Fatherhood and BMXcellence


How many fathers do you know? How many have found a way to be present for their wives and kids and still pursue their passions?

I bet some fathers can’t even remember their passions. Or sparks remain in the back corners of their hearts filed away with childhood dreams. Meet Kamau Malone. He found his passion. He’s a BMX racer, a dad and a husband who works full time as a software engineer. One of his favorite wins last year was at the legendary South Park track.

I’ve been inspired as I see Kamau’s race pictures appear on social media. We’ve been friends for about 15 years. I remember the day his wife told me he started racing. My mouth hung open because at the time, he had a toddler and she was pregnant with their second child. I experienced two simultaneous thoughts: a respect for his wife for being so supportive and shock that she was so supportive. How was he going to pursue BMX racing, work full time and still be there for her and the kids?


Well, Kamau has done just that for the last six years. I asked him a few questions about how he reignited his passion for BMX racing. I also wanted to know how he balances it with his family responsibilities. Here’s his response:

Back in the eighties, BMX was big. Pro racer Stu Thompson, was a household name. I thought BMX was cool when I saw snippets of it on TV show like Chips and on commercials. And when I found out about BMX Action magazine, I was hooked. Unfortunately, I didn’t have access to a track. By the time I got to about 9th grade, BMX fell out of mind as it was basically inaccessible for me. Fast forward to 2007. Married, with a three year-old daughter, with a new baby on the way, I wondered if BMX racing was still a “thing” and if there were any tracks near our new home. Turns out that BMX racing was still happening, there were tracks nearby, and that a national level race competition was coming to town. I went as a spectator, watched the race, and knew immediately that it was something I had to do. You ever been in a situation or place, and realized that it was where you belonged? That’s what happened to me watching that race. I bought a bike soon after.

As a married father of two it can be difficult to juggle responsibilities with racing. I usually do all of my training – which alternates between going to the gym and sprinting on the bike – after homework is done, and the children go to bed. Some days I get up at 5:30 a.m., get ready for work and take the kids to school, do a full work day, come home, help with homework and chores, put the kids to bed, and then hit the gym at about 9:30. And then do it again the next night. It can be challenging.”

Kamau seems to have found his passion button and he wasn’t afraid to push it. That’s a concept that comes from Start Where You Are, by Chris Gardner. Chris is perhaps best known for the movie based on his book, The Pursuit of Happyness. The “Y” in Happyness is purposeful because it stands for you and your responsibility for your own happiness. I had the pleasure of meeting Chris in March when he spoke about Life Reimagined. He asked the question, “What is that thing that turns you on so much that the sun can’t come up soon enough in the morning because you want to go do your thing?”


He also spoke about how sometimes you have to do the practical first. And that’s exactly what Kamau does when he shapes his schedule around kids, meals and homework. Chris is working on another book focused on a term he created called, “spiritual genetics.” While our physical genetics are determined by parentage and other scientific factors, what defines our spirit? At age five, living with his amazing mother and his abusive, alcoholic stepfather, Chris made the decision to be a great father who was present for his son. When he was 28 years old, even as he was homeless and a single dad, he would not leave his son. And the proof is in the smiling face Chris Gardner Jr. I met him a few weeks ago. I was struck by how he literally emanates happiness. As I walked away, I thought, that man has been loved fiercely his whole life. When I asked Chris Gardner, Jr. about that energy he wrote, “The ability to make everyone around me, insanely happy” [is a factor in his life decisions]. Chris Gardner, the dad, has many achievements and raising his son and daughter have to rank way, way up there.

I asked Kamau’s family what they think and feel about his racing. Here’s what they say:


Son: “He’s really good at it. He wins a lot of trophies.”

Daughter: “I think it’s really cool because he’s able to make new friends, and he’s able to exercise. And, it’s fun and exciting for me and Dad when we ride down the hills and jump.”

Wife: “BMX has been good for Kamau in terms of motivating him to exercise more, eat better, and have a more active lifestyle overall. He started at age 32 and he’s EARNED a respectable place in the sport, which shows that you should never give up on your dreams. The kids will always be able to look at him as a role model for following your heart and working at something until you achieve your goals no matter what.”

Dads, thank you for your service and for your love of family. Remember your passions. They can fit inside the practical parts of your life. It will only make you better as a human, a husband and a father. Happy Father’s Day!

Kamau would like to thank TSS Racing for helping out with the racing effort the past couple years.

Follow these inspiring men on Twitter:

Kamau Malone @bmxsuperfan

Chris Gardner @CEOofHappYness

Chris Gardner, Jr. @ChrisGardnerJr


BMX Photo credits: Sugarcayne.com, Reed Malone Family.


Meet my noisy neighbor, Fear


I’m not exactly sure when she moved in. But I do know fear’s been with me since 5th grade. That year, the boy who liked me followed me home and punched me in the jaw because I wouldn’t be his girlfriend. Fear’s been that neighbor with the music pounding through the walls in my head when I submitted my first poem for publication. She came to visit me when my son was in the hospital, but she spent the whole time talking about herself. She’s been planting her lawn chair on my property poking at my heart each of the seven times I took a risk on love, until this last try worked out. She stands at my fence with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth yammering away as I expand my novel answering the questions asked by characters eight years ago when I didn’t know them well enough to answer. Or I was just too afraid?

What’s your fear?

