What Ellington Taught Me Today

I got a story to tell…LOL

It was a rough morning…but I always attempt to take a positive lesson away from every experience: good and bad!

I get our son Ellington dressed in the morning. It’s “our thing;” Daddy and Ellington time. I wake him up singing. We have our special “Good Morning” song.

I say…90% of the time, he’s in a great mood. He wakes up smiling…no problems.

However, on some morning (LIKE TODAY)…he wakes up in a not-so-good-mood. As he gets older, I try different strategies when he cries…I always make sure he’s not hurt. Once I assess that, I often try ignoring him; just smiling and playing with him through the crying; I try offering him food (any kind of cereal usually works)…water, etc. But at times…when my patience is on E…I get upset…I raise my voice… you know… all the things that parents should never do, but always do. I’m just authentic enough to tell y’all. LOL.

*side note* I can’t stand it when kids cry for no reason…I know…I KNOW…I need to work on that…but I come from the school of “I’LL GIVE YOU SOMETHING TO CRY ABOUT…” LOL.

So, this morning…he’s losing his mind:


My immediate response was to karate-chop him in the neck (i’ve never done that)… but hey…we can be honest, right? LOL.

So, through his tantrum…I’m singing the ABCs…just talking to him like there’s nothing wrong. He’s getting more and more upset. I’m saying in a very excited voice…”OH MAN, I can’t wait until after school so we can play…”

NOTHING…not working…abort plan…ABORT PLAN…

OK, internally, I’m losing it…trying to stay positive…trying to keep cool…and refrain from Karate chopping…


out of the blue…he stops…and starts singing the ABCs. And he’s asking…”Daddy, can I put on my socks by myself?” All of the tears are gone! He’s smiling! Happy! I’m slightly confused, but don’t show it. I don’t even acknowledge that was upset…

We finish getting dressed and he’s happy as a bluebird.


This exchange made me think about adults and our interactions with each other. As much as you may want to think so…You can’t change people until THEY ARE READY TO BE CHANGED. You can’t “make” someone get in a better mood…They have to be ready to get out of their funk before they are even able to accept the positive you have to offer.

In general, we spend so much time trying to “change” people…and when it comes down to it…only YOU can change YOU.

Our 2 year old helped me to reflect on that thought.

Us being Silly
Us being Silly

Make a great day!


5 thoughts on “What Ellington Taught Me Today

  1. mike, this rings true on so many levels. Ellington picked up on the seeds you planted and when HE was ready he followed along with you on the ABC song.

    Often times, whether Im the message sender or giver
    whether the message is constructive feedback
    maybe its just something that just needs to be said
    “I” “me”
    had to learn
    and I can always be reminded
    the change needed wont be instantaneous…and I have to hold steady
    I can only plant seeds and hope.
    It doesnt happen that way I want just because
    we are parents
    or have experience
    ….EVEN with the best intentions
    the greatest wisdon
    the hardest hard knock life lessons
    and desire for others (and our selves) it takes time to change

    one day on a bench you told me somethings that needed to change
    those were seeds planted, they were watered and got plenty of sun.

    your a great dad and a great friend


  2. I think what he taught you is a more stripped down version of you can’t help those who don’t help themselves. Kids are smart like that.


  3. Great story! To add, some times you have to honor how you feel. Ellington got all that “cry” out of his system and then was able to have a great day afterwards. Some days, I wake up like Ellington in the mornings. LOL


  4. Nice story Mike 🙂 Very true about not being able to change people.
    I have learned a lot from all of my students over the years; they help you see the world from a whole new perspective and they do cause you to really reflect on life in general.


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