfriend. There doesn’t have to be a reason. A hug can do HUGE things in a negative world. It connects us – human to human and touch is a critical thing.
  • Talk to those you care about and ignore those who bring you down. There are always the Debbie Downers out there, keep your conversations with them short. Look to those who you care about and reach out to them even if they don’t reach out to you. There will come a day that you will wish they were there to reach out to.
  • Help others. Research shows that helping others actually creates endorphins which is a brain chemical that will improve your mood.  We are selfish creatures by nature. The act of helping others not only makes their lives better, but it gives you a feeling of self-worth.
  • Resolve problems. Conflict resolution is critical. If you are angry at someone or irritated, approach the person and let them know you’ve been upset. But don’t forget to tell them the reason you are coming to them in the first place is that you don’t want to be upset anymore. Especially if they are someone that you care about.
  • Ask for help. Definitely the most important of all these. If all the negativity around you is feeling too overwhelming, go back to the “communicate” idea. Talk to someone that you care about. Let them know that you’re having a hard time with it.

The world is an amazing place, has a lot of positive elements and will continue to be, long after we are not around to be plagued by its problems. It is how we cope with the world around us and how we take it in that ultimately determines what kind of impact we can make.

The Dos and Don’ts of Monitoring Your Children Online

The Dos and Don’ts of Monitoring Your Children Online 1151 661 Jason Stadtlander

I have been asked about monitoring children for decades. It’s a very real concern that parents, educators and privacy advocates have. Although I do bring it up every few years here on my blog, I thought I would re-approach the topic and shed some light on monitoring today’s children.


The primary concern most parents come to me with is “I want to respect my child’s privacy and I don’t really feel it’s ethical to monitor what they are doing.”

Let me be blunt here, and this comes from years of working with educators and law enforcement:

 there is and should never be any expectation of complete privacy when it comes to a child living under your guardianship.

If you are their parent or guardian, your primary responsibility is their well being and also teaching them right from wrong. Before the Internet did our parents just leave us to our own devices for days on end? No, of course not. If we were going out (even if it was all day) we would let our parents know where we are going and our parents, being responsible would reply “Ok, but I want you back by [fill in the blank].”

Why should this be any different online? In today’s world, social media and our online presence are just as important as our physical one and children are finding ways to assert and understand this online presence early on. We as parents need to understand that this is normal behavior and it is how our children are communicating with their peers and ultimately how they learn to communicate online will reflect how they function in today’s society. We as parents must know (and explain to our children) that we are not ‘dictating’ terms for their online use, but we are guiding and ensuring that they show respect and communicate in channels that are safe for them.

Reasons to Monitor

When I first started working in computers and parents first came to me, they had concerns that their child might be communicating with a child predator or visiting porn sites. We have moved way beyond this when it comes to our children being online. I’m not downplaying either of these concerns, but in today’s world, watching what children do online is more about understanding the people that they are becoming with their online presence. How they behave online can have long term repercussions with their future schooling and even their job employment.

We have moved from a generation of parents that don’t understand why or how children chat online to a generation of parents who not only understand chatting online but do it themselves. We are now not as overly concerned with our children being online as much as where they are going online and what they are posting. Monitoring your child is not solely about installing software on their computer or phone. It’s about communicating with your child, asking them up front, where are they going? What are they using the Internet for? And then checking yourself with their Twitter account, Facebook account or Instagram posts.

Here are some important facts to consider when monitoring your child:

  • Who are they talking to online? Do they know them in person? – This is one of my personal rules with my children (who are under 16). I have no problem with them chatting with friends. But they have to be friends that they know in real life (at least at this point). Stranger Danger is a real concern and it’s something that most schools teach. It’s important to know exactly who your children are talking to. There are times I have seen my children talking online with someone and I regularly will walk up and ask “who are you talking to”. If they can instantly tell me the name and it’s someone they go to school with then I am ok. If there is hesitation, then I know they are thinking up a lie and that it will need further investigation.
  • What apps are they using to chat with? Some of the more popular apps out there are Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, Kik, GroupMe, WhatsApp, Instagram, Tik-Tok, Tumblr, Twitter, Houseparty, Live.me, YouNow and MeetMe are just a few of the apps children are embracing for social connections.
  • What are they talking about? – Most parents that monitor their children’s online activities find they are completely innocent, searching for things that they are curious about, chatting with friends about other friends and activities at school. It’s about being aware, not reading every line of text that flows through their fingers.
  • What are they posting? Ensure that they aren’t posting anything in a public space that can reveal personally identifiable information. Make sure that what they are posting is age appropriate for them. If it is not, ask them to take it down.

