"Daddy, how do you know?" that is a question many of us have said....

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Chapter Two: Daddy, how do you know?

Over the years, Chance, my son has asked me the following question at least once a day: “Daddy, how do you know?”

And of course, the answer varies depending on the subject, from highly scientific answers to “because I am your father”--a highly unsatisfactory answer, but one that seems to slip out of my month.

I don’t know all the answers, but chances are, no one really does. We use our experience, our environment, and our education in trying to come up with answers we believe will be correct. My mind changes the more I grow older and am willing to open my mind to new ideas and concepts.

I have developed some concepts that I used in my philosophy company that I started some years back. While there is not a big demand for philosophy companies, there is a place for philosophy in the world; after all we live by our ideas and beliefs, wrong or right.

In this book I will write about people who still think the world is flat, we have not gone to the moon and other ideas people cling to that would seem absurd to most of us. Maybe the world is flat, but I don’t think so.

In our world today, our knowledge is growing so fast people cannot keep up, and because of this people feel over their heads much of the time.

Having a child has changed my life and my knowledge; I am trying to take care of Chance and raise him to the best of my ability.

Marina, my bride, and I asked for it, and we got it: Chance is not ours because of chance.

“Daddy, how do you know?” (See above)

Chance was born in the year 2000, my first and only child. I was born in 1951. I am writing this book so Chance will have words and thoughts to live by, in case I am not around to continue his education in the world. Perhaps someone else might find these words to be beneficial.

Like any father, I would like to see my son successful in life. I am trying to give him an education which will help him develop into a successful man himself.

Chance and I were watching TV close to bedtime and I was flicking the channels to see what was on while trying to convince Chance that it was time to go to bed. I saw a show on CNBC titled “The Millionaire Inside.” I gave Chance two choices: watch the show or go to bed. Since the show started at 9pm, past his bedtime, he chose watching the show while mildly protesting, ”Why this show, Daddy?”

I replied, “Maybe you could learn something about the world.”

Chance fell asleep halfway through the show, but the thing I noticed most was that there was no concrete direction: follow your dreams, be happy with what you are doing, have the desire to be a millionaire, have the right thinking, think like you are rich, and then you will be rich. I grew up in a very modest household in the Mid-West and know there are concrete things which need to be done to be successful.

Success is not being a billionaire. Although money is important in life, it is not the end all, be all. Success is the accomplishment of something that is important to you.

The Axioms

Axioms are truths we accept. I have four for my son Chance. Of course, if you don’t believe in these four truths, then the end comes here. Let’s examine these axioms and see if they make sense.

Our number one axiom is you have to believe in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, who else will? So to be successful, our first axiom is to believe in you. And believe me when I say that I am just like you--I haven’t always believed in myself, either, but then I must make a mental correction within myself. I am subject to the same emotions and feelings as everyone else. I am not Superman, although I had a Superman costume as a small lad and used to jump around the couch, pretending I could fly. Your Grandmother did not like me jumping around on the couch: imagine that, as Marina and I ask Chance not to jump around on our furniture.

It would seem children are children, and the parenting function remains the same in some degree from generation to generation.

However, the world is changing rapidly, and what we knew 200 years ago has changed dramatically from what we know today. So while the same, parenting and living in this world has become different, although many of us prefer to stay in our cocoon of the past, in our comfort zones.

Being an older parent, I thought if I didn’t use the word no, Chance would not know the word, so as he grew to the age of two, Chance would not use this word as many children I have been around do.

I became a champion of the multiple no as Chance started to crawl. “No,no,no,no,no” would just flow from my mouth, even though I had taken a pledge not to use the word.

That did not mean I felt I had become a bad parent or failed because I had pledged not to use the word no, and now was an expert with the word no. I just came into a reality I had not had before, bringing up a child and trying to protect him from himself.

This is true in life: as we get older we find ourselves in different situations which may change our thinking or beliefs. I did not lose the belief in myself and think I was not going to be a good parent. I am willing to believe in myself, as you should believe in yourself.

There are going to be realities we face in our lives which change us, bring us to a different place. We learn from them and need to continue to believe ourselves--after all, if we don’t believe in ourselves, who will?

