I’m in a fight with myself…Now What?

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THE CHALLENGE: Well so far this morning my daughter has gotten in trouble because she can’t stop talking long enough to make it to class on time, and all of her classes are on the same level. There was a riot at the high school and my son got maced standing on the side lines, and because he didn’t keep it moving he got ISS for a whole week. I had quit my job due to some management issues but one of the higher ups asked me to come back so I’m in a fight with myself do I go back or stand my ground AND ITS NOT EVEN NOON!!!

THE FEEDBACK: What do you want to do? Can you be with your kids at school?. Our teens sometimes make poor choices. They grow when the are faced with consequences. This makes them better adults who learn coping skills in their teens. We try to shelter them so much and in the end it makes them weak adults. What could you have done when your daughter was talking in school? Could you have changed anything? Can you control riots at your son’s school and preventing a macing? Doing things that makes us happy shows up in how we love our children. So what do you want from this life you have been given? Do you want to go back to work or hang out at home and wait for the phone to ring to react to things you couldn’t control in the first place. We always have choices and the one you make will be the right one. In the end we can either love our teens or control them

Parenting Challenges and nowhere to turn! Send me your challenge and let’s see what we can do to empower you, reduce some of your stress and help you build a stronger foundation with your children. Email me at whatsup@richiepryor.com

Richard Pryor
Warriors Of Life Institute
Transformational Parent Coach, RelationSHIFTER, Teen Mentor, Part-Time Comedian & Author

A Parent’s Love can never be locked up.

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Parents Helping Parents teamed up with the Father’s Group and visitation Committee at MCI Norfolk Prison to host the Annual Family Movie & Game Night on June 27, 2019.  This was the second time any event like this was ever hosted in the prison. A special thank you goes out to our Super Volunteer, Linda Perry facilitates the father’s prison group and who is in the picture below with Richard Pryor, Program Director of Prisons, shelters and Community support groups..

The Father’s group collected funds from other inmates in the prison to purchase, games, movies, art & crafts supplies and a lot of food and goodies to enjoy with their families. This event provided the incarcerated dad’s a chance to spend some quality time with their children doing things that most people take for granted. Eating popcorn and watching the newest Spiderman movie with their children. Playing a game of battleship with their son. A dad and his daughter using the paint to create lasting memories on t-shirts with an imprint of their hands and vice versa. Having the ability to get their children an ice cream to enjoy on a hot summer night.  Spoiling them with a little candy, chips, cookies and soda.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I walked through those prison doors with Linda on that hot summer evening as those large heavy doors closed behind us.  As we made our way through one locking door to another, I got a sense of the world that these men lived in. As we made our way out to the visitation center, I looked in awe that the high cement walls with rolls and rolls of barbed wire, I knew I had been transported to a different world.

As we approached the visitor center we were met with so many bright but somewhat nervous smiles from the dad’s that were hosting the event. They needed this event to be amazing not only for their children and themselves but also for the prison staff who was very supportive getting this put together.  Linda and I got in and feverishly worked with the dad’s on getting food purchased for the vending machines. We were cutting it very close as the families were supposed to arrive shortly and we wanted to make sure everything was perfect for their arrival.

We started feeding those cards into those vending machines like it was a race against time. Wilson, ordered “let’s get some of those big chocolate cookies…we need to have more Cheetos…kids like those. Swedish fish…yes… sour patch kids even better”. This back and forth went on for about twenty minutes and we worked as a team to make sure we were all ready to welcome the children and families into the center on time. What about the ice cream? Let’s wait until the movie is over and we can treat them to an ice cream one dad said. Sounds like a plan…However, we don’t have a lot of money on these vending cards so we can only allow them to have a1, b1, c1, d1. Those were the least expensive ice creams in the machine. Me being a dad myself I knew the kids were going to want the big-ticket items…. Chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches that were an extra 75cents.

We finally got all our items purchased; the tables were lined with all the goodies any child could ever dream of.  Popcorn, candy, pizza, sandwiches, chips, soda, (they loved the orange Fanta). It was like the prison at MCI Norfolk visitor center had been transformed into a hybrid of Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory and Chuck E Cheeses.

Just as we finished laying out the last bags of chips, I heard the door open and turned around. A little girl probably no more than 4 years old with pig tails yelled DADDY and proceeded to run across the floor and jump into her dad’s arms. Her dad received her like he had just caught the winning pass at the super bowl. The little’s girl smiled, and the dad’s smile lit up the room. This is another thing that a lot of people take from granted, giving and receiving a magical hug to our son or daughter. From that point on I knew I was in a special place and taking part of something that would create memories for all that were involved, including me.

