project what you want

home is security, safe house

smile when you see people, greet them by name and firm handshake.

 dont always feel like doing this but its the right thing to do, makes people feel good and the returns are more than you put in


6 am day after Christmas
I throw some clothes on in the dark
The smell of cold
Car seat is freezing
The world is sleeping
I am numb
Up the stairs to her apartment
She is balled up on the couch
Her mom and dad went down to Charlotte
they’re not home to find us out
And we drive
Now that I have found someone
I’m feeling more alone
Than I ever have before
She’s a brick and I’m drowning slowly
they call her name at 7:30
I pace around the parking lot
then I walk down to buy her flowers
And sell some gifts that I got
Can’t you see
It’s not me you’re dying for
Now she’s feeling more alone
Then she ever has before
She’s a brick and I’m drowning slowly
off the coast and I’m headed nowhere
She’s a brick and I’m drowning slowly
As weeks went by
It showed that she was not fine
They told me son it’s time to tell the truth
She broke down and I broke down
Cause I was tired of lying
Driving home to her apartment
For the moment we’re alone
She’s alone
I’m alone
Now I know it

you never know what goes on behind closed doors

candy and andy and dick and jane. beautiful kids. beautiful wives. wildly successful businessmen at the helms of their own companies. xmas cards from family vacations on st. barts, the cloisters, the serengeti. flash rides. every opportunity to be happy….or so it seemed. the marriages crashed and burned with all the typical collateral damage. both divorces shocked everyone in town.

mom is my best friend. i learned that from poppie and odie. i didn’t know any thing different. same values. very similar backgrounds. very similar tastes, though your mom absoultely knows how to lead a life well lived much better than i do. i just gotta start cranking the cash to enable it. we’ve worked hard at becoming better communicators. a key book there was and continues to be “The Five Love Languages.” recently mom and i were stressing over money and how the heck we were going to pay for University of Michigan. once we got that out in the open, the fear, the uncertainty, we calmed ourselves by re-committing to trusting in the process and the help we are getting from Alex and the crew at College Planning Network. Before we got back to being parents, we both agreed that we are classic examples of a couple “fighting” over money issues. we both agreed that we do not at the moment have any other issues core to our marriage that needs fixing. just keep on nurturing it along.


a husband and wife dont have to be best friends. they need to be great partners with a common vision and cause. being best friends who are partners just works for us.


to date, mom has struggled for most of our marrigae with my entrepreneurism. i live pretty much full-time in the future. mom is very much in the present and that is full of daily money worries. present-day realities do catch up with me now and then and you see the distant, aloof and short-tempered me. the dad flat on his back, up in bed reading a book, getting lost in someone else’s story. beats the alternative i used to turn to: booze.

mom’s a champ and pretty much soldiers on with an even keel that we have all come to depend on.

as one of my mentors shared, “I just knew in my heart I couldn’t work for someone else. I just had to do my own thing. It hasn’t been easy, especially for my wife. But we never gave up and that hardwork and a little bit of luck and enough time, it all worked out in the end.”

grammy and walter had the same experience with the Creekwood apartments. Odie and Poppie with RIce Oil. remember that painting in poppies office in Neah of the cowboy trying to push that wagon stuck in the creek? thats poppie’ symbol for the trail they were on.

work for smart people, be a great employee, then head out on your own


for about half that time, she struggled with my alcoholism.

writing this book for year

i’ve been writing this book for years in bits n pieces. stuff that has worked and lessons learned on stuff that didn’t. stuff we keep doing, started doing and stopped doing in the process
*of raising three boys to gentle-men.
* marriage
* work
this book is for cooper, michael and max. it’s mom and dad’s playbook that we are pretty much making Up as we go. yes, we are setting aside a little bit of any money we might make on this book for you. why? to defray some of the costs associated with the countless hours you’ll be billed by your psychiatrist to undue the damage done by a couple amateurs!