Turn around, click your heels three times and say, “I believe, I believe, I believe, in myself.”

Our second axiom is you must have a life plan and have values, character, and goals. Values, character, and goals are to be your life plan. At the end of the day, people will know you by your word and what you do. Will people say you have a good character or a bad character? Do you have good values as perceived by other people? Can you do deals by a handshake?

However, I must caution you, my young son, it is an unfortunate fact: you must get everything in writing. You must have sterling character, but you must be aware many people do not have character and you must protect yourself by having everything in writing.

So our second axiom is that you must have sterling character and a life plan (that I will describe in detail later), but beware of people that don’t have a life plan, or don’t have a good character, and get everything in writing. We do not lie, steal, or cheat. I have been bad and made poor choices and have not followed this axiom in my youth, and it has hurt me in life. There is less pain in this world having character, than not. I know that if you were standing next to me, I would know the right thing from the wrong thing, and I have tried to teach you by example what the right thing is and what the wrong thing is. I am not here to tell anyone what is right or wrong, but I have a sense that most Americans know the difference in everyday life.

Our third axiom is America is great. You have freedoms in America most people don’t have around the world. Many of your relatives have died and fought for your freedoms, Chance. Freedom is not free and you must guard the freedom of America and have America in your heart. Your mother and I have traveled to many foreign countries, and as you know, your mother lived in the USSR until she was 16.

As I was growing up in the ‘50s and ‘60s, the USSR was the great enemy.

I grew up in the small town of LaPorte, Indiana, made up of mostly Protestant and Catholics. There was not a lot of diversity in the small Indiana town of about 25,000. This was in the period of the cold war, and we were told the Russians had the bomb, so we had to always remember to be on the alert for Communists and the threat to our lives from the evil empire.

We were told in case of nuclear attack from the Russians, we were to hide under our desks at school. (And while not said, kiss our little tushies good bye.) Senator Joe McCarthy was finding Communists under every bed in America; black ball lists were made of many innocent Americans.

People’s careers and home lives were torn apart by the thought these people would destroy America by thinking differently from someone else, like Senator Joe McCarthy. It was like a modern day version of burning witches at the stake. It was a crazy time in America and around the world, with tensions between the East and West.

Much has changed as time marches on; we gain different perspectives on the world. Through the communication network which has exploded in the last hundred-fifty-ten years, we have all learned more about diversity and the people around us.

If you had told your Grandmother and Grandfather Jones from the small town of LaPorte, Indiana, I would grow up to marry a Russian Jew, I believe they both would have fainted. Who knew?

I am quite positive there were no Russians in LaPorte, and there were no synagogues. I don’t remember a bagel and smear in my childhood, although it’s one of my favorite foods today.

I am very grateful for the diversity that you, Chance, have in your life growing up in Los Angeles.

There is no doubt America is a great country that allows you the freedom to be successful. This is not true in over half of the world, where you cannot live a life of freedom. Many countries want you to conform, but in America you can live your dreams--or not. The choice will be up to you.

You must be aware these freedoms can be taken away unless the public stands up and allows freedom to ring in America.

I believe that you must defend diversity, and diversity will not harm you in America. America has been called the great melting pot of the world. Would we be here today, in this history without diversity? You need to have tolerance to different ideas and people. I believe America is great.

Our fourth axiom: choose your friends carefully. Do you have friends that are losers, or are not right for your life? As hard as this is, you must move away. You can still love them, but from a distance.

I know you will have a soft spot in your heart, and will not want to do this; I know I have broken this axiom myself, but you must move on--it will be better for you. Do not stay with people that will drag you down, for you will suffer.

You must choose your friends carefully and make sure they are of the same mind and character as I hope you will be. This does not mean they have to look like you, but shouldn’t the people around you have an open mind to what the world is and might be? Shouldn’t people you associate with have an open mind, a like mind of character, tolerance and many of the concepts we are going to be examining in this book?

You need to think for yourself, make choices that are thought out by you, not someone else. This is the best freedom America will give you--the choice to think for yourself.

Being in the wrong peer group can be devastating.

You must beware of the dream killers. These can be people that don’t want you to get hurt or disappointed, so they will try to kill your dreams so you won’t get hurt or disappointed. Your mother and father could be in this category, but we promise to very careful so as not to kill your dreams in life.

