Confirming Moments For A Work At Home Dad

Plus, a bunch of other happenings and updates’ish.


Moment #1: A man makes his way out of the dining hall to say…

It was December 22nd, 2018. We had all gathered together, several branches of our nuclear paternal family, to meet together for an early Christmas dinner and visit with my grandparents.

Sadly, at this stage, they haven’t been doing that well and have been needing a lot of help — physically, emotionally, mentally. I guess, it’s normal. And, it’s normal for me to just feel a bit down and sad about the situation. Watching loved ones age and age out of their own self… it’s rough.

Well, during our dinner — somewhere towards the end of the meal; at where my grandparents are living we eat a large dining hall. There was a resident who stood up in the middle of this dining hall and made his way out and over to talk to me.

I mean… I’m in my mid-30s… I shouldn’t have any feelings of precariousness or worry when folks approach me. Right?

Well… that’s not even close to true. I totally thought he was going to confront me about something I did wrong that I wasn’t even aware of.

LOL! Oi… FORTUNATELY…. he came up to me (and, mind you… he’s significantly taller than me and is my senior — which automatically positions him with respect in my mind)… and, he says to me:

“You’re a good father.”

Then, this man looked at Nathan, pointed to him as he locked eyes with my boy and he said:

“You have have a really good dad.”

He had been quietly observing my interactions with Nathan throughout this entire dinner. And, during this time, Nathan and I were playing, snuggling, joking, laughing, and generally enjoying each other in the best ways we know how.

So, Yes… it’s good to remember how and why I came down this insane startup entrepreneur, traveling speaker, social media connecting, work at home path.

Moment #2: My son wants to grow up to be a daddy.

I like to have conversations about the future with my son. I do this regularly when we drive together, just me and him; and, when we play together — typically some imaginary Star Wars, Avengers, Legos, or dinosaur oriented game.

I asked Nathan one day:

Nathan… what do you want to be when you grow up?

In the past, he’s said paleontologist, kid chef (as in Master Chef Junior), a firefighter, a police officer, an airplane pilot… What was his answer? AND… has been his answer for the last several months?

I want to grow up and be a daddy.

—said Nathan

Nathan wants to be me. I didn’t think about this much until I talked about this with my wife. Christina’s insight was incredible. She said something to the effect that:

Kids typically want to grow up and become what their parents profession is or was at the time.

Your son wants to become a dad. That is who you are to him and that is the profession you embody. Not a doctor, not a business owner, not a marketer — a Daddy.

—Christina Fung, Super Mom & Hero Wife

Moment #3: Daddy, Show Some Grit!

I had this really telling conversation with a bunch of great colleagues… extended family, really, of the Physical Therapy profession (#PTfam) — this conversation happened in Chicago during the American Physical Therapy Association’s NEXT conference of 2019 — which I just had returned from… (which will be expanded on in Moment #4)

So, here’s the backdrop: One day years ago, I came across some stunning wrist pain — humbling to say the least. After all, what Physical Therapist can’t “cure their own pain?”

Me.

LOL! Yeah… it was humbling and actually got in the way of me doing push ups, doing certain movements in Jiu Jitsu, didn’t really hinder my Muay Thai — but did change the way I got in and out of bed, and, on and off the floor. It was an annoyance I learned to otherwise live with and had tried to self-treat many times… to no avail.

WELL…. I was sharing this story with my #PTfam and we’re all clinical geeks, of course. And, I was telling them that if there’s one thing I could impart upon my son as a life skill… I want it to be GRIT. (more on this in a TED talk, linked and embedded below)

We all knew what I meant by “grit.” And, the situation unfolded where I wanted to try push ups again this Spring of 2019. I had just spent several days teaching and reciting with Nathan…

What is Grit?

Never give up. Finish the job.

Well.. this time, Nathan was watching me try some push ups and I stopped and flicked my wrist in pain. I said, “Ah… ouch.”

Nathan looked at me with focused and determined eyes… he said to me:

Daaaaaad… Show Some GRIT!

I had no choice. I had to do it. So, after a few more fairly painful reps… the pain in my left wrist went away. Annnnnd… it has not yet come back. In fact, I’m back to doing sets of push ups and even did a few sets in my hotel room in Chicago at the conference. There’s a bunch of science on how and why this happened… but, we won’t get into that today 🙂

In any case, if you want to learn more about grit and how it’s the SINGULAR PREDICTOR of a student’s (and, perhaps… a person’s) future success… Check out this clip — it’s queued up 😉

Moment #4: Debating on a national platform.