I sat there speechless, like I was watching another wonder of the world. Watching these families eat popcorn watching a movie and laughing together. Didn’t feel like we were in Kansas any longer. I certainly did feel like I was in a prison and I had a sense that neither did that dad’s or their families. That was the point of all this. There are 8,760 hours in a year and this event provided these families and especially these children with 4 hours of quality time with their dad’s.

Once the movie was over, they proceed to play various board games with each other, there were therapy dogs there that are trained by the inmates. There were huge superhero cut outs designed by the dads and they had picture taking for mementos of this event.

There was basketball toss and some huge bowling pins with a bowling ball. The dad’s and the children played together just as you would see in a park on a warm summer day. There was an artist doing portraits and hand painting which I think the dad’s loved more than the kids. There was smiles from one end of the center to the other, the prison visitor had been filled with so much love, happiness and joy.

As time ticked away, the thought that was in the back of everyone’s mind was it was only 4 hours long, and they were all making the most of it. I enjoyed chasing the basketballs that didn’t hit the hoop. Some great unexpected exercise for me. I observed Linda chatting with a family as they played the game battleship together. In that moment I knew I was in the right place in the world. Parents helping Parent and that is what I came to realize in reflection of that moment.

However, the most fun I believe Linda and I had was getting the ice cream out of the vending machines. The children came up to our table and Linda and I had the machines to our back. They rifled off requests, Chocolate Éclair, the strawberry one, the green one. Then suddenly, I heard. I want the ice cream sandwich. In that moment I was pretty impressed with my own parenting skills to know, those were what those children would want. So, we did not disappoint, Linda and I were so happy to put smiles on their faces and blew the budget wide open. I have never purchased that many ice creams in a matter of an hour and in a prison to boot. Talk about never knowing where you are gong to end up in life. But on this day, I was exactly where I was supposed to be and so grateful to be part of an organization that help transform a prison into a fantasy world for a child.

So, The machine was taking a long time to push them out and I started telling the kids there was a little guy in there and was really working hard to create these magnificent frozen treats. I am pretty sure the older kids knew I was full of it but the younger kids looked puzzled, smiled and were very patient as the little guy worked his but off to deliver what they wanted.

As the event came to a close, everyone knew that time was near. Wilson gave a great speech and Linda and I were given the honor to provide the kids with prizes for winning the games. We were so happy to be a part of this amazing event where everybody won. Especially the dad’s as they lined up to go back to their cells. I paused for a moment and turned around to capture that moment as the dad’s in all their glory and smiles had their white t-shirts with very colorful handprints on them from their children with the words love as the common theme. That would have truly been a magical moment to capture on film. That wasn’t an option and I know my words will never do that image justice, but I am happy that I had an opportunity to share them to you in this article.

While we were on our way-out Linda had asked one of the little girls what she thought of the event. She said I quote “This has been the best day of my life”. In that moment I realized that the event wasn’t about movies, food, and games. It was about love and showing these beautiful children how much they are loved by their dad’s and no number of doors, walls and barbed wire can ever keep that love locked up. Because love is exponential and always in abundance when we have the amazing opportunity to be blessed with having a child and being a parent.

If you are a parent in need of a support group please visit our website at www.parentshelpingparents.org

Richard Pryor
Warriors Of Life Institute
Transformational Parent Coach, RelationSHIFTER, Teen Mentor, Part-Time Comedian & Author

My 13 year old daughter snuck out the house twice the other night…Now What?

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THE CHALLENGE: So my 13 year old daughter snuck out the house twice the other night. I have no clue what to do. Phone is gone and shes grounded for 2 weeks but nothing seems to phase her I am at a loss.😔

THE FEEDBACK: What do you think you need to do? Do you think taking her phone away is going to make her change her behavior? What is going on in her world now? Has anything changed around the house? Teen’s start acting out between the ages of 13-15. Some a little earlier and some a little later. You can try to get the police involved. They may help or create more tension and cause her to act out even more. Have you tried to talk to her and ask her how she is doing without judgement, rescuing or offering her advice. Sometime all they want is someone to hear them and when parents don’t listed they find solace in speaking with their friends. We have to remember that these days with social media, texting, face time, etc. their peers are in constant communication with them and we sort of get shut out. When they have that attachment to their peers they are easily influenced and it fosters bad behaviors. So how can you find a way to make her your friend so she confided in you instead of her friends. What does she love to do. Take her some place that she likes and have a conversation with her as a friend and not her parent.Don’t have this conversation in the house because that is not really a place where they feel safe because it is your house and your rules. They have had enough of our parenting and are looking for someone to share their world with. How can you find a way to understand the world she is living in. We were teens once so you have to do a little digging to find a way in. Resourcefulness is the key ingredient and never give up trying different things….because eventually you will find what works. All my Love and support on your journey. 🤘

Parenting Challenges and nowhere to turn! Send me your challenge and let’s see what we can do to empower you, reduce some of your stress and help you build a stronger foundation with your children. Email me at whatsup@richiepryor.com

Richard Pryor
Warriors Of Life Institute
Transformational Parent Coach, RelationSHIFTER, Teen Mentor, Part-Time Comedian & Author

Reaching out to an ex who’s a narcissistic B***…Now What?

