Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Ten from 2010: Ryan Claborn

If I didn't like Ryan so much, I'd probably hate him. I mean that as a complement, of course. But the truth is, few people that I know are more talented than he is. He's smart, has some serious business savvy, I think he's pretty funny, he's a crazy-fast runner and Cherokee. That's a perfect combo in any book.

The truth is, I have been blessed to work with Ryan for the last six years. When he speaks in a meeting, people listen. Why do they listen? They listen because he is usually right. You gotta respect that. So, when compiling a list of people that I would want to hear from about last year, I knew Ryan was one I wanted to listen to.

You can follow Ryan's thoughts on twitter and read his blog here. - Eric

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10. That I didn’t really know what exhaustion was until I became a dad.

I have put in some late nights and early mornings in college. I have worked some fairly rough weeks at MOVE. I’ve driven through the night two nights in a row in a box truck. I’ve done all sorts of ridiculous physical exertion activities. But frankly I had no idea what sleep deprivation or exhaustion were until we had Drake. Day after day and week after week of very little sleep combined with constant motion and a whole new list of responsibilities that I was initially terrible at (my wife might debate whether I was only initially terrible or continue in my futility) definitely taught me a little more about what it means to truly be exhausted.

9. The importance of listening, asking questions, then speaking with half the intensity I feel.

To say I learned this needs to be qualified. I was reminded of this truth and daily struggle to live up to it. James 1:19-20 comes to mind, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” I came to the realization that I am much more likely to speak first and harshly when I am exceedingly tired. As a friend whose office used to be across the hall from mine can attest, January and February of 2010 were rough.

8. That when you have a child all the character flaws and bad habits that others tolerate or you just keep to yourself suddenly see the light of day.

The enormity of this hit me one day in traffic as I was explaining to another driver (from inside my wife’s car with the windows up) why he was a complete idiot and the state of Missouri should never have issued him a license. There in the rearview mirror smiling at me was the 10-month-old version of myself. I can hear it now, “Daddy, what does spineless wiener mean?” “Daddy, why did you call that man an idiot?” Not good. 2011 will be make or break in terms of me “unlearning” some bad habits.

7. That Dave Ramsey is right when he says you’ll spend less if you spend cash.

I don’t agree with him on everything, but he is right that you will spend less when you spend cash (actual currency). I had long maintained that if you were disciplined and only bought the things you needed/planned to buy then the form of payment did not particularly matter. After switching our discretionary expense items over to cash in 2010 I now see that he was right. We are spending less on those items because we are looking at what is left in the “envelope”.

6. That small changes can make a big difference in your budget.

When we decided that Brittany would not return to work in the fall of 2010 we had to immediately start looking at our spending and figure out where to reduce it fairly significantly (to us). There were some large, easy things that came first. There were some adjustments we could make (to things like the tax withholdings in my paychecks) that helped. There were a few conscious decisions (the call to Dish Network comes to mind) that we still feel occasionally (like when the entire BCS schedule ends up on ESPN). Ultimately, however, over the course of a few months we started finding ways to save a few dollars here and there (in groceries especially) that made a big difference. A couple of dollars a week doesn’t sound huge until you multiply by 52 (okay, that’s still not huge, but it starts to look a little bigger).

5. How blessed I am by the generosity of those around me.

We have been incredibly blessed as a couple (now family). With both of us working good jobs, while we weren’t purchasing any vacation homes we were able to do things we needed to, many of the things we wanted to, and save for the future. We weren’t particularly dependent on anyone. If we needed something we went and bought it. We have been humbled and greatly blessed by the way God has provided for us through the generosity and love of family and friends as we stepped through each new phase Drake entered in the midst of learning to be more frugal than was required in the past.

4. That weddings are a dangerous thing.

I was in one wedding, supported a wife in 2, and attended a couple of others in 2010. Here’s what I learned, you have to be careful as the bride and groom or you’ll end up with less friends after the wedding than you had before. Over the last several years I have watched and listened as a handful of well-meaning couples made being a part of their big day such a royal pain that their relationships with family and friends suffered as a result. A suggestion: It is your big day, but that doesn’t mean you should walk all over the ones you “love”.

3. That letting go can be difficult.

Prior to 2010, I had supervised the MOVE interns for 4 summers. According to Luzadder I had “worn” it for the program – meaning I owned it. The decision was made in late 2009 that I would hand over the reins in 2010. That sounded good, a little less running crazy all summer. In reality it was tough to give only solicited feedback and advice while watching someone else run it (very capably though differently) than I would have. I’m guessing that’s a lesson I’ll have to put into action again later in life.

2. That people have very strong opinions of how you should care for and raise your child(ren).

Whether it’s names, cloth v. disposable, bottle v. breast (feeding), or any other of a litany of important (though in some cases overblown) decisions you make as a prospective and new parent the one thing you can count on is that everyone you know who has had a kid, might someday want one, or has ever seen one on TV will have an opinion about the decision you should make. Not only that, they’ll be strong opinions in a lot of cases, to the point that it’s personally offensive if you don’t agree with them and make the choices they did or think you should. My advice: Listen to their perspective, learn what you can, then make the right decision for your child and your family. God made you and your spouse the parents of your child and with that comes the responsibility to make choices for how best to care for that child’s needs. Don’t delegate that responsibility and don’t apologize to others for the choices you make.

1. That getting older doesn’t always mean you can’t, but it may mean it’s going to hurt more

I’m 31, which isn’t that old, I get that. But I’m not 23 anymore, a fact I’m reminded of by the growing colony of gray hair staring at me in the mirror each morning. A jog through Oklahoma City in April reminded me that being several years older than the last time I tried it didn’t mean that I couldn’t still do it (though that day will come too) it really just meant I’d be a lot more sore the next day than the last time. The point here would be that in light of this truth I have to choose wisely when it is and is NOT worth it to prove that I still can.

1 comment:

michaeldefazio said...

Great stuff bro. I especially resonate with number two! Parenting styles should be added to religion and politics when it comes to dangerous dinner conversations.