So… on to #4. Many of you reading this know that I was one of the Oxford Debate captains on topic of social media at the 2019 APTA NEXT conference in Chicago.

It was a HUGE honor.

Every year, this conference hosts a debate that’s a blend of a stage show as much as it is a statement within the profession with aims of bringing up points from both sides of the resolution / argument — to provoke critical thought, that those who may have started out in support or in opposition might even switch sides by the end of the experience.

Well… it wasn’t so much the entire conference experience that was my Moment #4 as much as it was leading up to the conference. I hadn’t gone on business travels for quite some time since the last one, and so, my son didn’t need to deal with the emotional facts of me leaving in recent months’ memory.

As the day for my initial flight approached, poor Nathan got more and more attached to me and kept telling him how much he’d miss me. Of course, I told him why I had to travel for work and how important the platform is — that being asked in an immense honor and privilege.

In any case, I went on to ask him what he wanted me to bring back to him from the trip.

His response was too sweet:

I just want you daddy… and, a toy!

Because, I always bring him back some type of souvenir from the airports I visit. LOL! Apparently, his receptive love language right now is Gifts.

It’s not so much what he said, but how he said it — he wasn’t impressed by my position nor station, he yearned for my return and to receive the expression of love he feels is most tangible at his age and for this circumstance.

It may seem small, but having your kid want you around is a huge deal to me — it tells me I’m doing something right, that he is covetous of his time with me — which means, that I’m spending the right type of time with him…. and, I hope to only do more of this in the days to come 🙂


And, now… a bunch of stuff from Instagram.

PS. Don’t miss the really sweet moments of the “Secret Swing” video at the bottom 😉

LAST, AND CERTAINLY NOT LEAST…

I suppose this is just one big tell all post for me to journal for me, for me to chronicle for Nathan… and, for those of you looking to embark on a journey like ours… that it’s possible, it’s enjoyable, it’s not always certain… but, it IS certainly worth it 🙂

Big Changes Through Summer of 2018 / New Year’s Day 2019 Catch Up

Posted New Year’s Day 2019 …. hahaha.. oi…

Call this another catch all post.

Sadly… finally completed for my New Year’s Day 2019 catch all super release of posts series… ha! So… it is understandably a collection of thoughts… stories… and, isn’t organized in any way. 


So… We Moved!

And.. that’s just the start of it.

It’s been forever… because the entire world changed since basically…… well, honestly SPRING of 2018 (this year). What’s happened?

  1. We had to solve some family affairs for some aging members.
  2. We needed to move.
  3. We needed to sell our condo.
  4. The companies I’m part of grew faster than we anticipated (awesome!).
  5. Kiddo started school.

So… yeah…… 2018… BUSY YEAR!


So, all this started by revisiting some family needs. If you’re an 80s kid like me, there are some family members that are getting older… actually, they are probably close to end of life if we’re being honest.

It’s truth. And, it’s not easy. There are some profoundly deep cultural elements rooted into my family situation; things that have also been lost to reason due to dementia. This… has become a passion point of mine — particularly as a doctor.

When a joint has disease, it hurts… doesn’t move so well. When you have a sinus infection, you get congested and nasty. When you have a stomach bug… you know what happens. But, what happens when your brain ages? When it gets some of its normal wrinkles… the neurologic “skin tear” as it were — well…. the person changes, their behavior changes, the window to their soul… changes.

This was the backdrop of us moving into and out of Spring of 2018 with undisclosed conditions to how to make for a best care situation for some family members.

As a result of this, and, that my companies were growing along with maturing core family situations… not to mention we outgrew our condo the moment Nathan was born — LOTS of changes were looming.


My memory first flashes back to our last night as a family in the only home we’ve known. The condo we’ve lived in for 8+ years is where I carried my bride into the threshold, where our son grew up, where he first walked… all the drama that happened throughout a near decade of living in a place (no matter how chaotic or cramped) one calls “Home.”

So… what did we do? SUSHI.

Sushi has been a tradition to us. It’s what we do when we celebrate. It’s very commonly how we celebrate New Years. It’s what my wife ate (the non-raw stuff) two nights before Nathan was born.

So, we sush’ed it up. Eating on the floor (since everything was packed for our move)… watching Back To The Future in an empty living room, with kiddo more into the movie than we were, LOL!

While watching this, Christina and I looked at each other marveling at how poetic the entire situation was.

A word of wisdom I’ve learned in my youth that I’ve taken as a proverb of sorts has been, “Stand in the shower of blessings.”

