TRUE STORY….GABRIEL HAMMOND’S BIRTH
This is our true and heartfelt story of turning pain into passion. This is a true story of our beloved son, Gabriel Hammond.
It all started with the ultrasound at the local Mad River Community Hospital. The ultrasound revealed the possibility of Down syndrome. The two-dollar question was did Gabriel have Down syndrome? Meeting with the doctor, she told us that yes, Gabe did have Down syndrome.
No one prepares you for the disappointment, loss, fear, and many of life’s potentials forfeited when you learn that you have a baby who has Down syndrome. The feelings of new parents of kids with down run from anger to depression to frustration to resignation. It is like the six phases of grieving. It feels a bit like a death within the context of birth in that it is a death of a vision. A parental hope and dream of what could have been most likely will not be now with this new twist of having a “special need”. It is a feeling, ultimately, of being lost in a world of unpredictability and not having a map of where you are going. This is truly “uncharted water”. That feeling of fear and sense of loss will be forever ingrained in my heart and mind. We knew nothing of Down syndrome or special needs kids. To this point, we’d had six healthy children and had never met anyone with Down syndrome or any similar disability.
As we learned that our Gabriel had Down, we really had to dig deep and see if we could find the upside of Down syndrome. But, fear ruled the day. Who is our boy? What will he be when he grows up? Can he play football? Will he go to college? Will he be “normal”? Will he get married? Will he have children?
The lessons learned have to do with my deciding to have the right perspective, attitude, actions, and behaviors. The decision to love unconditionally is ours alone. This unconditional love, stemming from the decision to love Gabriel, has transferred some of my pain into a perspective which is surprising, refreshing, and very interesting.
The lessons we learned include:
• There is no one-time fix. This is a long-term journey requiring a long-term approach.
• A positive mental attitude and my positive confessions are not enough to get me through.
• Whereas Gabriel may have a disability of his intellect, there is none of his spirit.
• His worth has very little to do with his intellect or ability to contribute to society.
• We’ve learned to give without expecting anything in return and love him unconditionally.
• We learned to love freely, regardless of the payback.
• We learned that everyone has special needs. Some of us just hide them better!
My commitment as a father begins with loving my son and equipping him by helping him receive the best- In every way I am compelled to maximize his potential. I also need to maximize my potential to love, accept, understand, and help Gabriel where possible. My commitment is also to help my family to love Gabriel, to be patient with him, and to see past his challenges and focus on his many positive attributes.
My Mission Statement is this: “To personally and practically love, accept, and go forward in raising my son to his fullest potential with God’s help”. As I do this, I know that Gabriel has the potential to teach us to look for the things in life that are truly important. May I be as good a student as he is a teacher.
Name: Micah Hammond
Years in Business: About 9
Family Info: Large
Hobbies: Construction of amazing contraptions from duct tape, cardboard, and other household items
Activities of Interest: Legos, Video Games, Mine Craft, anything with Video
Burning desire: To become King/Ruler/Emperor
Something no one knows about me: Has an amazing tender heart
Keys to Success: Total, absolute creativity—-Is able to move on after blowing up
Every family melts down–sometimes! When things aren’t going well what can you do as a leader-parent?
Here are a few tips and ideas you can employ TODAY to help you and the fam get through the “rough spots” we all encounter in family living:
- Call for EVERYONE to take a :60 second “time-out”—Stop and walk away, take some breaths, and remove yourself from a volatile situation first.
- Call for EVERYONE to “freeze” (remember freeze tag?)—Stop the action and words of everyone for a minute or so before resuming.
- Discuss the Scene (drama!)–Have everyone stop and consider their roles and how they might make some changes in tone, words,body language etc…
- Replay the Scene–Make it a better “scene”. Replay it as many times as necessary to make a more positive scene and consequently a better overall “Family Play”
- Have Fun–Dare to have some humor and laugh with (not at) each other. Crack an appropriate joke and lighten the mood when trending toward a family drama.
Create some special time with just you and your child.
Just that intentional 1 to 1 time can yield big relationship dividends.
Name 1 thing you can commit to and JUST DO IT!
