Author: Michael

April 6, 2016 Michael No comments exist



Dave Griffin On Running – The Carroll County Times – Sunday, January 3, 2010

We had just had a record breaking snow storm.  Back in my competitive running days, I would have found a way to run in a storm like that.  I’m not sure whether it was a durable body or a reckless spirit that compelled me to do so, but I lack both of those things now, so my only workout that day came in the form of heavy snow and a shovel.


When I was done, I stood on the back patio for a few moments admiring the scene.  The snow was beautiful.  There was peace in the muffled silence, until I realized something was missing.  There were no boot prints or sledding paths in the snow.  My children had moved on.


It’s funny how our day-to-day routines shelter us from a life that’s constantly changing, until something stops us for a moment so we can take an inventory.  It’s not like I didn’t realize that they were getting older, but something in that moment made the fact more real.


I knew when they were born that my role as a father would be the most important of my life.  And yet, there didn’t seem to be any instructions to follow, so I pretty much learned along the way.  Making it even more difficult, there are no real ways to measure success.


Both of my children have grown to become good people, and some would use that as a barometer, but they, not I, deserve the credit for that.  Over the years, I’ve found that what I say to them has only a marginal effect.  It has been their experiences, and they’re reactions to those experiences, that have largely shaped them.


What I’ve finally come to realize is that my highest purpose as a father can be describe in rather simple terms – to set an example for my children to follow.  And, here is where running enters the story, and where I have the opportunity to share something of value with you.


If you want your children to be strong, demonstrate strength.  If you want them to be successful, illustrate the qualities that success requires.  If you want them to be happy, show them that there is more to life than deadlines and responsibilities.


Running has allowed me to do all those things.  As I’ve trained, overcome challenges and crossed finish lines, my children have watched me.  As I’ve found joy and passion on my runs, they have noticed.  In the process, they’ve learned more than they have from all the speeches, rules and punishments combined.  It’s not that those other things don’t have an important place, but you can’t guide your children with them if your own personal principles are misguided.


We all have a vision of what we’d like to become – a great athlete, a good parent, or simply a good person.  Whatever your vision might be, the principles of running – things like discipline, resilience and consistency – will serve you well.  And, if you should ever need a little extra motivation to practice these, let it come from the eyes that are watching and following your lead.



Dave Griffin is the Times’ running writer.  His column appears every other Sunday.  Reach him at or join the Facebook group, Dave Griffin On Running.


 The Flying Feet Spring Running Program coordinated by Dave Griffin.  Email or call 410-857-4974 for information

April 5, 2016 Michael No comments exist

Why have a hobby?

In our society we are constantly being prompted to be successful,  to drive forward to success.  How exhausting.  We need something other that what we have to do to keep us from going crazy. 

It is not uncommon to think of hobbies as time wasting and a distraction from the things that need to be done to reach the elusive goal of success. Did you know that Hobbies can have many benefits.    Below is an excerpt from an article by Dani DiPirro on

1. Hobbies encourage taking a break.
Hobbies offer an opportunity to take a break—but a break with a purpose.

2. Hobbies promote eustress. Eustress is that positive kind of stress, the kind that makes you feel excited about what you’re doing and about life.

3. Hobbies offer a new challenge. Hobbies break up routine and challenge you in new ways, ways that are different from work, ways that are positive.

4. Hobbies unite you with others. Even if you engage in a solo activity, like illustrating, you’re exposing yourself to a new world of people, people who find the same thing enjoyable that you do.

5. Hobbies provide an outlet for stress. 

6. Hobbies promote staying present. If you really love what you’re doing, you tend to get in the flow or zone and really, truly focus on the moment.

7. Hobbies have physical health benefits. Research has found that engaging in enjoyable activities during down time were associated with lower blood pressure, total cortisol, waist circumference, and body mass index. Engaging in these activities also correlated to higher levels of positive psychosocial states and lower levels of depression and negative affect. Hobbies are good for your mind and your body.  “

If you were to google benefits of hobbies you would find thousands of pages discussing the science behind this list.  But I think this summation, and the supporting discussion or her site, is all you really need to convince yourself that hobbies are a good idea.

Hobbies and Families

Taking part in extracurricular events for yourself teaches your children that being active and learning new things is enjoyable, important, and something they will want to do their entire lives.

There are many types of hobbies available

For me my hobbies have always involved fitness.  For decades I was a runner and through programs like The Flying Feet Running Programs I got very fit and met lots of wonderful people.  I also have spent hours at the gym and met many people with similar interests to mine. As a scientist my favorite articles to read have always been fitness and health oriented.  

Music is another hobby that many get involved in. In the famous book, How to win friends and influence people. “Uncle George the fiddle scraper from Kinzua County” is a great example of someone who decided to pick up a new hobby and eventually turned it into a lifestyle.  Basically the story goes George was forced into retirement and out of boredom he started playing an old fiddle.  Eventually he started going to fiddle conventions and hanging out with other musicians.  He started filling his time with people and things he liked and as a results he was very happy and extremely well liked. 

Just a few other hobbies that many find enjoyable are,  Martial arts,  Meditation, working on cars, ballroom dancing, fishing, hiking, cycling, painting, sculpting, pottery, writing, and pets.  This is a very short list of the things available to do with your free time.  Share with us what you like to do.  Perhaps you will meet others like yourself who enjoy the same things.



Mike I

Blogger for Frederick Dads



March 26, 2016 Michael No comments exist

We have all seen FaceBook posts and articles all over the web about how the best parents and the ones that are involved in their kids lives. 


Ok maybe for some but not everyone.  For dads this can be incredibly difficult.  Were your male role models super involved in your life?  If you were to dive in head first and try to be super dad two things would happen.  First everyone would look at you like perhaps dad needs to go to a hospital and Secondly you would grow tired of the exertion and shift back into doing the same things you have always done. 

Being engaged is hard work. Just like every thing that is hard, it is best to ease into it.  You would not go out and try and bench 250 again if you hadn’t touch a bar in 5 years.  You have to work into it.  

There are several things that you can do to get started on this process.  One is to work from the outside in.  Start off by helping out with little things like staging the things they need ahead of time.  Of course they need to learn to do these things by themselves but having it ready when the “oh hell I forgot I had to…..”  moment strikes will score you big points. Also don’t just ask “Do you have everything?”  Ask specific questions,  it shows you are aware of what they are doing.

A second technique is to support the other parent.  During those limited windows of time when everyone is trying so hard to make sure that homework, sports, activities, events, and all the things kids are involved in get done,  It is easy to let things slip.  When your child raising partner is running around like a whirlwind and you have a free moment jump in and do some of the things that she typically does when time is available.  Start a load of laundry.  Put the clothes that she started 5 hours ago into the dryer.  Do a quick wipe down of the _________ .  It doesn’t take much thought to come up with a huge list of your own.  Anything that you do will help her, which will reduce her stress, and in turn provide for a more productive environment for everyone. 

This list could be long but it is just a primer for getting started.  My third and final suggestion to finding an entry from the peripheral to the awesome is to just listen to them.  When they are around don’t play on your phone.  Don’t talk at them. Don’t meddle.  Answer them honestly.  Get to know what they care about.  It won’t take long to build a great relationship but it is tough to get started.  Start off with the small weights