Things don’t grow just because… they grow because they are well situated for growth. This is actually related to a keynote I just gave (yesterday, at NARA Fall 2018 conference) on Leadership Innovation. People. Idea. Timing. You can’t control timing. You can change your ideas. And, you can grow your people. Nevertheless, in business, we are all subject to the timing of the marketplace. So, if you situate your company in good timing, you will always win.

Think on the natural environment. The Amazon forest isn’t a jungle “just because.” It’s the world biggest greenery because its in a place with good rain.


So, with all this happening… since Spring, we essentially needed to move out, fix up a place, take care of family business, and progress with our family life — all in 8 weeks. Which meant… we needed to stay in a hotel, AGAIN… for many weeks. We had already done this several rounds… particularly during that epic Father’s Day flooding in this condo that we were moving out of — wasn’t our fault by the way 😉

SO! Managing a housing renovation with all this drama happening… a moment hit me that I suddenly realized it was FOUR YEARS since my corporate management days. FOUR. YEARS.

I can’t imagine any other type of life than this — than a work at home dad. Now, that may progress as Nathan grows. But, the truth is that May 2018 was 4 years since I started this faith journey to build a life around my family to work at home.


I’ll be expanding on a few of these, but felt the urge to simply share some new personal developments:

  1. I’ve taken up a love for BBQ
  2. I took Nathan surfing for the first time this Summer
  3. I’ve experienced the sad irony of the “hopeful lightbulb bounce” – it’s a Sad Irony Moment To Share: During the housing renovation buildout, I dropped a lightbulb from a really high distance; it bounced perfectly off the ground without breaking… and, then… went up… and, then… went down to bounce again. Landing on the floor for the 2nd time from a fraction of the distance, my hope started to waver and then I saw the poor bulb shatter into 1 million pieces. So sad.
  4. Oh, upon moving in to our new home situation, we had a month WITHOUT BLINDS. So, mornings became early…. REALLY early.
  5. I’ve come to make time to think about life. And, this pondering has become truly significant as I’m in my mid-30s. I’m halfway to 70. And, what have I accomplished? How much more needs to be done? If some tragedy were to befall… would I have made a difference? Would I have made a significant impact on peoples LIVES??? Thoughts to think on.

Some words of wisdom, thoughts on relationships/parenting, and exhortations.

  • Encourage. Empower. Equip. This is how you grow your people.
  • There’s a distinction between what you value and what you prioritize.
  • Compromise is a situation where two ore more parties lose a bit less. Collaboration is when they gain a bit more.
  • “The struggle” in relationships isn’t romantic — it’s a RED FLAG. Relationships you fight for due to internal problems doesn’t make it worth it… it makes it forced and otherwise better saved for the movies.
  • Little things matter so much in life. Big things that happen for good or for bad typically come from many little things.
  • In relationships: The idea of someone is a fantasy. Be very careful about falling in love with the idea of someone vs. actually getting to know the real them. I love what my wife says, [paraphrased] The person you marry you should be wholly satisfied with if they were to never change or never grow beyond who they are on that day.
  • If you think someone is angry at you, or, so you think…Then don’t avoid it. Address it!
  • In life you have two choices, you can elevate your problems or your promises. Whatever you elevate, it will cover you.
  • Love, Life, and Learning : 3Ls in all positive relationships.
  • There are “Rs” in life: Reception / Reaction / Response / Relation / Revelation. How you receive the events in your life, how you plan and execute your response, how you relate in new ways…. all these reveal something deeply true about your character.
  • Character is the inner strength to do what’s right.
  • Know your Calling, and walk it daily. — know your truth, and live it out.
  • “Bad couples” tend to drag others down with them — they need for people to suffer with them, otherwise, they become that much more aware of their own failures.

A BIG REALIZATION…

This Spring/Summer of 2018 was truly a stressful time. We were living out of a hotel. We were selling our home. We were renovating our new place. We were growing the companies. THIS of all times, should’ve been a time that Christina and I turned on each other — we didn’t.

In fact, we learned this truth… admittedly, something my wife learned before I did:

Bragging about your spouse is one of the best things you can do for your relationship AND for others — everyone bags (not brags) on each other, not wanting to be the one happy couple when everyone else is suffering.

Which is better? Suffering together with no hope of change? Or, sharing positive experiences to encourage others towards better times?

We also discovered that the Victim’s Mentality is one of the worst things ever. “It’s not my fault.” “It’s not my responsibility.” “It just happened to me.” “You don’t understand.” — it’s the grown up childish version of when parents “Because, I said so.” It’s no way to live life. If you’re in this type of situation, you’ve GOT TO BREAK FREE.