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THE CHALLENGE: My boyfriend has primary placement of his daughter, age 17. She’s been living with us since age 13. Since being in court back in 2015 her Bio Mom hasn’t contributed one dime. At the time, my boyfriend didn’t care about child support as he just wanted his ex out of his life as he can afford his daughter all on his own. Fast forward to now, his daughter needs oral surgery. He’s asked the dentist over and over “how much?” and he can’t get a real answer. He was given estimates pre insurance and told that it will be covered. He’s yet to call the insurance company to see what percent will be covered as it’s $4,400. He’s thought about reaching out to his ex to see if she can contribute anything but is reluctant as she’s a narcissistic bitch. He doesn’t know what to do. Wait to hear from the insurance company on coverage or actually talk to her Bio Mom who he hasn’t talked to in 4 years. His daughter sees her Bio Mom, but the visits don’t last long…maybe 2 days a month as his daughter and her Bio Mom are like oil and water.

THE FEEDBACK: Why hasn’t he called the Insurance company yet? Why getting all stressed about the what if’s? You can’t control any of the outcomes. The cost is the cost and worrying about it doesn’t do any good. It doesn’t appear that anyone wants anything to do with the ex and begging for money. So that option should be taken off the table. So why even bother discussing it. and from a guy perspective I wouldn’t go back to my ex if she was the only one in the world with money. You originally stated that your SO can afford his daughter on his own…so why the drama about the oral surgery? If he doesn’t have the money, he will certainly find a way to get it. Don’t dentists have payment plan’s etc. What about if the daughter asks the BIO mom for help? Oil and water…has nothing to do with it. This is her daughter and she needs to be the one that says no to her daughter. Need to discover more ways to be resourceful. Hope this helps.

Parenting Challenges and nowhere to turn! Send me your challenge and let’s see what we can do to empower you, reduce some of your stress and help you build a stronger foundation with your children. Email me at whatsup@richiepryor.com

Richard Pryor
Warriors Of Life Institute
Transformational Parent Coach, RelationSHIFTER, Teen Mentor, Part-Time Comedian & Author

My Daughter thinks I have too many rules…And Is STRESSED because of me…Now What?

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The Challenge: Update about 16D: Past 24 hrs have been awful for me (single parent with no family or close friends near me and her father ignores her). So after a confrontation last week (on Thursday morning) about her stealing my friends earrings last weekend (and she refuses to admit it was stealing..just borrowing!) I took away her xbox and we got into a huge fight after she claimed I have too many rules and she hates living here and says it’s been a toxic homelife for a while now (because of me of course) and refused to talk to a counselor with me about this because all her stress revolves around me. She said if I have to kick her out so be it. So I tried to reach her counselors (there are 3 in the counselling office..1 she sees every week but she cant talk to me about her without my daughters permission and 2 crisis counselors who’ve known us for the past 2 years and know about my daughters history and issues) but the 2 were on training thursday and Friday so I tried to keep the peace as best I could til Monday but on Sunday morning I woke up to the smell of pot near my daughter’s room. Long story but I confiscated a ton of pot as well as an iPhone (no idea whose it is) and some cbd that she took of mine (it has thc in it. I bought last October for pain after my car accident but only used a bit of it since it didnt work for me). She freaked out and didn’t want to give the pot to me at all but I ended up getting it eventually after she tried to hide it). This happened at 9am and she was supposed to work at noon. After I took her phone and laptop) she took off and never ended up going to work so will of course be fired now. Also..I called all over to try and find her and her friends parents ended up finding her at the mall after 5pm and she refused to come home but said she would go home sometime that night. The friends parents didn’t want to leave her at the mall so asked me if she could stay with them and I said of course so she agreed to go there for a while. But later around 730 or 830 she refused to go home still so I arranged for her to go to another friends place and her friends parents dropped her off at the other place around 9pm. Between the stealing, not taking responsibility for anything shes done, the disrespect and not willing to follow the rules at all, the ton of pot thing plus the taking off and skipping work AND what she said to her friend in the texts about being self destructive and not caring (may have only said that for attention), I know she’s out of control and I don’t know what to do about it. I do know she needs help but not sure what/how. I’m STILL waiting to hear from the counselor but my daughter has a meeting with her regular counselor at
4pm so I wanted her regular counselor to have talked to the crisis counsellor by then and discuss her options.. if shes coming home or not etc. I don’t know if my daughter will be coming home later or not. No idea what to do.