It’s a resource. When the student is ready, a teacher will appear. Use it as you need it and add some for the next guy.

as jimmy buffet sings,

it’s a semi-true story, believe it or not
i made up a few things and some i forgot
but the life and the tellin’ are both real to me
and they all run together and turn out to be
a semi-true story

i dedicate this book to my grandparents, whom I was fortunate to spend many years getting to know, learning from and be loved by.

David Charlton, Hudson, Ohio, 2011

united front

Mom and dad being on same page.

Agree ahead of time if something said in front of kid thatnother parent doesn’t agree with, save it for later.
Learned my lessons when I took away tv for a week.
Rabbit ears vs cable.
No tv

warrior, king, magician, “lover”

As Susan and I sat in the stands last night, I was so happy for brad. Forget the score and the fact Hudson won. I was happy for brad because I was watching a man ensconced in waves of pure joy. So in the moment. Feeding his soul. The king, warrior, magician and “lover” (great book) all being traversed simultaneously. No small feat for a man in today’s conflicted society. Hey, we know brad ain’t perfect;-) but it was the epitome of the self actualization of the modern masculine psyche. It was beautiful. Those boys he leads are so darn lucky. I was lucky, too, watching it unfold. It was the highlight of my Friday night lights.

i’ll take it from here

from rising freshman to pg year in canada to university of michigan. one family’s experience helping their student-athlete take those extra steps towards greatness

  • cash flow for kids
  • no to wra
  • white knuckles
  • officer brouchard
  • love languages
  • rich dad poor dad
  • father and son
  • bac
  • sat mornings
  • pay it forward / under his wing
  • summer jobs
  • goal setting
  • glory vs fame
  • australia and new zealand
  • brothers
  • allowance
  • chores
  • hard work beats talent
  • grind it out. head down and trust in the process. focus, faith, effort
  • timeouts
  • when the student is ready the teacher will appear
  • last guy on team
  • role player in practice
  • from suspension to ray hyser
  • helicopter parents
  • set ups (forgotten cleats)
  • too late
  • no coaches came a callin’
  • help ideas over the wall (cali plan mom and dad dont like but dont tell)
  • no heat seeking missiles
  • better fit academically, athletically, socially, financially
  • marketing
  • website
  • titanium and under armour and king of the hill and reebok canada top 100
  • networking
  • mat
  • hill, avon, deerfield
  • play with fire and second chance with officer brouchard
  • xmas day
  • decision making; trust the process
  • commitment to hill
  • begins to pay dividends
  • UM
  • bo’s lasting lessons
  • way of peaceful warrior
  • bill wlesh
  • internship
  • under water basket weaving
  • scholarships
  • financial aid
  • cuz
  • credit card
  • negotiating: boy to man ritual
  • i’ll take it from here

i’ll take it from here

“You guys did a great job. I’ll take it from here.”

Coop’s last words last night as we 3-way hugged in the driveway of his hill academy dorm.

I’ll take it from here.

As we drove back to our hotel, Susan and and I silently stared straight ahead trying to keep it together, knowing if either attempted to say something eloquent about the moment we’d both lose it. We got about 100 yards before we both did this crazy laugh-cry-try-to-catch-your-breath. Silence. Hold breath. crazy laugh-cry-try-to-catch-your-breath. Silence.

Just breathe.

I’ll take it from here.

recruiting process

Well, Coop’s dream is now a reality. This fall he will continue on the post graduate (PG) path for a 5th year of high school, or as some call it a “13th year”, at the Hill Academy in Toronto. Fall 2012 he will begin attending the University of Michigan.

Throughout the summer as he toured schools, U-M consistently remained his #1 choice. Yesterday he verbally inked the deal with Michigan’s Coach Paul, the day before the “dead period”. Throughout this (for us) multi-year process, the #1 goal was to find the best fit for him academically, as a college community and financially. Thanks to lacrosse, he was admitted to an academically competitive school; without lax, even with graduating with distinction, there was no chance of admittance. Thanks to lacrosse, financially he has earned athletic scholarship money to defray some of the high cost.

The icing on the cake was the opportunity to play DI lacrosse. He will do all of the above in Ann Arbor as a Michigan Man and Wolverine.

