Sunday, December 21, 2014
My father and I never had the close relationship I wanted growing up. Part of it is that we have different personalities and part of it is that my father was figuring out who he was as I grew up. Do not get me wrong, I had a great childhood and a great father, I still do, but I was never as close to him as I wanted to be. I will accept some responsibility for it also, because I can see my personality in my daughter, a sort of loner at times content with being by myself. But as I grew, my father was (and still is) my hero. There was so much about him that I wanted to be like from the way he walked, talked, dressed, how he was funny and intelligent, I wanted to be him.
Now I am a father. I see what he went through from a different perspective. But what has not changed, is that now my son is my hero. I want to be like him. Fearless...really that is it. My son is fearless. I know some of that is my responsibility, but he was born that way, too. He does things at a young age that I would have not been able to do even as a teenager.
So what do I do with him as his father? I continue to teach him things like I am writing about in this book, and guide him into being a fearless, positive leader. With our faith in God and what is right and wrong, I need to make sure that I help him reach his purpose at a younger age than I did. I must teach him through words and actions what it is to be a loving, caring husband and father. I must teach him through words and actions that there is something greater than himself in this world and that is a great compass for him to keep him grounded as he grows, is tested, and fails which is inevitable.
Father of a boy? My goal is to help my boy grow and develop into a good man. My legacy in helping him is that though after I am dead and gone, my actions, love, and caring for him will be passed on to him, who will then pass it on to his children. It will be something that was passed onto me and will continue on for generations to come. Wow...what a responsibility? But I would not have it any other way.
Challenge: If you are a dad to a boy, hug him, kiss him, and tell him how wonderful he is. But do not hesitate to teach him discipline and to understand his responsibilities as a future man.
Saturday, December 20, 2014
I can remember when I was younger and some of the jobs that gave me a paycheck. They were not exactly fulfilling, yet I was able to go there, put in the hours, and they gave me money. But I remember being miserable. Part of it was because I was young and immature, but the main reason is that I had not found out my purpose yet. In fact, I had not thought about it much if at all.
I trimmed Christmas trees, worked at UPS, mowed grass at Covered Bridge Golf Club, built military tents at a factory, was a prep worker at Bob Evan's restaurant, and an assortment of other jobs that I did not like. I will never forget the time that John Bradley, then head basketball coach at Henryville H.S. in Indiana asked me at 23 if I wanted to coach his freshman basketball team. Why would he ask me? No way I would be ready to do that! He gave me 24 hours and after thinking about it, I accepted.
I was right, I was in no way ready to be a basketball coach, but I kinda, sorta found my purpose. It was to be a coach! Ok, so that's what I thought, but as I evolved as a coach to becoming a teacher, I started to figure it out. My purpose is to help others, especially teenagers in finding their purpose. As a coach and now as a social studies teacher, I am around these people daily and am able to help them with that purpose.
I try to give good advice, and good advice comes from experience, and experience comes from....bad decisions. I have always found it funny that teenagers, but kids in general, will listen to an adult they respect and they feel respects them more than their own parents who actually love them. This is a huge responsibility which can cause some problems at times, but I try to help not just the students, but also their parents. Because being a parent is a tough, tough, tough job.
But what is your purpose? This goes back to self-reflection. If you are miserable in what you do for a living, then you have not found your purpose yet. Your purpose is something that brings you satisfaction on a consistent basis.
Challenge: If what you do brings you very little satisfaction, then I challenge you to continue looking for your purpose while you do what you are doing now. Once you figure out what your purpose is, I challenge you to figure out a way to work your purpose into your current career, or better yet, turn your purpose into your career.
Friday, December 19, 2014
My daughter is a Daddy's girl, or it is more like I am wrapped around her little finger. Of the two children, I see her personality more in line with mine. She did not get a lot of my bad issues, but, I guess that is perspective. She is a perfectionist, a competitor, and really tries, sometimes to be a great person. She does so much to help other children, but we cannot seem to get her to keep her room clean, or have her brush her teeth without reminding her every day, but I guess that is part of being young.
It is funny that before I had a daughter, I tried not to participate in anything degrading towards women, but, unfortunately if we are honest, you do. From jokes, to comments, to...well I do not have to be that honest, but it was not always nice. But then you have a daughter and the way you see other women is through the eyes of their fathers. The jokes or comments that you might think funny, are not so funny anymore.
This is a scary world raising a daughter. Young boys will be exposed to pornography more than any past generation and they will develop much of how they treat women from watching that stuff. They will not be able to help themselves especially if they do not reflect or deny themselves that which is so readily available.
