Humor writer Dave Barry compiled a list of things it took him 50 years to learn. I have selected a handful of Barry’s observations. 

1. You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight-savings time.
2. The most powerful force in the universe is gossip.
3. The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background,is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above-average drivers.
4. There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
5. If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be "meetings."
6. No matter what happens, somebody will find a way to take it too seriously.

I am also a slow learner. But one thing I have learned in my journey is that every dad leaves a legacy. The only question is whether that legacy will be good, bad, or indifferent. Over the next few days I am going to write about some things I have learned about leaving a legacy that, hopefully, is good.

Being a father is tough because we generally learn how to parent while on the job. From the “I can’t make this stuff up” department I found this attempt by a celebrity couple to “prep” for parenthood. Hilary Swank and her husband Chad Lowe believed they were getting plenty of parental practice before having a child of their own - by looking after a pair of parrots.

The couple, who live in New York City, have faced constant questions throughout their eight-year marriage about when they'll be ready to start a family. He says, "(Hilary and I) are very eager to have kids, and having parrots is great baby training.

"They need to be fed twice a day, they need love and support, and we teach them their ABCs.”

But I would suggest that the parrots are not a real complete course in parenting. For example…

  • Until you have had to walk the floor with a screaming parrot all night long…you still have a lot to learn.
  • Until the principal calls you in because your parrot is fighting with the parakeets during recess… you still have a lot to learn.
  • Until your parrot spits up on your outfit as you are trying to leave the house… you still have a lot to learn.
  • Until your parrots start picking on each other in the back seat of the SUV 30 miles into your 300 mile drive…you still have a lot to learn.
  • Until your parrot throws himself on the floor at the supermarket and turns red because you won't buy Count Chocula cereal…you still have a lot to learn.

Swank and Lowe go on about their parrot training. They repeat everything you say. They love to pick up four-letter words, so you really have to watch it. Luckily, we don't curse a lot."

ADD Detour…perhaps every church should invest in a parrot for each family. And then they should rotate the parrots every six months. That might kill the gossip virus in the church.

Just took the medication and back on track…Ken Druck and James Simmons in The Secrets Men Keep discuss six major secrets men have. At the top of the list is that "men secretly yearn for their father's love and approval." This is often without their conscious knowledge that this yearning manifests itself in the drive that many males have to prove themselves. The authors say:

It may surprise us to know that the most powerful common denominator influencing men's lives today is the relationship we had with our fathers .... Of the hundreds of men I have surveyed over the years, perhaps 90 percent admitted they still had strings leading back to their fathers. In other words, they are still looking to their fathers, even though their fathers may have been dead for years, for approval, acceptance, affection, and understanding.