In any case, there’s much more to come. I have literally 5 other post tabs open that I need to wrap up (now, done) — which have been conveniently released as a singular batch on New Year’s Day 2019. The one I’m most excited about is the surprising similarities of an Executive MBA and homeschooling. Say whaaaaaaaaat????? #NotSoPopularPossiblyTooRealThoughtsComingSOON


LAST THING… promise.

 

FIN & Happy New Year!

There’s This Thing About Barbecue (BBQ)

I love food. This is no secret. During 2018, I finally stumbled across BBQ that I truly found amazing — Iron Pig Alehouse.

In San Diego, we have this place called Phil’s BBQ. Most people love it. I like them well enough, but wasn’t as emotionally impressed as so many people talk about it. Heresy, I know 😉

Nevertheless, I stumbled across some BBQ YouTube videos (later to be linked)… and, saw something called Texas style BBQ Brisket. It intrigued me.

Juicy. Beef. BBQ smoke flavors. Not dry. Not over sauced. Done deal… IF, it held up to its reputation. Iron Pig, did.

Hence, started my journey of rabbit holes on how to best do BBQ at home. Now, this started back when we were still in the condo — and, their HOA rules did NOT allow for wood fires. Sad beans. Fortunately, as will be explained in a later post today (this New Year’s Day 2019 super release series)… we moved! AND, I got myself a BBQ offset smoker.

Here are some of the early results.


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Sunday afternoon backyard #barbecue. #babybackribs #porkbelly #bbq #barbeque #marshmellow #smores #FAMILYTIME

A post shared by Ben Fung (@drbenfung) on


Reflecting On My Home BBQ Results:

  1.  I’ve cooked two hole briskets so far. The first one on Father’s Day 2018… EPIC. Basically perfect. The 2nd one, I some how didn’t control the heat as well… and, it came out super dry at the flat — the point was “okay.” The fat could’ve been rendered a bit better.
  2. Pork Shoulder or Pulled Pork is something I’ve gotten right every time. It’s pretty forgiving. And, I was able to feet an entire contracting crew during the wrap up of our new living situation’s refurbishment.
  3. Pork Belly. I REALLY need to figure out how to make the skin crispy. I love all these meats, but pork belly… I LOVE it because it reminds me of my paternal grandmother’s Taiwanese style stewed pork and rice. But, I like the crispy skin because of the Cantonese/Hong Kong style foods I’ve grown to love being a West coast kid. So, this is my next big project… making BBQ belly CRISPY.
  4. Ribs. RIIIIIIBS. Ribs, specifically baby back over spare… are probably my best work to date. I’ve gotten super consistent with them and have messed around with various styles of rub and sauce / no sauce. Suffice to say, Trader Joe’s Carolina Gold is probably the best finishing sauce I’ve found and creates a really nice glaze without glopping the rub.

BBQ videos. Here are some of my faves:

  • Franklin BBQ. Be sure to check out their brisket, pulled pork, and ribs series. [Watch: https://www.youtube.com/user/BBQwithFranklin]
  • Why The Best Southern Barbecue Takes Weeks To Make [Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39ii9LvnDoE]
  • Best Offset Smoker Modifications | 6 Easy Mods [Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dnnyyg6Sqg]

How much is this method of cooking is art or science or honoring the legacy of the past? Probably a bunch of all. Ultimately, barbecue is generally accepted to have been around since human’s have eating meat over fire. Nevertheless, it’s fun to tinker with… try… fail… try again… and perfect one’s method to making some wood fired meats.

Every Day Betterment: A 21 Day Challenge for September 2018


So a little while back… apparently “3 months back” (from when I began writing this post)… I asked everyone on Facebook the question above. And, now… it’s a blog post 🙂

This is how today’s post will work.

  1. The first section shows the Facebook comments for your convenience.
  2. The second section journals when I first attempted each activity or category of activity within the first 21 days of September… attempting in some way to consistently capture as many of these all in one day for the first twenty one days of September that I could (or, could remember).
  3. The third and final section dives into my reflections on this challenge.

Enjoy!