Monitoring vs Awareness

As my two previous points have summarized, it really all boils down to you as a parent knowing where your children are going and what they are doing online. It’s not about watching their every move. Children do absolutely need a small amount of privacy, otherwise, they cannot discover who they are and how they fit into this ever-changing world.

Communication is key with children. If they know you will talk to them at any point about anything, then they will be more likely to make sure they aren’t doing something that would be inappropriate. In turn, they also will be more likely to come to you if they have a problem.

I monitor my children with a small piece of software that allows me to control what they access (if I choose) and it allows me to see what they search for online, and what chat apps they are using and even who they are chatting with. I do not generally look at it unless I have cause for concern (changes in their behavior or acting evasively). There are times I have gone in and quickly scanned it just to make sure it’s still on par with their normal online presence, but I generally give them their freedom to be themselves.

My children know I have monitoring software and that I can use it if I need to. But they also know that if they keep an open line of communication with me, I will give them more personal space.

Software Available

There are several good parental software on the market. One of my favorites is Mobicip as it forces all of their network traffic through a single VPN proxy (routes all of their online use through a single entry point). It’s not completely free, though it does have free options, I believe you get what you pay for when it comes to technology. It cannot be removed without the parent removing it (and believe me, my kids have tried). A few others that I have personally worked with are Net Nanny and  Kaspersky.

Generally, when it comes to software, you want software that will help you look back at a history of what your child has been doing online – not necessarily monitor them in real time. You also should look for software that has reviews from a reputable source such as PC Magazine or even check with your local law enforcement.

Educators Should Educate – Not Manipulate

Educators Should Educate – Not Manipulate 1024 926 Jason Stadtlander

In October of 2016 I picked up my children one day from school and my son says, “Daddy, who are you going to vote for?”

I remember looking at him with an expression of concern. “Why do you want to know?”

“Because my teacher said everyone should vote for Clinton.”

I immediately felt a flash of anger. Not because I dislike Hillary Clinton, but because I believe it is vital for children to come to their own conclusions and hear unbiased perspectives, especially from educators. I do not think that any teacher or principal has a right to try and sway my children one way or the other with politics.  I have no problem with them unbiasedly discussing what the political platforms are, and why they (politicians) choose different platforms, but the children should be allowed to come to their own conclusion regarding their own political views.

I got down at eye level with my son and gently grabbed his shoulders, “Son, I will vote for who I feel is the correct person to put into office as the President. Your teacher will do the same, and one day, when you’re old enough – you too will choose the person that you feel is the correct person. Voting is a very personal thing. It is our right granted to us by those who founded our country. Three things you should never discuss until you understand what you are talking about are religion, politics, and money. They are all very personal things, and everyone has a right to believe what they want to believe without it being ridiculed or forced down their throat.”

There is “education,” and then there is “influence.” Influencing causes children to go home and question their parent’s choices that they have spent a lifetime establishing. I’m not saying that a child questioning (or developing their own beliefs) is terrible. What I am saying is that their questioning should not be due to outside manipulation.

It is a parent’s job to teach children about faith (or lack of), political views (both sides – preferably without pushing one or the other), finances and what is right or wrong with regards to sexual preference especially since a parent’s faith can lead this. I can honestly say that any parent that doesn’t teach these things are doing a disservice to their children. A child needs to have the foundation they are raised with and needs to be objectively taught each of these views to be a well-rounded member of society.

I believe it can be handled unbiasedly as follows:

You can explain the liberal platforms, the desire for social programs, their belief in how healthcare should be managed and civil rights – Then you can explain the conservative platforms and how faith sculpts some of their views and how they feel about various political issues.

An educator can explain something without injecting their own personal views. Yes, I know it can be difficult – especially when dealing with children who are curious and want to know their teacher’s views. But there is wanting to know, and needing to know, and I do not feel they need to know. At least not in the classroom environment.

In the meantime, as a parent, I will do my best to try and educate my children on the platforms, what people are hoping for and what people (and myself) want in leaders and world issues. I hope that you as parents will do the same.

Daddy is Moving Out

Daddy is Moving Out

Daddy is Moving Out 3865 1768 Jason Stadtlander

I have been divorced now for three years and it’s been over four years since I moved out of the townhouse that was ‘home’ for over a decade. The place that my (now ex) wife and I came home to after our wedding and the place that I brought my children back from the hospital to. It’s been four years and only now can I begin to really talk about the impact that it all had on me at the time.

My marriage had been falling apart for years before I moved out and I even tried to move out in 2009, but seeing the shattered look on my three year old and four year old’s face and the thought that they might believe I was leaving them, stayed my hand on the decision – especially given the fact I would be leaving them alone with their mother for long periods of time, something I could not do, given the treatment I had seen and experienced first hand from her. I knew I had to wait until they were old enough to be able to speak up about things they might see or hear.