The scripture that I hang onto is Proverbs 22:6 "train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." I hope that the way I treat my wife and the way that I raise our daughter will be true as Proverbs 22:6 states. I will be intentional in how I raise her by loving my wife, hugging and kissing my daughter and telling her how special she is often.
No matter what age she is and what she is going through, I will still see her as the baby girl that I held in my arms the first time, and I was scared to death. I will still see her as the little girl who skinned her knee and I carried upstairs to make it all better, I will still see her as the little girl moaning in pain from a severe ear ache as I hold an ice pack on her, and I will still see her as the little girl who gives me the biggest, best hugs ever.
I will never give up in helping my daughter to be a woman of worth and if it takes monitoring her social media or reading the notes in her room, I will do it. I will love her, guide her and pick her up when she falls. I pray for her often in that she will find a good man who will love her half as much as I love her. If that happens, she will be just fine.
Challenge: If you have a daughter this is not just a one day thing, it has to be a habit. Be intentional in loving her and giving her self-worth. Give her space, but be the safety net, and when necessary, out of love, keep evil away from her.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Life is not about your happiness. The sooner you realize that, the happier you will be. Wait, that does not make sense. That is because life is hard, it can be a cruel, cruel world and you will not be happy all of the time. However, you can be joyful if you choose.
Life is not about your happiness, but it is about finding joy in as many moments as possible. Most joyful moments are so small that we often overlook them, thus missing out. Find joy in a song that reminds you of your childhood, find joy in a funny comment made by someone, find joy in breathing and being alive, find joy in the successes and failures of your life and of your children. They are learning and they will learn more by watching your reaction to situations than anything you could tell them.
Life can be hard, life can be unhappy, but there is much to enjoy. The choice is up to you to be joyful or to let the world beat you down. Choose joy as often as possible.
Challenge: Choose joy today in something...anything, the options can be limitless.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Ephesians 5:25 - Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.
What does it take to be a good spouse, more specifically here a good husband? I grew up in a home that was not religious, but I watched one thing every day that benefited me, a father who loved my mother, his wife. Many times I would watch him grab her as she walked through the house and kiss her, I watched him give of himself for her happiness and that example was good.
But growing up without any other guidance, I started to see women as an ends to a mean, as an object of my desire. I was baptized after I met my wife, but I still was not a good man or husband for a few years as I grew in my faith. As I grew, I started to truly understand Ephesians 5:25.
God so loved the world that he sent his son to die on the cross, and Jesus so loved the church that he willingly went to the cross. Jesus loved the church so much that he gave himself up for it. That is what we are all called to be as husbands, to give of ourselves, our lives if necessary, for the love of our brides.
As I grow in my faith, I have become a better man, but also a better husband. Everything about our relationship improved because of my deepening faith in God. That improvement is important for a couple of reasons. One, I am a better husband for my beautiful wife who is the daughter of my father-in-law which I get now that my daughter grows up. The second reason is that I need to be the example that my daughter will use when it is time as she grows up and some man tries to win her heart.
Challenge: Today, grab your wife, hug her, kiss her and tell her that you love her and that she is special. This is a challenge not just for today, but make it a habit. I promise it will improve your marriage and if you have children, it will be a legacy that lives on.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
While writing this, it is the Christmas season and each year during that time I like to watch my favorite movie of all time, It's a Wonderful Life starring James Stewart as George Bailey. George is a dreamer and wanna be adventurer who through different life events is "stuck" in his hometown taking care of the family owned Building and Loan. George cannot get out of Bedford Falls, and he battles bouts of anger/depression because of it.
At the end of the movie, a large amount of money is misplaced and it looks like George will go to prison and at that moment, he realizes he is worth more dead than alive. The moment he is about to drown himself, an angel drops into the river and George saves him instead of ending his own life. The twist is that during this encounter with the angel, George wishes he'd never been born and the angel makes it so. George then sees Bedford Falls from the point of view that he'd never been born and so many things changed just because George Bailey never existed. It's a great movie and one that I recommend in putting your life in perspective.
What a great gift it would be to see the world as if you had never been born. What I think we would see is how great an influence that we all have and how different the world would be without us. No matter how famous or lack of fame you may have, you are making a difference each day. Some of that difference may be negative, but there are so many positives you are doing without trying, just imagine if you were proactive in doing good.
Challenge: Take some time today and imagine if you had never been born. Your spouse would not have met you, your children would not exist, many of the people who have thanked you for helping them whether on purpose or not, would not have had that help and what happens to them? Your heart is beating in your chest, that means you have a purpose, that purpose is used all of the time, sometimes without your knowledge. No matter how down you can get, you are a hero to someone, I promise.