My Rebound: The toothbrush incident

Posted at 11:52 PM, Jun 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-17 09:49:42-04

Editor's note: Aceis blogging about being a dad trying to rebound from the coronaivrus pandemic at My Rebound by FOX 17. He desired for his son to feel both pride in and connection to his Filipino heritage, so he founded the Grand Rapids Asian-Pacific Festival in 2016. Also a banker, he recently resigned from his position – now staying full-time with his 6-year-old son. He and his wife, son and dog live in Plainfield Township.

Staying home with Redd presents many glorious situations for growth for both of us.


What were the lessons that you learned from your father or father figure? How did he/she acknowledge your trickery, and how was punishment upheld at your home?

Let me tell you about the toothbrush incident.

Redd wakes up at his usual time, and I am busy cleaning our kitchen. It takes him a while before he says hello, and he is moving so slowly. I ask, "Redd, did you brush your teeth?"

His response is, "Yes, Dad."

I ask one more time, "Are you sure?"

And again, nervously, he says, "YES!"

"Redd," I say. "Look at me. Are you sure?"

Sheepishly, he says, "Yes, Dad, I brushed my teeth last night!"

Well, he was right. However, he purposely twisted the situation to fit his truth. I told him I was not happy, but deep down inside I was holding myself from bursting out laughing.

This is my teaching moment. These are the times that will shape his inner voice. We sat down on the couch, and I gave him an example. "Do you remember when you and Daddy went back to the store, because the cashier did not scan one of our items? We did that because it is the right thing to do," I tell him.

Integrity ensures that we can be secure in our convictions as we know it holds true.


On Memorial Day weekend, the Great Lobster Sale was underway: $9.99 for a big-sized juicy crustacean. I stood in a somewhat socially distanced line to receive my limit of four of these babies. That morning, I kept waking up Jackie to stand in line with me, but who would watch Redd? I had to go alone.

I went and stood there for 20 minutes before the guard handed me a piece of paper entitling me to my share. I was so happy to pay for the lobsters. I stored them in the car and immediately went back in the line for more.

The guard gave us instructions – limit four per customer only, please. I felt nervous. I already had my four in the car. The guard did not remember me, as I also took off my hat in the car. This is it! The guard gives me another slip entitling me to another four of these yummy beauties.

After you get your slip, you stand in another line. The guard, once more, reminded us only four per customer, so more people will have a chance to get a lobster. I stood there, ready to make an excuse for my behavior, as my made-up truth is telling me, Well, this is for Jackie and not for me.

But I can't do it. It's just not right. I give the slip back to the guard and say, "I changed my mind." I drove home teary-eyed as I wanted so bad to buy eight.

Some might say it's a bit excessive to talk to your child about what is right and wrong when it is just about brushing his teeth. However, teaching Redd to know what is right is my duty as a father.

The following day I asked if he brushed his teeth, and he said, "Not yet, Dad. I just want to hug first before I brush my teeth, but I will." I am so proud!

As I said to him, telling the truth is always the best. Even if you are faced with insurmountable odds or the scariest challenge, you will win.

That same day in the afternoon, when Jackie got home from work, she asked, "Why is our bed not fixed?" Panic-stricken, I said, "Redd did it!" and I quickly ran out of our bedroom.