Burn that bridge and get that date with your kid into your mental or actual day-timer today!
Set up a standing date AND also be spontaneous.
Both in concert will benefit your relationship for years to come.
Remember this: Quality Time comes from Quantity Time—-You must invest your precious time.
Name the activity then—movies, outings, sports, trips, food, chores, projects and so much more…….
You don’t HAVE to do this—You GET to…
It is not because she has earned this time, but because she needs this time with dad.
Successful parents are clear and spot on with what they’re trying to accomplish in training their children. Discipline and focus must balance grace and mercy. There must be a balance between grace and discipline in managing a family in raising great kids.
Great parents are intentional parents. They know what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. Parenting also comes with the mandate to be flexible. Flexibility coupled with humor, grace, mercy, forgiveness, and the ability to keep it light will help parents get through many a dark time.
Training our kids through leading them by example and serving them is also a key component in that our values are usually caught not taught. This modeling of our values and walking our talk is key in setting an example for our kids to follow.
As we live our values as parents, our kids are taught and catch what we are instructing by the message of our lives and example. The key is for parents to be totally focused on this key role, whilst understanding none of us are perfect— thus we need grace both on others and for ourselves as parents.
10 Tips For Quality Family Life
Parents and their children are spending less time interacting with each other. As a result, many children are getting less personal love and attention than their parents did. American Demographics reported that parents today spend roughly 40 percent less time with their children than did parents a generation ago. To help families stay connected, below is a list of helpful family time tips. Keep in mind, quantity and quality time is important when choosing activities. So build memories around exciting events by keeping your family time creative and enjoyable. Print out the following tips as daily reminders.
1. Eat together & listen to each other. Most children today don’t know the meaning of a family dinnertime. Yet the communication and unity built during this setting is integral to a healthy family life. Sharing a meal together allows the opportunity to talk about each other’s lives. This is a time for parents to listen, as well as to give advice and encouragement. Attentive listening conveys a message that a person is really interested in another. It also imparts a sense of worth and helps develop trust. Therefore, listening is a critical link in successful parenting.
2. Read often. It’s important for parents to read to their children. The latest research indicates that reading to your children cultivates an interest for knowledge and stimulates language development. It also increases their attention spans and helps them become more curious. Look for books that your child would enjoy reading. After reading, ask questions about the content.
3. Do chores together. Part of what goes on in the home is the development of teamwork. Functional family life depends on the contribution of everyone. Assigning chores is the most productive way of teaching responsibility and accountability to your children. Doing chores with your child will help foster good communication skills.
4. Help with schoolwork. A great way to spend quality time with children and light a fire of learning is to help children with their schoolwork. A parent’s eagerness to help will cause a child to become more interested in school thus improving his or her grades. Regular trips to the library for school projects are an inexpensive and enjoyable way to spend time with children. Helping should begin with an understanding that children are responsible for homework. Parents are there to help their child get organized and to encourage them when they get stuck.
5. Start a hobby or project. Choose a fun activity that your child is interested in. Activities like cooking, crafts, fishing, or biking will make great hobbies that can open the door to exciting family time. Once a child learns a new recipe or is able to cast a lure accurately, let him or her take the lead with your supervision.
6. Play games. New technology has made video games more prevalent. As a result, many children are spending long hours in front of the TV playing computer programs. Parents should find creative ways to spark an interest in family-oriented contests such as board games or card games. This will give parents additional time to talk and nurture their relationship.
7. Plan a family outing. Sometimes getting out of the house is important. Hop in the family car and go for a drive. Prepare a picnic lunch and visit a local park. Take time to play catch or ride a bike. A stroll in the woods will help parents interact with their children. Also, a visit to the zoo or museum will spark a child’s enthusiasm and lead to lengthy discussions.
8. Encourage athletic activities. It is vital for children to exercise. Sports not only strengthen the body, but also build character and determination. Whether it’s a father pitching a baseball to a son or a mother and daughter nature walking, finding time for athletic events is important for a child’s emotional and physical development. This is a great opportunity for a family to interact.