A big thanks to Mat Wilson on helping us discover both a PG year and The Hill Academy. This one connection changed the arc of Cooper’s life for the better. The dividends that have already begun to flow Coop’s way leave Susan and I thinking we will also explore a PG year for Michael and Max, a kinda “reverse” hold-back strategy on the back end vs keeping the child back a year before he starts 1st grade.

Susan, Cooper and I have learned lots; there was a substantial amount of stuff we didn’t know we didn’t know. Debbie and Brian Rogan, Wendy and Brian Vehar, Gretchen and Jon Greising were all so helpful in helping us discover that we had to find the best fit academically and as a college community first, lax second. This was by far the best advice we got and in our minds the primary guideline on which to build a student-athletes vision for the next 4 years.

The process was further enhanced for Cooper as we had him drive the process from beginning to end. Susan and I were there as mentors, but when it came time to tour, interview and ultimately negotiate with the coaches, Cooper was in the driver’s seat. Yes we all hopped on a con call with financial aid people but other than that and briefly meeting the coach, the student-athlete was the single point of contact. Each Coach remarked at some point how much they respected Coop for this leadership; this did nothing but enhance Coop’s attractiveness in their eyes as they got a taste of the leadership that might soon be on the field, campus and classrooms. Based on the size of the athletic award, Cooper did very, very well for himself based on feedback from those in the know.

As we have discovered, the lacrosse family (aka, lacrosse mafia) is a tight knit group that looks out for each other. This winter Cooper has been invited to join a lax team going to Costa Rica to work with their National Team to help them take things to the next level. On the way, eco-tourism, community service projects, surfing, kite boarding, experiencing the cultures food, arts and history, etc.

I could go on and on how much lax has done for this kid. Rather than “push” this content, feel free to “pull” this outta our heads when the timing is right for you and your son, if he chooses to leverage lax as a tool to enhance and expand the options within the marathon college search process.

We also have some experiences on the summer lax camps/teams that were very high value to get looks as well as those that were less effective.

Lastly, a disclaimer: Cooper LOVES lacrosse. He will play anytime day or night. At our house, you hear this phrase all the time even after an intense practice or game: “care to lax” is our cue to head outside and start tossing the ball together as a family (Susan’s has been seen out there from time to time, too). I share this so there is no misunderstanding on anyone’s part that this was ever a “forced march” for Coop. Or a chore representing a means to an end. Its been organic as he has matured as a young person and lax player. His big passion in life right now and over the past 3 years is competitive lacrosse. It feeds the “warrior” and “magician” inside him. Being a captain fed the “king” in him. As a leader even w/out the captain credentials, connecting with players and coaches on a deeper level feeds the “lover” in him (warrior, king, magician and lover is a GREAT book). If the passion wasn’t there none of the above could have happened. Each child is his own unique person on this life walk. my gosh….I just keep going;-)

In fact Michael and I went to a counselor to get some guidance on making sure we are both on the same page in learning how each of us best send and receives communication as a pre-emptive strike for the upcoming high school years. What worked for Cooper, Susan and I is not necessarily what will work best for Michael (or Max) as we navigate what for us were some challenging years with Cooper. When the fur starts flying, we better be able to communicate well difficult and emotionally charged topics.

Yep, Michael was not thrilled with going. I framed it as I wanted to become a better Dad and the counselor needed him there to better understand who it was I wanted to be a better dad to. he left the session feeling like it was worthwhile. We both picked up some new communication techniques that have already brought us even closer and even sharper at crisp, clear, timely communication. We’ll wrap with a final session with Susan in a couple of weeks as we help him position himself for success in HS by getting off to a strong start, both academically and athletically.

Best, DC

Ha Ha a PS: we haven’t given much thought to coop’s website; figured it had served its purpose and no longer did any update. oh how foolish young grasshopper! i bumped into a summer time acquaintance tis past weekend in TC and somehow she had seen the site. she learned coop would be doing a spring internship in toronto as part of school. she said she has ton of friends up there that either own or owned some big businesses and she will dial them in to expand the number of opportunities for him to choose from. hence, we have updated the site

fame is fleeting

Long Poles

I just got Coach Elffers email announcing the rosters for this week. This email is going out to ALL long pole parents.

