Difficult Conversations

by John on February 16, 2018

I never wanted to have this conversation with my 13-year-old, but sadly, I had to have it tonight.

See, the conversations about life, sex, body issues, boys, and all the other shit that you need to do as a father of daughters, well they’re all tough. But a conversation about what to do if you face an active shooter at your school, well, there is no manual or template for that.

I’m sure that my girls have seen me cry. I try my best not to do it in front of them, I blame that on my crazy eastern European genetics, but it’s been very difficult to hide these past few days.

I’m at the bus stop with her every day before school and yes, 5:30 in the morning is not a fun hour to wake up, it’s even doubly hard for 7th grade girls. We’re out the door by 6am and waiting for the bus listening to NPR.

Our local news media has been doing nothing but constantly covering the tragedy in Parkland, FL. And this morning, I couldn’t help it. As we were waiting, a few tears started streaming down my cheeks in the dark as we sat waiting. She never saw me wipe my face. I hugged her a bit too long and she fussed as she climbed on the bus and I quietly prayed.

I don’t hide the fact that I’m a horribly failed Greek Catholic. I struggle mightily with my faith and wonder if the Almighty every does hear my silent intentions. I don’t know, but I still try, maybe that is the true definition of faith?

Tonight, at dinner, when my wife and other daughter were away from the table I asked KitKat if she knows what to do? Does she know how to run away? To hide? To survive?

She looked at me and said quietly “Yes Dad, I do”.

I’m not relieved, not convinced, and still so very worried. Nothing prepares you for that line of questioning. There are no words to describe it, it just hurts.

It hurts to see the coverage, hurts to have the talk, hurts to see her jump on the bus, and hurts to have faith.

We must never forget.


Adieu 2017

by John on December 30, 2017

Wow, the end of the year is finally upon us. Thank sweet baby jeebus. This year wasn’t bad or good, it just was. I’m happy to have survived relatively unscathed.

2017 challenged me in good ways and bad. I fought and won, and fought and lost. While the year tried like heck to knock me down, I fought like hell to stay up and keep going and that has made me a better husband, father, leader, and friend.

I advocated for my students, saw lives change, and had several positive and tough conversations with them about their future.

I gained and lost friends. I mourned the loss of friends, tried my best to honor the memory of friends that have died years prior, and smiled and wished others well when they hit amazing milestones.

I was challenged as a father. I saw my girls grow and struggle and overcome challenges but emerge stronger and that makes me proud.

I’m ready for the challenges that 2018 will bring. I took great notes and (still) have some very strong opinions about the future, but I’m ready.

I know that there is a whole lot of improving that I can, and will do in 2018.

To close out this year, I’d like to leave you with a quote from his Holiness the 14 Dalai Lama:
“I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.”

Goodbye 2017! Here’s to an awesome 2018!


#jesuisCharlie #nousommesCharlie #defendDACA


Forward, Always Forward!

December 4, 2017

I didn’t expect to get dizzy when I reached the top, but I did. My first thought was “JP, what in the hell were you thinking?” I willingly climbed up an 8-foot ladder and then another 40 feet off the ground to the top of the tower and tried to turn around on a pole. […]

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Thankful 2017

November 22, 2017

I’ve been in a funk for the past few weeks. Who am I kidding, it’s been a few months (but we’re friends, so who’s counting). I’ve been doing some reflecting and trying to ascertain just whats causing my angst and what I can do to fix it. I mean you can only fight the funk […]

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#7Songs – Number Four

October 10, 2017

I have been away for a while. It’s been an incredibly busy summer and fall, and one of my colleagues reminded me today that I needed to get back to my writing. She was right, I have been neglecting my voice and what better way than to jump back into the fray than by writing […]

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