The FEEDBACK #1 :  I had similar challenges with my boys. They are looking to find anything they can control in life. Because as a teenager they feel like nothing is in their control. You are not going to be able to control her. She is searching for her identity. Remember your teenage years. Now multiply that pressure by 100x. Smoking pot…etc..etc. You need to find a way to build rapport with her, learn her language, identify with the crisis she is in. If you are doing x. Then do the complete opposite. Resourcefulness is the key to a relation shift. At some point you have to let her fail so she will begin to understand consequences of poor decision making. That could come in the form of an arrest or something else. What is the worst thing that could happen if she doesn’t come home? In the end we can only control our own actions and how we perceive a situation. I lost my son 4 years ago and in the end all the choices our kids make in the end our theirs and not ours. What are you doing to reduce the stress in your life? Remember that this is your life and you need to find ways to create some peace and space in your world. Sorry so long. Like every stressful event in life. This too shall pass

RESPONSE #1 no that was well said and this is the way I’m looking at it now too after a friend and counselor also pointed out that she’s losing control of everything in her life (her friends ditching her and her father ignoring her etc) so she’s looking to feel in control and although I can’t let her walk all over me I can help her feel in co trol of some parts of her life maybe a s work with her to feel loved regardless. So I brainstormed with my best friend last night and came up with a possible approach that may work.. as long as shes willing to come home and give it one more try. Thanks for your thoughts. I appreciate it.

FEEDBACK #2 you got it. Resourcefulness. Use every opportunity you can to express how much you love her and understand her world. I loved tell
My boys how much I screwed up when I was a teen. So they don’t see us as this immortal being. They see we are human and that we have faults. Being vulnerable is an amazing way to build rapport with teens. You could also try some reflective listening which you can find on Dr. Google.

RESPONSE #2 thanks I will try to do that …if we can get her to come home at all to try again

Parenting Challenges and nowhere to turn! Send me your challenge and let’s see what we can do to empower you, reduce some of your stress and help you build a stronger foundation with your children. Email me at whatsup@richiepryor.com

Richie Pryor
Warriors Of Life Institute
Parenting Strategist, Teen Mentor & Author

My 16 Year old Daughter Ran away…now what?

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THE CHALLENGE: My 16 year old daughter ran away and moved in with her boyfriend. Refuses to come home. Wants to be grown. I have posted situations about this before. Today she asks me if she can take the dog overnight. she’s constantly trying to make me out to be the monster. She punched me a couple weeks ago and told me to shut the fuck up because I wouldn’t buy her weed from the dispensary. Flipped out. While I was driving. Then jumped out of the car in the intersection and walked to her boyfriend’s house. BECAUSE I WOULDN’T SUPPLY HER WEED!!! like this is something new? I mean what the fuck. Anyway.. Here is part of the conversation. She’s munipulative and she’s abusive and she’s great at gas lighting. My heart hurts. She won’t come home and there’s nothing I can do about it.

THE FEEDBACK: You can’t force her to do anything. She is finding herself and when they start to manipulate you have 3 choices. Give in, fight it or step back. If you give in she will never stop manipulating you. If you step back you will let her make her own choices and then have to deal with the consequences. We typically try to save our teens because we believe we know what’s best for them. That is what they don’t want. They want to be independent and think they know everything. With this power they have a power of choice and when they make a poor choice and suffer a consequence that teaches them coping skills. I see a lot of parents that try to save their child or protect them from the same challenges they struggled with at that age. What ends up happening is that they never learn the lessons that they are supposed to that help them grow because they grow up sheltered from the reality of life and the world. The lessons that we learned as teens made us smarter and wiser. You can also try and fight it and that never does anyone any good. So you have 3 choices to help her find her way in the world and learn some valuable lessons. Give in, Fight it, step back.

