Posts Tagged ‘ Dad ’

The Power Of Family Heritage

Any of you out there who have followed me for any length of time may know that I’m really interested in the heritage of my family.  As a kid, I learned through the modeling of my own parents (and their 20 brothers and sisters and in-laws, and my 30-40 first-cousins) that family is the most important thing you can ever have.  Sure, it’s possible to survive without them, but it’ll be far less fun to!

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Gram and Grampa DeMasi–my grandparents

My family’s heritage is mostly Italian–we are step-married into Sicilian, English, Norwegian, and Swedsish blood on my Dad’s side, and never really identified with any of them, I guess.  I actually don’t have many pictures at all of the Grana side of the family, either, now that I think of it.  

I’ve been trying to find a way to get my Italian citizenship (or jure sanguinis) to be recognized; basically this is an Italian law that states recognition of citizenship for anyone who can prove a clear bloodline-path back to the Old Country, no matter where you live, or how many generations removed you are.  We are currently missing a long-lost great, great, great grandmother’s birth or death certificate, I don’t remember which.  I think it will ultimately take a trip to Italy, to the town where they were born or passed to find the missing link.  Many countries have some form of similar law, but I believe Italy might be unique in the lack of a generational restriction.

I never knew (as any kid ever does) how important my grandparents would become to me, even so long after they’ve gone.  I wish I could’ve gotten to know them, to know what they know.  I got a Youtube link from my Ma a couple of days ago that really illustrates how the Italian culture in America has evolved, despite everyone’s best efforts.  If you’re Italian and want a trip down memory lane, or aren’t Italian and are interested in how the culture and customs were back then, take a look.  If you want a good laugh, take a look at this clip about the conversational pitfalls that happened to “The Italian Man Who Went To Malta.”

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A Look At My Own Family, Christmas 2009.  Me (oldest), Chris, Ma, Dad, and Greg (youngest).

Our family has grown and changed since this picture was taken…all three of us kids are married, my sister and brother in-law have two kids, and sadly, Dad passed away in January of 2010.  Just goes to show that no matter how annoying pictures are to take at the time, they will be so tightly clung-to later on.

If you are Italian and living in the US, you ought to check out your local Order Sons of Italy in America chapter (yes, women are welcome).  My wife and I attended our first meeting (which was kind of a trial-run) this past Saturday evening.  We were the youngest folks there by (easily) a quarter-century, but the folks we met have so much to give in the way of stories and knowledge, and it’s their passion and goal to pass on the culture so that it doesn’t die out here in the US, as time goes on.  

This particular meeting had a live performance; the former president’s husband is a concert pianist, and has a nine foot grand piano in his living room, and he and a professional floutist friend of his played three separate classical works by different Italian composers as a “culture/history lesson,” of sorts, for the crowd of 12 that were there.  Then we had a potluck dinner, and had a short language lesson before departing for the evening.  The food…I’m telling you–homemade antipasto, gnocchi, baked zucchini, chicken, salad, and three kinds of bread–add that to the red wine, and I felt like I was at home again.  We all left around ten o’clock, but these were the type of folks that you could sit and chat with all night.  I’m looking forward to meeting with them once again.

Is anyone out there involved with OSIA?  And even if you aren’t Italian–do you have any great stories to do tell about how your family is connected to major people or events throughout history?  

 

 

Ramp it UP!

I skipped the New year’s Day post intentionally…it’s so cliche, and I’ve probably broken any resolutions I’d have put down already anyway!

So I began this year actually pretty mopey, for various reasons.  One of them, I’ve writtenImage about before, and I realize now that I am coming into the end of what I call the Winter Doldrums.  Last January (about a year after my Dad passed away), my Mom got the green-light to have both my Dad’s ashes and my grandfather’s ashes interred at Arlington National Cemetary.  21 Guns and everything.  It was sobering and humbling on so many levels.  Equally awesome is the fact that they are next door to each other.  I’ll visit them both this weekend in honor of Dad’s passing, and I’ll get a photo and put it up here, if I can manage one.  I used to think I do my best thinking while I’m in the shower (some of it, I still do), but now I’ve learned that I do some of my best thinking while I’m visiting Dad.  I don’t know what it is.  I come away from his resting place hopeful, motivated, and optimistic about things to come.

I got Gary Keller’s book, “Shift”–effectively Volume II of the Bible series that he’s written for Realtors–from my brother in-law’s new bride (thanks again, Steph!) for Christmas, and it.  Is.  Fantastic.  The information in there is undeniable, and really gets me riled to get after it.  After all, business won’t find me if I don’t get in its way.  Over and over again, I am thankful that I found a place as committed to giving its agents the tools they need to be successful businesspeople…I don’t see too many NYTimes Bestsellers from folks working at ReMax or Long and Foster, and I definitely don’t see as many of them.  Gary Keller is just a dynamo, and he has recruited the right people (looking at you, Matt Sutter) to find the right talent for the organization.  The folks in this office are the people I thrive on being around.

I think my present situation keeps me pretty well-grounded.  For half of the day, I am a student in the real estate industry, learning everything I can about prospecting, marketing, honing my message, finding what works, learning to be bold, brave, and direct with people. Then, I go to work.