Is it your boss? Heights? The dark? Your dream of becoming a writer, singer, chef, CEO, marathon runner, spouse, parent? Or is it just a fear of speaking up?

Fear’s that noisy neighbor inside your head. You might be so used to her voice that you think she’s your imaginary friend.

Fear tells you, “You’re not good enough, smart enough, brave enough…” And then there’s the way she controls others: “They’re going to laugh at you, find out your secret: that you don’t know what you’re doing.” Eckhart Tolle might call that voice your ego–those thoughts that are not real. Those voices are not real. What’s happening in the moment is real.

How much power do you want to give fear?

I’m not going to tell you to laugh in the face of fear. Though sometimes, you have to admit that the conversations with your neighbor, from an objective standpoint, or if they were in a movie, might be funny in a neurotic sort of way. Please know that I’m not referring to the fear when in life-threatening situations. That’s a different kind of fear. But even in those circumstances, I think that humans have the capacity to dig deep.

What about “tragedy”?

I asked Pam Teaney Thomas, the winner of my Birthday Blog Giveaway, about fear. I met her when speaking in South Dakota last year. She’s a remarkable woman, an artist and an activist who works with youth. She has seen her share of fear in the form of two life-threatening situations. Her house, including most of her paintings, burnt down. And she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Here’s what she said:

When I think of the hard times…you find the courage to go through them by those who have walked the path before you and are standing on the other side. They understand your fears, pains and needs. They made it, therefore so can I. The support of my Faith, Family and Friends were huge in pushing through. Each hard time made the next hard time not so hard. You become tempered like steel…Sharper, stronger, and shinier. You recognize that by walking through it there can be a sliver lining if you keep your eyes open to it. Count Your Blessings and Name them One by One and you will see what The Lord hath Done. Truly at the first anniversary of our Fire that is what we did, (it was hard especially for my 17 year old son, but was the best thing we could force ourselves to do). We are now 7 years out and we don’t miss that dinner together each year to celebrate the blessings, not the loss.”

Easy Tools to Deal with Fear

My friends, we can learn from Pam and we can learn from Fear. Here’s what I do now:

  1. Ask for help: I did this when I recently experienced a wave of almost paralyzing fear about publishing my novel. (The closer it becomes to a reality, the more my neighbor wants to keep me company.) I asked some lovely people to hold me up in a bubble of bravery, and that’s what they did, in words, through Facebook posts, with photos, and in thoughts and prayers. I also asked the divine for help. I pulled out all the stops, God, angels, guides, universe, fairies, moon—it made me exercise my vulnerability muscle in a whole new way.
  2. Push the button to walk. I actually walk through my fear like a swamp, because I know there is dry steady land on the other side. Steven Pressfield author of The War of Art, wrote about fear as a good thing. It can be a helpful messenger in showing you how much you want something. So the more frightened you are of taking action, the more you know it’s what you’re called to do. It can sometimes provide you with the adrenaline rush you need to get a task done.
  3. Write. It can be a poem. Or just a scrap of paper that you later rip up or burn over the stove. It can be a journal entry. An email to a friend. Try it. In writing down your fear, you face it differently. It can help you separate from those noisy voices and more objectively decide how much longer you want to pass the time with those thoughts and feelings.

Here’s an excerpt from a poem I wrote last week while swimming in the swamp of fear. One fear had triggered another and another until I was all memories and pain. It’s called: “A New Path.”

Higher self hanging by the tips of angels

feel my fingers slipping

go back to the page

repair one line at a time

fill in the space

between your eyes

there’s a knowledge

in everyone’s heart

and it rests right here

it rests right here


You can buoy your dreams

on a raft of chants, songs

steps on that new path

you wouldn’t have it

brick by brick

heel mark



the charity of a new day

embrace it before

it’s gone again

So tune out your noisy neighbor when you need to, or shake your booty at her and use her yammering voice to propel you forward. Embrace this new day, my friend, it’s the only one you have right now.

Big hug from my heart to yours,


P.S.: For some other resources on dealing with fear* check out:

  1. Brené Brown: If you just want a 10-minute fix and a chance to laugh, here’s one of my favorite clips from her speech at the World Domination Summit. The ultimate victory over fear is to be able to choose vulnerability, to risk your heart in the face of it. If you’re not familiar with her research, consider watching Brené’s 19-minute TED talks focused on vulnerability and shame. They get at the heart of fear as well. I’ve also just started reading her latest book Daring Greatly and it’s amazing. If you’re already a fan, check out this recent interview with Jonathan Fields of The Good Life Project.
  2. Danielle LaPorte’s Making New Mind Grooves: A Discussion about the Neuropathways that are steering your life. This is a great way to train your brain out of its habits of worry or negativity. She also recently wrote about love and having a gentle heart, yet building a fence around it. You don’t have to let everyone in. That one resonated with me as I balance compassion with self-care.
  3. Hay House World Summit: This is a free online summit that started yesterday. You’ll be able to hear 30+ speakers online on a range of topics. I believe that for $7.00, you’ll have anytime access to 100+ speakers. (Registration fees go to their nonprofit.)

Finally, you can follow Pam Teaney Thomas on Twitter @PamTeaneyThomas

*Items one and two contain an occasional well-placed swear word in case you are sensitive about that. Stick with the content, it’s going to make you feel worlds better.