Parenting Challenges and nowhere to turn! Send me your challenge and let’s see what we can do to empower you, reduce some of your stress and help you build a stronger foundation with your children. Email me at whatsup@richiepryor.com

Richie Pryor
Warriors Of Life Institute
Parenting Strategist, Teen Mentor & Author

Warriors Of Life Book Signing Gala to Benefit the Richie Pryor Foundation

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Please join Author Richard Pryor and his family on March 30th at Davios Italian Restaurant in Lynnfield, MA at the Market Place in Lynnfield. For the book signing of Richard’s book, Warriors of Life “Conquering Grief and Battling your way Back to Happiness.”
Spend the afternoon with Richard, his family and friends as they celebrate the release of his book in hopes that his story and this book will help a lot of people struggling with grief.
We will be celebrating with amazing food from Davios, drinks and some incredible entertainment. With each book purchase you will receive a free signed copy of Richard’s Book and you can take a selfie with him if you like…with Barbara as well.
We are not sure if the GUCCI boys will be allowed in the restaurant…But maybe a cameo outside if possible…and who knows maybe their grandogs will show up, Ollie and the newest addition to the family, Ollie’s bro..Miles.
PROCEEDS FROM THIS GALA will benefit his son’s foundation. The Richie Pryor Foundation

Click Here for Ticket and Event Information


Articles of Happiness. Part #1. Where do you discover Happiness and Why?

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On February 13th, I started that day just like many of the others for the past year or so. I have been on a soul-searching journey. Contemplating what I really wanted to do with my life. As I was sitting at the beach getting ready for my morning meditation (mock me if you like…the shit really works) and just before I put my phone into airplane mode,  I received this incredible gift from my wife, Barbara. “I love you you are my everything”. Facebook is good for at least a couple of things… My response back was typical. Herbie is my dog and yes I have two wives…and yes it is legal in MA to have a dog as a wife…

I played this video 4 times and sat there looking out over the ocean just thanking God and the Universe and my wife for giving me this most welcomed and unexpected gift of happiness. So why am I sharing this with you. Because in that moment I figured out what I needed to do. I wanted to help other’s discover  this warm, calming and indescribable feeling that I experienced this morning….And no my wife is not going to be sending you love text messages with awesome music videos from the 70’s. These are only for me. Go find your own king or queen…

Well what led me to this point is what happened to me a couple of days prior

I had been freaking stuck for almost a year. Sure, I used every excuse in the book to keep myself safe in a place where I didn’t have to really commit to anything or anyone. I am taking a trip, I have to do this and that. Why…Because I was afraid…Afraid of what you may ask. I guess, life in general.

Honestly, I think I was afraid because I didn’t want to make the wrong decision. But in not making a decision, I was making a decision and my decision was to try a bunch of little things but not really commit. Not do things that would make me uncomfortable and stretch myself beyond what I believed I was capable of. But the biggest problem I had was that I was doing things that didn’t bring me what I really wanted, which was happiness.

We all have these fears in life that keep us stuck in the manure of life. The manure can be anything from doing a job we don’t enjoy to spending time with people we really don’t like. We have all been there and if you say you haven’t you lie about other things as well. If you want to share your vulnerability with me, please comment below on what you currently do out of habit, being on auto-pilot or just the feeling of being trapped that makes you unhappy. While we are going from one thing to another we seem to fill our lives with things, tasks and just stuff that not only complicates our lives but don’t give us the feeling of happiness. Which in the end leaves us feeling as though we have been swept up in a shit storm of chaos that we call life.  

My family on Angel’s Bay Beach in Hawaii. Barbara and I Celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary with our boys Richie and Matthew. My last days of happiness for a long time.

Which leads me to mine. We lost our son Richie 3 ½ years ago. He was 27 years old. When this happened to our family I could never even imagine smiling or laughing and experiencing happiness again. It would elude me for the rest my life and would be banished from my valuable vault of emotions. During the worst times on my journey in grief I tried to find happiness with alcohol and anti-depressants. I knew happiness was not at the bottom of a bottle. However, at the bottom of the bottle and those pills provided me with seclusion from the world and reality. I found myself running as fast as I could away from my reality because the expectation of facing it was more than my mind could handle and I was in survival mode.

My sense of reality was the fear of never finding happiness again. Which was my biggest problem. There are so many emotions that accompany grief but what I found was that the thought of never being happy again was the most difficult one for me to comprehend. Therefore, burying my emotions, numbing my world and curling up in the fetal position of depression provided me with the relief I needed to survive.

Struggling with grief is a battle of keeping your head above water by all means until you come across something or someone that is going to throw you a life preserve from the deck of the USS Hope. Once hope is lost there is not much else to live for. The question that always surfaces is “for what”. Why should I get out of bed? Why should I go to the doctor? Why should I exercise? Why should I bother trying to be happy? FOR WHAT? I am going to die anyway? I am not going to achieve happiness or fulfill my dreams? That is what it all comes down to is surviving long enough that you can find that small glimmer of hope and a pursuit to answer your question, For what? A tiny light in all the darkness that you can move towards in order to get through the grief and other challenges in life and get yourself on the other end of the what seems like an endless battle of living a life of hopelessness. Find that one, for what, because in that answer is the glimmer of hope that is required to get you to the place that you know and need to be.