The reality is, there is never a good time to leave. I waited until 2014 to make my decision to move out and made my first bad decision a few weeks after I moved out. Having been deprived of a healthy relationship for years, I was eager to show my boys what a healthy relationship was and began dating someone shortly after I moved out. Within a couple weeks I realized the mistake I was making and that I was allowing myself to put my own needs above theirs, so I concentrated hard on their well being. Trying to make my new home – an apartment less than a mile away – the best home I could make it. They loved being there, it was quiet, clean and there was no fighting. It was extremely hard for me though, as I spent the majority of my time alone and without them, after having been with them every day. After having been the one to make all their breakfasts every morning and pack all their lunches. Being the one to always drop them off at school since they were toddlers. I felt as if my heart had been ripped from my chest and many nights I lay alone in my bed, staring at the ceiling, tears in my eyes, yearning to hear a voice call me in the middle of the night “Dadda? I can’t sleep.”

My friends all told me it would get easier as time went on. I’d like to say that’s true, but it’s not. It’s a crock of shit. It never gets easier not being with your children. Parents aren’t meant to be away from their children. What kind of lasting impact can you have on a child that you don’t spend every day with?

But, time went on. I moved from the apartment to the lower level of a two family home and finally purchased the home that they have known as their first ‘real house’, not attached to anyone else’s house. Moving into this house, my girlfriend I had now been dating for a couple years moved in along with her two children from a previous marriage. Another bad choice. My children got along fine with hers but there was a monster lurking and I had no idea I had moved it into my home. The woman that had moved in was a closet alcoholic and within a couple months I realized how bad the situation was. She frequently drove home, picking up ‘nips’ (small bottles of spirits) on her way home, drinking them to ‘take off the edge’ of coming back to a house full of kids. By the time I asked her to leave a year later, she was drinking a fifth of fireball a night and the police were called frequently. I was becoming someone I never thought I could become. I had gone from being a very patient man, caring, loving – to  a man who was always angry and on edge, dreading evenings and praying that my children wouldn’t see the pain I was in or experience it themselves.

Children however are not blind and they see much more than we think. My youngest was elated when I asked the woman to leave. My oldest was relieved but he is very reserved and didn’t speak of it much, instead he twisted things in his head – he was trying to grapple with the divorce, the anger his own mother was apparently [inappropriately] confiding in him about and the stress of the alcoholic that had lived in our home. The environment had been toxic to all three of us and it would take another year before things began to feel normal again.

It was only recently, looking back through photos of the boys and I that I can truly see the pain and torment in our eyes that we were going through. It’s clear that there were constant attempts at happiness, traveling to back home to Ohio, going to water parks, going on long trips. However, one can see that there was always a dark cloud hanging over us throughout those years. I as a father, was uncertain what I could do to ease my children’s pain of the divorce and my tumultuous relationship because I was the one trapped within it all. It was like trying to protect someone from a tornado by wrapping yourself around them, just to find that both of you have been lifted up and carried away by the tornado. Now that the dust is settling, I’m slowly reestablishing the relationships I have with my children. They say that they don’t remember anything before I moved out, which I partially chock up to the trauma of it all. All I can do is keep moving forward and be the best father, the best man, that I can be.


PFP (Acrostic) First Moments of Fatherhood

PFP (Acrostic) First Moments of Fatherhood 1536 2048 Jason Stadtlander

“First Moments of Fatherhood”

In the hallowed warmth of blankets he lays swaddled,
Warm and still in the first moments of life.
Bundled in blue and white wrappings,
Can such a beautiful thing be possible?
I am at a loss for words, I am mesmerized,
I gaze at the wonder of this human in my arms.
Gentle dawn of life, this singular soul I have helped create.
I feel alterity, isolated in an unbreachable moment of time, I hold my boy.
As his small eyes flutter behind new eyelids, he dreams of what?
My son and I are solitary in this moment,
Held in a point I want to cradle forever.
I feel and I am devoid of thought, for in this moment
I do not remember the past or care about the future.
Surpassing intrigue, time itself slows, as I hold my son for the first time.

About This Poetry Form

Name: Acrostic Poetry
Description: An acrostic poem is a type of poetry where the first, last or other letters in a line spell out a particular word or phrase. The most common and simple form of an acrostic poem is where the first letters of each line spell out the word or phrase. In this particular poem you will find who I am devoting this poem to by incrementing a letter on each line from the beginning going down.

About This Series

Read more about this series here.