I go from being the student to being the instructor…except nothing’s changed.

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Who’s the new guy?

I work at a for-profit aviation maintenance institution, where each night, I give my students every piece of hard-won advice, every tip, trick, mistake I’ve made, and triumph I’ve conquered.  These soon-to-be aircraft mechanics take classes called “Cabin Atmospheres,” “Turbine Engines,” “Fuel and Instruments,” and “Comm/Nav,” where they will be taught all of the ways that airplanes solve difficult problems.  How do airplanes fly themselves?  There’s a system for that.  How do airplanes keep the passengers from freezing when it’s 50 below at 37,000 feet?  There’s a system for that, too.  These things are all in the curriculum, taught from the book, but I’ve found a way to bring my students–my customers–value that many other instructors don’t.  It’s easy, really.

Everyone hates being the new guy.  You don’t know what you’re doing, you don’t know where the chemicals are kept, where to dump the 40 gallons of fuel you just drained from the plane, where the bathrooms or break room are, who you must report to…it just stinks.  You are being analyzed under a microscope from the moment you walk in, when you’re the new guy.  What I try to instill in my students are knowledge and methods and skills that will make their time as the “F-N-G” (take a guess what that stands for…yep, you’re probably right) as easy as possible.  I make them learn some of the skills they see once at the beginning of school (or sometimes never at all), and not again until they walk onto a hangar deck somewhere.  I do this because they get more inherent value out of that than they do under other instructors.  I work hard to make sure that my students understand that I’ve got nine years of experience, and they can have it all if they’ll just pay attention.  The fear of being the F-N-G has been a wonderful motivator, even to those who don’t much care to pay attention.

I am so looking forward to this year for several reasons:  First, my goal is to really ramp it up when it comes to keeping in touch with the several tribes I have around the country.  (“Tribes” is actually a Seth Godin term, and you are not whole inside until you’ve gotten to know Seth Godin.  Trust me.)  I’ve fallen down on that at times, and if you’re mad at me for it, I’m sorry.  Secondly, this is the year I plan on making my very first six-figure income.  I have the knowledge and a plan, and the courage to implement both this year.  The reason I’m so excited about this isn’t so much money (though, of course, it’ll be nice); it’s that I’ll have the ability to spend more time with those I care most about this year.

And finally, if I’ve taken home six figures this year, it means I’ve done between 10 and 13 transactions, which means what?  Exactly–I won’t be the FNG any longer!

Here’s to an unbelievable 2013.  How are you challenging yourself this year?  Are you the FNG?  What can you do to make that phase last only as long as it needs to?  What are you a student of this year?  What are you teaching yourself, or taking a class to learn?  What do you plan on getting better at?

As always, I appreciate that you took the time to read my post here.  I’ll talk to you all again soon!

First Everything Without Dad

My Dad passed away in January of this year.  To say “it was difficult to deal with” would be to assume that I was done with it–I tried to be strong for my siblings and my Mom (I think I failed), and I gave a little speech at his funeral (which went over well)–but lately, things have been getting to me.  I can’t speak for those of you who have lost both parents, or siblings, or your closest friends, but for me at the age of 29, my Dad’s passing has taught me a lot as the time has gone on.

I am sure you’ve been steeled against all of the pitfalls of losing a parent/sibling/friend, and you’ve held it in and sucked it up as long as you can.  For me,  I gave everyone huge hugs at the wake, sucked it up at the funeral, accepted peoples’ condolences as honestly as I could…and got home, happy to have it all over with.  Then, three months later, while I was watching the end of “Marley & Me,” I lost my  mind on the shoulder of my best friend (my wife, in this case).  I have developed the belief that the amount of emotions inside of you is finite–it’s not up to you how (or at what time) they come out.  If your Dad passes away and you “suck it up” for all of that time, some time later, you will have it come out in a flood at the end of a completely innocuous movie about a dog, or a chick-flick break-up, or a country-music video, or whatever else happens to trip your trigger.  Whatever the release is, at some point, it will find its way out.

He won’t meet my first-born child, or my first dog…I count my blessings he met my (now) wife.  There are so many things he won’t see, which is frustrating for me because I spent so many years of my youth not caring enough to do things that would make him proud (I felt I couldn’t).  My, how that time goes by…

I make sure to compliment my wife every time she makes or does something for me; we go out and throw the baseball around, and I even make or set up all of the things in the house that need a handyman.  I tell you what, I do that for her and I am using my own learned skills, but I am still channelling my Dad.  He was “the man” at all of those things.

If there’s one thing you can do, it’s to take another look at your relationship with your parents and siblings.  Everyone has their own definition, of course, but even if they are the people you have the absolute least in common with, trust me, you will miss them when you can no longer have access to them.

I know that Fathers’ Day is this June 19th, and the thing is, even after you become a father yourself, you will still remember your own Dad.  If he’s still alive, give thanks for it.  If not, know that he is probably watching over you.  Either way, the memories he’s given you just can’t be replaced–so enjoy the good ones while you can.

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