Because to confront the thought of living out the rest of my life being tortured without happiness was more than I had signed up for. How can one even envision a life without happiness. It is so hard to comprehend but in all honestly according to the world health organization depression is going to be one of the top diseases in the world in the next couple of years. But needless to say, when we flip on the auto-pilot to steer us through life we miss out on all those small little glimmers of happiness that are around us 24 hours a day that can be used to combat depression, grief, sadness, and hopelessness in order to see the world around us in a different light.

During my journey of grief I really disliked happy people. If you smiled, laughed or was enjoying yourself, you were on my shit list. Prior to my son’s passing I loved to laugh, smile, do foolish things and tell outrageous stories to make people happy. However, after the loss of Richie I did everything in my powers to fulfill some secret code of ethics that stated. “I should eliminate happiness from my life”. Eradicate the word from my memory. There were times that I felt like smiling and laughing but I didn’t. Why, because I was afraid I was going to dishonor my son in some crazy way and others would judge me and say that I didn’t love him.  In the end I was dishonoring my own self and Richie’s memory by not being Richie. Oh I really don’t enjoy talking about myself in the third person, but it makes me happy to joke about it.

I felt as though I was dishonoring my family, friends and loved ones because these people looked to me because I was always able to put a smile on their face…Especially asking Barbara if she wanted to see my abs when she was feeling down. The punch line is that the last person that saw my abs was the doctor that pulled me out of my mom’s womb back in the fall of 67… I am have to say I am happy to be 51 and abless. Shit…that isn’t even a word.. I mean how much work is it to have abs anyway?  

Can someone comment and let me know. I guess if doing seven thousand crunches or eating 1,000 pounds of kale each day will get you abs and it makes you happy then go for it. Who am I too judge. I spent a lot of money and time when I was in my 20’s trying to find my abs. 20 minute abs. 10 minute beers were better. I had more fun with the beer in my 20’s and God made shirts to cover up our little imperfections of life. So beer made me happier than abs would ever. Therefore, I chose Beer. I didn’t really want to go on a rant about abs but felt as though I needed to get the point across. Sorry all you ab lovers out there. I am getting to the point..

Remember, the experience of happiness is in the journey not the end result. Honestly, how long do you think you are going to keep those abs anyway? And who wants to see an 85 year old guy with a six pack. That is just plain creepy…I guess unless you are married to him! The only old dude that I would let in my house with a six pack is if he is carrying one in his hands of the alcoholic beverage variety and has his shirt on. Sorry, my happiness is having fun with the things most people take so seriously in life. Article of Happiness, Article #2, lighten up. Taking life seriously will create more unhappiness. Are you wrapped so tight that any type of little interruption of your day creates turmoil in your life? Please comment below. I lived in that world for many years. You cannot control that much in life and if you think you can you are setting yourself up for big bouts of unhappiness. You can make all the plans you want. However, life always seems to be working from a different playbook. Take it from me, I had it all planned out and then LIFE HAPPENED. SO…Let your hair down and LIVE. If you are bald, grow it out and do an awesome comb over or get a wild hair piece. Not sure if I gave you Article #1. But there is enough here that should be starting to formulate some type of opinion on this. If not, you probably stopped reading six hours ago or at least after I put the picture above in this article.

Ok, I hate to leave you hanging, but curiosity is healthy. So that is it for part #1. Stay tuned for part number #2 where I will share a lot more of the Articles of happiness and my new purpose in life and details on how you can help not only yourself discover more happiness, but help others and me make happiness contagious. If not, that is ok as well. You must have a sufficient supply of happiness in your life and that makes me even happier.
If you would like to comment please comment below and let me know where you discover happiness in life.

If you are offended by the abs guy, I may redeem myself in part 2. Probably not. But some people find happiness in complaining about everything and that makes you happy then that is the goal. However, you are going to have major issues with happiness challenge #1. More on that in the next article and I would love to discuss yelp reviewers here but that would impede on my happiness in this moment. I hope I see you in the next article.

All my Love and Support and just smile.

P.S. The picture of the dog drinking the beer was my dog Toby. He was amazing and he brought me so much happiness as does this picture.

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Dedicated to the memory of a dad and his son and trying to understand the why.