Some dream killers are afraid if you achieve your dreams or goals you will no longer want to be with them. They are afraid you will leave them behind if you become successful.

Gain what you want first and make sure the people around you are the right people. In your youth, don’t get tangled into relationships which will not be good for you. First and foremost, get an education, and get experience in the world.

People who have closed minds are the ones you must be suspect about--what they are thinking and what direction they may want you to go. A closed mind, as we shall see later, is an indication of a lower order of the development of the mind.

Our purpose in life is to grow--physically, mentally, emotionally and spirituality. To have people around us that would constrict this growth hampers our success. Success is achieving something that is important to you in your life.

In America you will have the chance to live some of your dreams. Perhaps not all of them will come true, but in America you never know--if you stay focused you can achieve a lot, maybe even become President, if that is something you would like to do.

You need to choose the people around you carefully.

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Comment by Deborah Thompson on May 22, 2009 at 4:28pm
Thank you for sharing this article. Your words hold true for some many of our family and friends.
Comment by Veejay on May 15, 2009 at 6:44am
It is often the other way round for me Step. I frequently ask my sons, and grandchildren - 'How do you know that?'

1. How do you explain the term 'Believe in yourself'?

2. Since a child I have never laid plans as to how I will progress. I have always accepted whatever has come my way - my fate. If I do think up a plan for progression, something always crops up to change the goal post, my fate. Therefore I think it can be safely said that 'I believe in fate'. Que sera sera.

3. Yes, America is great, but so is Great Britain - or was! However bad our times may be though, we are looking at history in the making, and very interesting it is to see what the outcome of all of it will be. Our fate is awaiting us!

4. Friends drift in and out of our lives, and it is those who never permanently stay away, even in times of trouble, who are our true friends. We cannot expect to have friends it we do not keep in touch and offer help wherever we can, thus to have friends we must be a true friend.
Comment by Michele Houpe on May 13, 2009 at 7:08pm
I almost deleted this blog from my email and am so happy I didn't. Thanks so much for sharing with us. I will be sure to pass these principles down to my daughter, my grandson, nieces, nephews, little cousins--and to all who will listen!
Comment by Teri Marks on May 9, 2009 at 11:54pm
There are certain foundational truths that never change. They may be packaged in different ways but the truth is always that which agrees with final reality.
Comment by Nona Lightner on May 9, 2009 at 11:21pm
some questions are hard to answer. I found, when my children were little, sometimes I would have to get back with them so I could think about an answer.
Comment by Step Jones on May 9, 2009 at 11:44am
Well lots of opinions, that is good, not everyone is going to think like me, nor should they, just as i should not think like you necessarily. May we all live the journey and continue to learn and explore.
Comment by abomoh on May 8, 2009 at 5:49am
I do appreciate your opinions. So It's a very difficult question. It need a keenness to be answered also it depends on the situation and the environments surrounded. The four Axioms you suggested only three suit me but the axiom number three as I see is sophisticate to some extent. Whole people were born free but their minds, thought, and needs slave them, put them in a trap. So, look around the world you will see many injures suffer from the American treatments and policies towards the third world countries. Yes, the world's information is separated everywhere but sometimes they captured by pirates.
For so, children always ask such questions because they think that knowledge are only belong to certain people, like you!!!
Please be patient
Comment by abomoh on May 8, 2009 at 5:41am
I do appreciate your opinions. So It's a very difficult question. I needs a keenness to be answered also it depend on the situation and the environments surrounded. The four Axioms you suggested only three suit me but the axiom number three as I see is sophisticate to some extent. Whole people were born free but their minds, thought, and needs slave them, put them in a trap. So, look around the world you will see many injures suffer from the American treatments and policies towards the third world countries. Yes, the world's information is separated everywhere but sometimes the captured by pirates.
For so, children always ask such questions because they think that knowledge only belongs to a certain people, like you!!!!!!
Please be patient
Comment by Wayne Shumway on May 8, 2009 at 12:08am
I raised for kids. The youngest is 18. I keep learning and I wish I really did KNOW. ;>)
Comment by Ulysses Moore Jr on May 7, 2009 at 11:20pm

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