Section One

For your convenience, here were the responses as posted chronologically to that Facebook post…

PS. Sorry not everyone’s avatars are populating… #PrivacySettings

Ben Ederer Listen to good music

 Vincent Gutierrez Read at least as much as you look at a screen for entertainment.
Stanton Rehkemper Exercise every day
Tonya Yanok Stop, unplug from tech, clear your mind, and BREATHE… just a few deep breaths can help. Ideally doing this for longer, and even better, outside in green space after a workout, but some days don’t allow for it. It calms the nervous system so you can mentally and physically conquer the day with more clarity.
Dustin Jordan meditate/appreciate what you have
Jared Casazza Prioritize sleep. Decreased sleep quality or quanity is detrimental to every aspect of waking life.
Lissette Holland Meditate or be with Spirit in prayer
 Kelly Duggan Find something to be thankful for
Mark Luttrell Be kind to one another.
Andy Lodato Build relationships
Cameron McIntosh Treat others better tahn you would like to be treated. I treat patients like I would want my family members to be treated. I have used tons of frameworks in pediatric, orthopedic, and neurologic PT with everyone one being successful not because of what I do as a clinician but just who I am as a person and how I treat others
Michael P Gowen Appreciate and be thankful for the important things in your life.
Look up from your phone to appreciate the views in life
Jeff Baldwin Positive Affirmations
Brian Harder Be a little better than you were yestersay
John Brengle Make someone else happy
Paul Jones Help someone.
Rahul Singh Rikhy Put down your phone
Brian Harder Also. Stand on the shoulders of giants. That’s been a HUGE deal in my life.
Mike Makher Sleep a full eight hours, daily
Bryan Stewart Lots of great ideas! I try to get a little podcast and reading time everyday, at least 20 min each. Absolutely feel better!
John Lee Huang SMILE! Also drink a glass of water with squeeze of lemon first thing when you wake up 🙂
Carrie Jose Gove Walk – every person I know over the age of 90 who is still active and healthy and happy does this one thing daily.
Trace McClintock Journal each day
Jordan Gibson Make your bed, every morning. 
If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.
Ray Berardinelli Take action!!!!
Jordan Mather Everyday at 3pm stop Everything and say 3 things you are thankful for. Works like a charm.

Section Two: Journal of Attempts

Let’s be honest. With every challenge, you make some marks… you miss some marks. The entries below chronicles the first twenty one days or so of September 2018… and, my extended attempts at these activities / my attempt as keeping entries. (LOL!)

Day-By-Day…

  1. Day One
    • Listen to good music: Capricho Arabe – Tarrega Michael Chapdelaine – Solo Guitar – Steel Strings. I’m actually learning this song; found out later, it’s a masterpiece and can take a lifetime, LOL!
    • Help someone: Someone was begging for food in the local Rubio’s. I tried to offer this person to buy them an entire meal. After some back and forth, they just wanted a slice of of quesadilla.
    • Exercise: Tried to surf the hurricane swell that came in from Hawaii. Almost made it past the breakers on my new shortboard. Instant regret once I got into no-man’s-land. Paddled back. Heh… 😛
    • Make someone else happy: Despite much protest, I prematurely put on my “T-Rex” costume for Halloween. My son couldn’t stop laughing. My wife was “terrified.” And, I was thoroughly embarrassed — worth it 🙂
  2. Day Two
    • Read Manga of Lost Stars
    • Spent some intentional time reflecting and being thankful
  3. Days Three – Five
    • Made bed in the morning
    • Put down my phone and spent an entire evening with my son
    • Journaling via this blog post
  4. Days Five – Ten
  5. Days Eleven – Fifteen
  6. Days Sixteen – Twenty
  7. Day Twenty One

LOL… you’re not misreading, nor is there a loading problem. I failed to journal the remainder of my efforts. Though, I wouldn’t call this challenge a fail… really.


Section Three: Reflections

The first thing I noticed when just gathering the challenge actions were how mindful they were. Most had this theme about self improvement, self prioritization, and self reflection. The remainder were generally others oriented — using the self to better those around us.

Something my wife reminds me to do is that being others oriented shouldn’t come at the cost of being self-deprecating.

After all, in order to care for others… you must first care for yourself. This is a big lesson that many who are in healthcare must learn, and learn over and over.

I will say that it was around this time that I issued another challenge to myself: Be In The Moment.

I had already committed to being “less on demand” while using social media or even in the awareness of being plugged in and/or glued to the screen. This processed helped me really enjoy the Fall/Winter seasons of 2018, and quite honestly… thanks to all these wonderful friends of mine… helped me usher in one of the best holiday season experiences I can recall in recent times… all because this challenge caused me to be far more in the moment and aware of my immediate happenings… rather than being plugged in and notification dependent.

My Encouragement To You

Try this out for yourself! Post something similar on your social platforms, gather a cluster of challenges… and, do your best to follow them through. I doubt it’s realistic nor reasonable to try and upkeep EVERY SINGLE ONE. However, experiencing each and doing one’s best at each attempt — it was a truly edifying and empowering series.