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Kristoff and Julian St John

I had written another article to start my new blog, but felt a hungering urge that I had to address another celebrity tragedy that really hit home with me.

Well here I am at 4:20 am in the morning wide awake staring at the ceiling after my dog Herbie bit my toe. My wife and I have 3 dogs and Herbie and I share a king bed because he is my second wife and he has some type of foot fetish. Therefore, post bite. I am laying here and can’t fall back asleep because I cannot stop thinking about the recent passing of the young and the restless star Kristoff St. John at the young age of 52. Sources are stating that it could be suicide. Kristoff’s sons Julian passed away couple of years ago.

My wife first told me about this tragedy yesterday afternoon and we chatted for some time about how we could relate so much to Kristoff’s agonizing pain because of his son’s passing.  As bereaved parents we walk on that tightrope of life where a memory can sway our emotions from happiness to sadness in a blink of an eye. You can never prepare for that moment when a song that your child loved plays on the radio, eating a meal he or she enjoyed, reliving a memory of a magical moment you shared with them and knowing that there will be no more new memories. The emotions that come with these experiences range from sadness to pure happiness. It is something that can’t be controlled now matter how much control you think you have. That is one of the biggest illusions of life…Thinking that we can control so much. That is BS. The reality is that we can only control a few things and coming to grips with this reality is the first step in discovering happiness.

If Kristoff’s passing is determined to be suicide, he will be severely judged by society. Not for being an amazing actor, father, son, husband, friend and co-worker, but for being weak because he took the easy way out. That he should have fought harder, he should have seen a therapist, he should have talked to someone. There is something he could have done instead of taking his own life and create more pain for his family. Those are what I called the shouldhaves (I just invented this word so it is not in the dictionary yet) and they should try to see things from another person’s perspective. During my journey of grief, I came across a lot of these know it all’s that had all this advice but had not experience. I discuss this in length in my book, the chapter called whose got your six. More about that later.

I am here to tell all those shouldhaves that they should have taken a course in compassion. I am Kristoff, along with almost every other bereaved parent out there that is a member of this community that we didn’t want to be a part of. The loss of a child is the most traumatizing experience that a parent can have. It is not natural, it is beyond comprehendible and the biggest question we have is WHY.  We as bereaved parents fully understand what stories were playing in Kristoff’s mind and what he thought about every single second of every single day since his son’s passing. It is almost impossible to think of anything else. It consumes every thought from the moment you open your eyes until the moment you try to close them at night. Then you have the shouldhaves that said you should have gotten over it.

What is life going to be like now? How could I have let this happen? My only job was to protect him or her and I couldn’t even do that. I am a failure as a parent. Why wasn’t it me?  Why did God/universe do this to me? How can I keep going on? Questions like this haunt our minds because we believe that there is such a finality of death. Our minds will tell us that there is no escaping this loop of grief that is constantly beating us down and pushing us deeper into the darkest hole of depression. We lose hope and when hope is lost the alternatives are very few. Hence the word hopelessness.

After the loss of my son Richie, I spent a year and a half keeping myself numb. I didn’t want to face the reality of his passing.  I called this my mask of society. The consequences of living with the reality was something that I couldn’t comprehend and couldn’t even begin to understand. The constant stabbing into my heart that felt like I was having a heart attack 24 hours a day. The empty feeling knowing that I would never give my son a hug, hear him laugh or see his beautiful smile again tortured my already weakened body and mind. The pain was constant and horrific and the only way I could avoid it was to keep it at a bay by any means possible. Which usually meant alcohol and a lot of anti-depressants. You will also have the people that will judge us for this as well. I say that I was being resourceful and did whatever I needed to do in order to survive in that moment. Because that is how one survives an unexpected tragedy that drops a ton of freaking bricks on your head when you though life was amazing. Moment by moment, step by step, that is what it takes to keep going and to find the happiness you once enjoyed.

While I was living in my world of numbness there were moments of contemplation where ending it would have been a viable option to stop the constant stabbing in my heart, alleviate the emptiness, eliminate the loneliness and to once and for all power off my mind.  This conversation with myself would continue at length about the pros and cons of this decision. I am wondering if Kristoff had these same conversations going on in his head. If I had to guess I would say yes. Because on my journey of grief that was the consensus for most parents that lost children. It is hard to find a way out, when the only thing we want is to have something that we can never have again in this physical world. This is one thing that we can’t fix, no matter how popular you are, how much money you have and not matter who you know. The finality of this loss cannot be undone. However, to move forward through grief there must be a glimmer of hope. For hells sake it is not easy. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. It is my hope that if you lost a child loved one or are feeling sad you will find some of that hope here in this article.

