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

hi mom

Hi mom,

I was just thinking about you and wanted to say hi. No need to respond. Hope you find time to smile everyday. You seemed sad toward the end, before I left. I know you have a lot of stress but our family is awesome. It’s one thing I’ve learned over the past year and since I’ve been away from home at school. Thanks for everything.



Ps thanks again for always making me dinner when i came home late and after everyone else had already eaten. I miss sitting there eating, neither of us talking, just sitting and being together.

gpa: the cummulative effect (or the power of compounding)

we learned that getting off to a slow start gpa-wise and then cranking it senior year, even with 4.4, 4.6 and 4.3, the gpa only rises a little. not enough for any academic scholarships, let alone acceptance into say University of Michigan unless you are recruited by them to play say, lacrosse.

better to start strong and if the grades slack a little senior year, the gpa only dips a little.

its always better to start high as its easier to come down thatn start low. its very hard to dig out of a hole. think of it as a strong foundation versus a weak foundation.

the math is oh so slow to change regardless of up or down

block island, boca grande, st barts and neah

when i die, i’ll be cremated. have your passports ready. in my safe deposit box will be the cash to pay for the flights, hotels and restaurants to scatter my ashes in the waters off:

  • block island, rhode island where i asked your mom to marry me
  • boca grade where we were married
  • st barts where we honeymooned, and
  • neah

my vision is that the three of you will do this together, alone. no girlfirends (or boyfriends if thats the case), wives or kids. solo. the broneah boys.

timing (hopefully I’ll be around a long time) will probably dictate you carve things up in chunks. thats cool. just as long as the three of you do it together.

one last thing: you need to travel together versus meet at the destinations independently. you’ll figure out the “why”.

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

this book dedicated to papa charlton, papa drohan, grammy charlton and grammy drohan

attitude is everything. timing is everything. when the student is ready the teacher will appear.

papa charlton’s wisdom, strong sense of family and apple sauce

grammy charlton’s sweetness, strength and fierce loyalty

papa drohan’s great sense of humor, insatiable curiosity and independence

grammy drohan’s athleticism, resiliency and love of nature

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

delivering consequences without anger

Set ups. Hot stove top. Forgotten cleats. Habitually over sleep. Miss the bus. Walk to school.
Order own food at restaurants.
Pay pizza man.
Figure tip.
Cussing at next table.
R movies. Family discussions afterwards.
Family meetings.
Oh I was hoping you could enjoy some ice creme with us tonight
After the fact.
Silence for most of the day until consequence meeting
Warrior gets spit in face. Comes back another day.
1000 timeouts in the corner
Sitting nose to nose
Last cookie. One brother breaks in half. Other brother chooses.
Mom can I get this candy. Sure. Did you bring your money?
Apply to wra. Interviews.
Dropmoff for coach interview.
Practicing handshakes. Role play.
Cook a meal for the whole family
Cry all night. Keep everyone up the next day. Never had a sleep issue again.
No eye contact. No words. Just point upstairs.
Routine loves company
Clothes left on ground end up disappearing
Resign from soccer
Toys left on ground get donated. After multiple discussions, warnings.

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.

Argue with mom

I get mad at him. Mom would then get made at me for stepping in. Round and round

Play our game. He shares and engages. We ask less questions

Didn’t want to come home because we peppered him with questions.

Softening statement.

Prepared ourselves to listen vs over reach, judge and preach.

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



no fewer than 10 folks this week have either called, emailed or said in person, “oh you guys must be so sad and weepy and emotional about cooper leaving.”

below is a copy of an email i sent in reply to one such instance. i figure you and i are on the same page but figured it wouldnt hurt to make sure you know where im coming from. ditto mom. fyi: mom’s ‘tough time dealing with this” is almost exclusively related to the financial challenges all/most wives of entrepreneurs face, not to mention most families when budgeting for college. is what it is. hopefully she shared this with you already. anyways, here’s the short email about how i see things as it relates to you flying the coop.

“its interesting, yes im sure the emotions will well and pour when we drive away tuesday morning and head back home. but right now, this week, this summer and ever since we got the news of his acceptance to the hill academy, its all been viewed thru the lens of goal achieved. the 3 of us set out on a path with a fuzzy future and kept the faith that along the way the goal and path would reveal themselves.

phase I (year-round lax and internship) and II (university of michigan, DI) goals achieved.

so now that phase I is here and we were very careful and mindful what we wished for it all seems according to plan. and so, emotions are less about loss than they are about collective excitement and promise….all 5 of us.

“that impossible for my parents, sister to understand. they project their almost 30 yr old remembered emotions on us from when they dropped me off at UNH for my brief appearance in durham.

“anyways, thanks for the call and congrats. moments of pride briefly acknowledged as we quickly turn our attention to helping guide 2 more boys to their respective promised lands.



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.