9. Create a Family Time calendar. Since many parents have hectic schedules, time with children often becomes a low priority, whether intended or not. Post a calendar on the refrigerator and have parents and children pencil in special events. Knowing when you’re going to meet may also help you think of creative activities. Commit to keeping this schedule free from interruptions.
10. Pray together & attend a house of worship. Nothing is more special than taking a few minutes each day to pray with a child before bedtime. By explaining the purpose behind prayer, children will learn the importance of faith as the foundation for the family. Also, when parents go to religious services, they instill in their children a reverence for God. Churches can also offer invaluable support to families.
“If you’re in this for the money, you are only about half paid…”
Bob Hammond (1921-2004)
My father, Bob Hammond, grew up in Iowa during the Great Depression. He was poor but received two years of college before being enlisted in the Army Air Corps during World War II.
He was an elite P-51 fighter pilot in the Asian Theater and was a decorated soldier.
He drank for 30+ years as he processed the experience. Consequently, our family grew up within the confines of alcoholism, divorce, and dysfunction. As I got older, and my father got sober, we forged a relationship for a lifetime. His support for me going to Humboldt State University, coupled with a mutual spiritual revival, made for a lifelong friendship until his death in 2004. My father always supported my educational goals and expressed confidence in me; he always believed in my choices and was available 24/7.
He was a people person and an expert salesman. He was relational in every way. People were his passion.
The lessons my father taught me had to do with relationships. People were priority.
For example, he came to work with me one day at the Tri City Weekly in Downtown Eureka to attend and contribute to a sales meeting. I was so proud and excited for my cohorts to hear the wisdom of this sage businessman and sales expert! He was my dad—coming to share his heart.
We gathered around, pen and paper in hand to hear from Bob Hammond, Salesman Extraordinaire. We were ready…
He sat down at our office at 6th and D St. and we expected at least 30-45 minute training about the secrets of great sales. No Dice. Not even close…
He leaned back in his chair, took a deep breath, and uttered words that were simple and profound and have taken me 15 years to really comprehend….He simply stated:
“IF YOU ARE IN SALES FOR THE MONEY, YOU ARE ONLY HALF PAID.”
That was it. No prelude, no commentary, no addenda—Just 13 words spoken with authenticity and belief.
I must admit, I was a bit annoyed and aghast he didn’t have a strong follow-up and more to add. He didn’t need to.
His point was just this: In business, as in life, people and relationships are key. They are the reason for why we do what we do in business and commerce and in life. The Free Market System is lacking, even meaningless, without good relationships, friendships, and the joy of living a life full of meaningful experiences with fellow human beings.
My dad was a people guy, a hugger who loved crossword puzzles, plants, music, people, and God most of all. His legacy of kindness, acceptance, thankfulness, gratitude, and forgiveness will always be with me. As an alcoholic, he always had a special place in his heart for those who struggled with alcoholism. He modeled non-judgment and kindness toward all. My father left an inherent sense of godliness, spiritual value, and a kindness that transcends most people you’ll ever meet. Although he was a warrior in World War II and killed many while flying a P51 Mustang, the rest of his life was spent building, not destroying.
He’ll always be remembered in our family as the “ice cream grandpa”, who always loved Humboldt County and insisted on multiple gallons of ice cream with each and every visit. Here’s to the legacy of a great guy, a great sales person… one of the Greatest Generation. May we approach our lives, careers, and business with a relational dimension and the kindness and care that all people want and need. Thanks, Dad, for modeling this respect and honor for people in your quiet, but profound lesson.
Be a Leader/ “Legacy Leaver”
Leadership means many things to many people. I think it means being proactive, being the first, and:
- Taking the initiative
- Setting the standard
- Managing effectively
- Planning often and well
- Resourcing whenever possible
- Identifying the vision, goals, and priorities
- Setting the example, always
A good leader takes responsibility and says; “The buck stops here!” when something is not right.
Leaders show the way and model through active example what they’re trying to express and accomplish.
They press on and press in, and they run counter to the culture of convenience and quick fixes. They refuse to get sidetracked by the “bright and shiny objects”, the diversions, and side-eddies of our culture.