I am sure there are people reading this that will say that thinking about taking yourself out to end the pain is the weak person’s way out. Are those shouldhaves still reading this. They probably should not be reading this.  I say to them, in those moments of irrational thoughts we become selfish and can only think about our own pain. Not the aftermath and debris field of life that will lie in the wake of another tragedy. We only are thinking of 2 things. One, ending the pain and two, laying with our child. I can guarantee that Kristoff was thinking about these two things for the past several months since his tragic loss.

I understand what Kristoff was going through because as bereaved parents we have all been there and have had those moments of irrationality. I am here to tell let the world, all bereaved parents and anyone else that is struggling that there is a way through the grief and struggles of life.  The key I found was being able to master the one thing that was at the root of my depression and hopelessness. Yes, the thing between our two ears…our mind.  By giving your tragedy a different meaning. To redirect your mind to focus on what you have instead of what you have lost. I know it is a huge step, but this not only goes for bereaved parents but for anyone out there that is depressed and struggling to find the light. In the end, all we really want is some relief, someone to understand us and some hope that there is a life and happiness on the other side of the horror story we are currently living in. The world doesn’t need any more labels and judgement from the shouldhaves. We clearly have plenty of that now. Now is the time for compassion, understanding, connection and love. That is what we are here to do and to provide to each other as human beings.

When my son passed the meaning I gave his passing was, why did this happen to me. This meaning kept me in the darkness when all I wanted was to see the light. I finally found hope and the light when I began to give his passing a different meaning. I began to ask myself questions. How can I create something meaningful out of this? What can I do to take this tragedy and reframe it into something that will not only help me but serve others? I found that when I took the focus off myself and put it on others, like my wife, my other son, my family and the world; that is when my eyes began to open, and a small glimmer of light started showing through the darkness. That is when I began to see things in a different perspective, that is when I discovered the true gifts that I have been given in this world. That is when I realized that my wife and I had an angel in our presence for 27 years and he provided us the gifts that we are sharing with you in this moment and will continue to do for the rest of our lives.

I know this a sh*t ton to swallow right now. Small steps. That is what I found was so helpful. Not thinking about tomorrow, just thinking about the next couple of seconds. As time goes on the small steps will help you find the path through the grief and on the other side of what I call rediscovered pure unfiltered happiness. I am a better person, husband, father, son and friend as a result of the journey that I have been on. This is possible for everyone out there and getting in the right frame of mind is the key to discovering the light and happiness. For now, the biggest thing you need to understand in this moment is that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

There are resources and incredible people in the amazing world that can help you get through that grief, emptiness and loneliness and find the light. You just need to be resourceful and think about what your child would have wanted for your life. Would they want you to be unhappy? Would they want you to be angry? Would they want you to live the rest of your life carrying around the burden of their loss? What do you think?

If you don’t make a change, things won’t change. Therefore, what can you do today to make things a little lighter in your life? What can you do right now to help yourself?  Who can you talk to? What book can you read? How can you find a resource that will help you on your journey to rediscover happiness that you once experienced? How can you discover more happiness in life? It’s out there and you just need to have the determination and grit of a warrior to seek it out and grab it.

I find Dr Google an amazing resource for finding people, support and books to help people on their journey. You can also pick up a copy of my book that benefits my son’s foundation, The Richie Pryor Foundation. The warriors of life, “Conquering grief and battling your way back to happiness” .  This book is filled with the resources and experiences that helped me rediscover happiness. If you cannot afford a book, please send me an email at whatsup@richiepryor.com and I will email you an electronic copy of my book.

I also found when bad things happen to good people a great resource in my darkest of times. Because I wanted to know why.

Here are a couple of amazing resources to help you on your journey

The compassionate friends
Bereaved parents of the USA link.

I also conduct online grief workshops a couple of times a month. Check here for workshop dates and times.

I am also doing research for my next book about happiness. I call it the happiness experiment. It consists of a happiness quiz to measure your own happiness as well as 3-week challenge to discover more happiness in your life.

If you are interested in participating and helping with my research for my book. Please click on the link below to participate in my happiness experiment and make happiness contagious. Like any experiment it is a work in progress. If you run into any challenges, please hit me up at Whatsup@richiepryor.com

The Happiness Experiment

Please stay tuned for my Discovering Happiness workshop…. I know but I am only a mortal and as such only have 24 hours in a day.

Please remember to take some action now. Remember small steps and at all costs be resourceful and think with your heart instead of your mind.

Click here to subscribe to my articles of happiness blog. This is it. I promise I don’t spam anyone. That doesn’t make anyone happy.

All my love and support.

Just Smile