The Greatest Gift I Ever Received

The Greatest Gift I Ever Received 958 960 Jason Stadtlander

Tomorrow is my birthday and as I do with every birthday, I take a look around my world and think about what makes my life amazing, what inspires me and what a blessing it is to be another year older.

My 4th Birthday

This year I’m thinking about the greatest gift I have ever received. The first birthday I can remember was my fourth birthday when I received a rake, hoe and shovel set from my paternal grandmother. I spent hours digging up our yard – which I’m sure my parents loved. On my twelfth birthday I got a Trek mountain bike which I used for my newspaper route and did several TOSRV bike tours with my father.


The Birth of my First Son

My two greatest gifts however weren’t really birthday gifts, though one was around my birthday. The first I received almost eleven years ago and the second I received almost two years later; my two boys.

I had no experience with children at all before I had them, but always knew I wanted kids. I had never so much as changed a diaper prior to my first son. By the time my second son rolled in the door, I asked myself what I was so stressed about with the first. Then came the amazing little moments, such as the one below where my youngest son made “alphabet soup” for the family.


I can’t remember how many times I went into my children’s room to hear them having “little conversations” about stuffed animals, dinosaurs and Legos. Conversations so innocent they are the purest form of communication. Love so unfiltered and honest that it is touched directly from Heaven. There is a purity in their statements “I love you, daddy.”, even now, that drives deeper into me than anyone else has ever done.

There may be an unspoken “civic responsibility” about having children, the idea that you are replacing your generation with a new one, but being a parent is so much more than that. Seeing their minds grow from only recognizing a human face, to playing with danging toys, to splashing in the tub, to drawing, to telling stories and now my children are creating their worlds with their writings and their stories. They are slowly becoming self-functioning members of society.

They are the greatest, most amazing gifts I have ever received and the most breathtaking experience I have ever had. I may be a writer, an IT professional, a voiceover artist, and an artist, but the one thing I am the proudest of – is being a father.


Tiny Treasures, Red Leaves and Lucky Pennies

Tiny Treasures, Red Leaves and Lucky Pennies 2560 1440 Jason Stadtlander

Arriving at my children’s school, I get out of my car and my children follow suit, grab their backpacks and we walk toward the door. Along the way my youngest sees a few autumn leaves on the ground, despite the fact that it’s only one day after labor day.

He reaches down and finds the two most red, beautiful leaves and hands one to me. This is a very common practice with him. I smile at him and he trots off toward the door, holding my cell phone that he is talking to his grandfather 800 miles away on. Another common practice, our morning call to my father and something that brings a smile to their face and gets my father’s day off to a wonderful start.

We go into the school and I check them in for early drop-off, give them each a hug and as I’m leaving, my son walks over and hands me his red leaf.

“Why did you give that to me? You already gave me the other red leaf.” I say

To which he replies, “Two red leaves are better than one.” and he runs over to the Lego bin.

I suppose one can’t argue with that logic. So, I take my extra leaf and go to the car, sit down and place the two red leaves next to the four other leaves he’s given me over the past few weeks and the three lucky pennies he has given me. I take a moment to examine them. All six leaves and three pennies, one of which is a hay penny. My other son doesn’t tend to find ‘trash to treasure gifts’, he usually colors me creative pictures or makes me a sculpture, but these bits from either boy are more valuable than all the money in the world. Little treasures for a child, big treasures for a parent (at least this parent).

As an adult we spend day in and day out, seeking the dollar, chasing the sun and trying find that perfect peace, that perfect moment. As a parent, I find those perfect peaceful times and perfect moments are all around me, mind you not as often as I’d like, but they are there. Even as I sit here at my desk writing this article, I see 8 photographs of my children and at least 7 pieces of artwork, sculptures, sock snowmen, rock men and pine cone people all around me. Hidden where no one can see, I keep my old leaves from years past and my lucky pennies. My “tiny treasures”.

Strangely, these items mean something to me and I’m sure my father and mother kept the same sort of things and their parents before them. I will admit to having held on to a tiny treasure or two, beyond their, um… expiration date. A berry that rotted, a walnut that may have had something in it that it shouldn’t have. It doesn’t change the fact however, that they were my tiny treasures.

What happens when these people who have these objects are no longer around? The objects get put back into world circulation, are thrown away into a landfill or are sold for some derived value.

What is interesting though, is that all of us are a part of these treasures, we are all connected to them. That penny in your pocket, very well may have been the lucky penny that a child gave to their mother. The same penny that ended up sitting on her dresser for years for no other reason than because her daughter gave it to her.

It is these tiny treasures, these small, seemingly insignificant items that make our daily treks all worthwhile.

What are your tiny treasures?

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