They strain and strive with intentionality and energy to build relationships and create a legacy, a heritage, and a family. They do much of this by simply taking the initiative, being intentional, and by writing and accomplishing compelling goals that are relationship-based.
Parents, you are the key; you are the leader. You must be intimately in touch with your mission, goals, and objectives as a parent. This requires discipline, selflessness, living your priorities, and time management. You must leverage the hours of your day and be intentional in everything you do. Time is the only resource you’re guaranteed to have.
The key here is to write down what you want… dream it, plan it, and do it.
The questions are…
- Who are you?
- What do you want?
- Why are you here?
- What is not working, that you would like to see work?
- What is happening now, that should vanish?
The answer to these questions will determine your “brand” as a parent and as a leader. What “brand” are you now? What “brand” do you want to be?
Here are some thoughts on leaving a legacy and heritage:
What will they say when you’re gone?
A good parent transfers the following attributes and character qualities to her/his children…
- Love for God (as you understand Him)
- Love for people
- Ethics/ knowledge
- Wisdom and understanding
- Love and compassion and kindness
- Positive attitude and motivation
Great parenting requires us as parents to raise children in the way they would be best served.
They are individuals, not part of a cookie-cutter machine. Therefore, we need to work with our kids on their level, meeting their needs, resourcing, respecting, and fostering the individuality of each child. We must study to know them and then resource their gifts, attributes, and skills. No two children are alike. This all requires patience on our part to work on their level, one or two things at a time. Slowly, with a patient parents heart.
Who is leading your family?
- What will your best friends say at your funeral?
- What is a life well lived?
- What is greatness? Family Legacy?
“Have to” vs. “Get to”
The key here is attitude. You don’t HAVE to do these things. But, you GET to do these things. Your motivation and attitude is everything so decide now in the seat of your will that this is a priority to you, and you will succeed at it! When will you get started on your Parenting Plan?
How will it look when you schedule your kids into your life and keep your appointments with them? What will it take for you to be the initiator and leader with the plan and in your family?
Our priorities need to become people and relationships. Learning to be here now is a key aspect to developing these key relationships. As we all know, time flies when you’re having fun. Kids grow, people die, people move on and life changes very rapidly. This is why slowing down and enjoying relationships and people and being in the moment is such a key piece to enjoyment and fulfillment in life.
To align yourself with high quality of life and living is to have fun, enjoyment, and to be a lifelong learner and contributor. The results are compelling-satisfaction with our lives, relationships and legacy: joyful participation.
Do you have a plan in training yourself to relax and be in the moment? Do you have a vision to train yourself to enjoy the moments? Are you able to suspend your inner Type A person and duct tape him in the corner? Can you suspend activities to do that which gives us real-life? Will you align with your priorities and live in the “now?”
The result will be no regrets in your old age or on your deathbed. Will you be able to look back and truly give thanks for life and the legacy left to others? Can you die happy and fulfilled knowing you did your part and left a heritage that was compelling to other people? When it’s all said and done what is fathering success? What does it look like?
The answer lies in a word: Relationship.
Our relationships define our “success” in this world. So, how‘s the wife and kids?
What Causes “Father Failure”?
Dads have no real Strategic Parenting Plan with a schedule, measurement criteria, and accountability. They lack the resources to get a decent result from their fathering investment. They also suffer from poor follow-through or not enough follow-up in their efforts at parenting effectively.
Many dads are poorly organized, have poor planning, or poor time management, and they get caught up in the Tyranny of the Urgent vs. the truly necessary. Poor communication skills in speaking and listening combined with laziness, apathy, and denial all play a part in lackluster parenting.
A Plan Of Action
In other words, what we need, as dads, is a plan of action — a Strategic Parenting Plan, if you will — which will enable us to cope.
Dads require job clarity to know and function in our roles as well. Dads need fathering accountability to themselves, their families, the community, and God.
This really leads to the questions: Is it possible to cultivate a culture of celebration and learn how to have fun at home? Can we learn to recognize and strive for success with great vigor and consistency on the home front and still make it a fun and even joyful experience?