Lucinda Williams has a great lyric in one of her songs: “take the glory over the fame.”

I’m not sure exactly what each of your sons outlook is on the A and B teams; however, if its anything like Cooper with middle school lax and HS bball and Michael not making the 7th and 8th grade bball teams, its probably going to be painful to watch as our boys absorb what for many may be quite a blow when they find out.

My commitment to each of your sons is this: to help each long pole, regardless of where they are on the roster and development, discover that being on the A or B roster is no future indication of what will happen in HS. As a coach and a parent, my hope is to help them discover that now is the time to focus on developing as a player and teammate and less about the middle school “fame” of being on an A team. I probably do not have to bring this up as I hope you know where our hearts lie: no one on this coaching staff views the B team as one coach crudely referred to my kid who was on a B team, as a “crash test dummy” outfit to make the A team better. Thats not how any of these coaches cc’d above roll.

As you know, in middle school with a team too small to field 2 teams but too big for one, Cooper did not get any significant playing time which was less than ideal for his development (probably one reason he’s going for a PG year). Like an earlier email, this early experience led to one of Cooper’s current strengths: Because of this self-image he trains for lacrosse (and basketball) with a real chip on his shoulder. Those middle school experiences made him a harder worker, better teammate and better student of the game than those who were starting and playing a lot. Many who were middle school stars are not even on the team today! As I mentioned one former rock star senior just quit.

My hope is that current A players cherish their achievement, not let things go to their head and work even harder. My hope for the current B players is that stay positive about themselves and this great game and possibly adopt a role model they can think about who had to work harder than others to achieve their dreams. (Michael Jordan comes to mind)

Final thought: As I look around the current varsity roster for both HHS bball and lacrosse, a number of kids for whom athletic success came early and often but then ran into competition and/or a coach that valued team play and dedication over individual stardom, today their absence from those teams highlight that for some, fame is indeed fleeting. As I shared in an earlier, one middle school rock star just quit the varsity lax team. I love that kid; however, I wish he had had an environment where he would have had to work harder earlier in his development.



hold back

some parents hold their kids back in the early year. we have found a hold back at the end, after highschool graduation and before college, for a 13th year or 5th year or post graduate (pg) year is a route less traveled. already paying dividends.

glory or fame

wanna make the a team. fame. reality, limited playing time.
on the b team. see lots of playing time. more chances for glory as a individual and as a teammate.


split half bottle of rum with a friend in 20 minutes. roughly, 18 shots of 80 proof alcohol per kid in 20 minutes. blood alcohol approaching .40.

10, 20, 32

had a young guy give a 20 minute powerpoint presentation. he had 40 slides. audience overwhelmed, lost and indifferent by minute 3.
helpful rule of thumb: 10 slides, 20 minutes, 32 point font

breaking up

we asked our 11 year old if he was still “dating” kenna. he said “no, i broke up with her”. we asked how he handled the break up?

did he text her: no
did he email her: no
did he have a friend tell her: no

the 11 year old said “i called her and said can we get back to just being friends?”

she thought that made sense since they never really got to “hang out”

launch coops site on to begin marketing efforts to get recruited by NCAA team to play lacrosse. Very little substantive content. Lots to learn. Including how to get film, edit film and post on you tube.

finished drinking

woke up this morning. walked downstairs, found susan fixing the boys’ lunch and said, “i’m finished drinking.”

A drinking life
Drinking a love story
Lit a memoir

Downstairs stairs sitting alone drinking in the dark
Great big middle finger aimed at ….dry

speed reading to the wagon

two night ago i was in bed reading people magazine. they reviewed 3 autobiographies by alcoholics sharing their stories from drink to done. for some reason i jumped outta bed and went to the library. they had 2 of them. stayed up most of the night and finished both.

drinking: a love story, caroline knapp

a drinking life: a memoir, pete hamil