Regular visits with friends is a sure cure for man’s ills. A morning with a friend at the lake, followed by an hour visiting neighbors with another friend, followed by relaxing in a field watching men play the “shock box” while laughing and gorging on carne asada. Those are moments. Visiting with a pastor discussing the state of the church and our inward focus. All works together to mold us.
Iron sharpens iron so a man builds a man face to face. Nothing else works so well.
In the morning oft is mourning
Grey thoughts in dark nights build webs of delusion
Fear clouds clarity and wisdom seems far.
In the morning.
In the morning fresh opportunity grabs mental fog.
Beauty blows back ashes.
Dawn of the new day stimulates hope.
In the morning.
Ps 90:14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
Rep Lankford recently committed as a supporter of our work.
Men need to get a grip. The battle of the sexes has escalated over the last few decades into increasing violence. One of our premises in working with men is to strengthen healthy relationships.
Is the classroom the place? Maybe a sociology of fatherhood might bring life back to families.
Stories are powerful. They remain in the mind of the receiver for decades. In a conversation with a twenty-something Latina this week at a community event, she leaned over and her face brightened. A story impacted her. She had been in a seminar I had taught three years earlier. One of the stories told in that seminar, she now used in teaching a group of children a similar concept. Of course, she modified it to fit the audience and lesson. How powerful are stories! This one is still teaching.
My dad diligently worked on a book of stories written just before he passed. They are precious to me. One of my great, great grandfathers wrote a book of his experiences as a Union captain along the Missouri/Arkansas border during the civil war. They intrigue me. A few years ago, I spent a weekend with one of my dad’s cousins hearing stories about him that he never told. All of the stories are pieces of heritage.
Be creative in how you tell your stories to your children. Tell about successes and tell about failure. Some years ago, working with the National Center For Fathering with Father/Daughter Summits, we discovered an amazing insight. Young women want to hear about dad’s failures. Dads spend too much time bragging and then appear disingenuous to their daughters. Be real.
Be creative in how you begin your stories. Practice special ones. When I was your age is a horrible way to start a story. It can be received as preaching. Man, when I was kid, one time……
Be purposeful in how you tell your stories. They don’t have to all have lessons in them. They can just be fun. Hey, when I was a kid I could throw so accurate, I knocked a squirrel out of tree at 40 yards. They don’t have to be long. But they should always be entertaining.
Be visual in telling your stories. Make sure your children can see the picture as you tell it. Describe colors and tastes and smells and feelings. Let them step into it with you.
Tell stories about other family members but never to deride or put them down, only to build them up. Too often at family gatherings negative stories are told. You know how stupid your uncle was when he was young? is not a good story line. I was really proud of your Aunt Mary when… is a great opener.
There was this dog in our neighborhood that always chased me when I delivered papers on my bike. Shoot, he would break his chain to get to me. One time his owner chained him to his dog house and he dragged the house halfway across the yard. This dog was vicious and hungry for my hide. Every time I threw the paper to that house, I would pedal at top speed.
Then it happened. He had already broken loose and was waiting on me behind a tree. As soon as I passed, he jumped out silently, sunk his teeth into my paper bag and pulled my banana bike right out from underneath me. I hit the ground on a roll and ran. There he stood gloating on top of my bike daring me to come get it back. Finally a neighbor chased him off with a stick.
Next week, when I needed to deliver our small town weekly newspaper, I rode with a new confidence and speed. Sure, I was scared, but I was confident. He didn’t eat me and I survived. The dog only barked at me after that instead of trying to attack. It taught me that sometimes you have to encounter a problem to get past it. Otherwise it always is threatening you and making you nervous.
So practice that story with some color in it and some creativity and go ahead and tell it. But remember to not get old and tell it over and over and over and over. Go tell a story for father’s day.
A Tip Top Touch from Dad’s University
In the last few weeks our state and local community have suffered unspeakable loss. After the May 20 tornado hit Moore, my husband and I both leapt into action, each according to our own talents. We talked openly about our activities in the presence of our 3-year-old daughter, but not always WITH her specifically. Several days after the storm the inevitable day came that we were running errands in Moore, our hometown, and we drove by our beloved Veteran’s Park.
Since infancy, this park has been the favorite destination for countless play-dates and snow cone treats, and it was the last place of devastation I wanted our daughter to witness. I wanted to shield her from this ugliness, so unrecognizable I held out hope that she might not realize where we were. Not so! She first clarified that this was indeed “her” park, and that it was indeed broken, and when we thought she might cry or become angry she announced “I want to help!” Despite our many attempts to explain that much of the helping is a “daddy” job, she has relentlessly pursued us over the next several days to let her help. It finally sunk in, that while I had been shielding her from what I thought was too much to handle, she responded in the most natural way she knew.
Turns out, the best thing I can do for my daughter is not to shield her from the devastation, but to be with her as she experiences it, talk about it frequently with her, and process our reactions and emotions together as a family as much as she is able to participate.
Certainly, she is not ready for everything; none of us can process all of this information at once. But God knew before He formed her that this day would come, that it would be a part of her life experiences, and He’s had a plan all along to use this to mold her into the woman she will become. We’ve prayed and discussed what God has to teach us as individuals, a couple, and a church body through this experience, but God’s plans aren’t only for adults! He has a special plan for my child, and your children as well!
Lord, let me not stand in the way of your teaching moments with my daughter, but give me wisdom to step back when necessary and to step in when needed with a wise word and loving heart. Thank you for humbling me, for reminding me that this incredible little girl is yours first, mine second, and your plans for her are greater than my wildest imagination. Give me wisdom to walk with her and teach her, but most of all to point her to you as she experiences both the wonder and the devastation in this life.
When painful things happen, I encourage you to prayerfully consider what God is doing in your children’s lives as well as your own. Take specific time aside to talk on their level about the experience, even if they are mostly experiencing it vicariously (through you, or the media, or friends’ accounts), give them constructive ways to express their emotions, positive or negative (art, music, and role play are a few suggestions). For our daughter, we’re going to plant flowers to help re-grow what the winds blew away. We’ll start with pots in our yard for now, as the devastated sites really are not appropriate or safe for young children, and then we’ll find a way to make her efforts a part of the public healing process as it is appropriate. Who knows, maybe one day she’ll take her own children to the very spot we plant those flowers and tell the story of what God did in our community!
Angela Fashimpaur – Ready To Help: Leading Your Children
An article recently posted discussed the dropping rates of teen pregnancy (well, teen birth rates) and conversely the rising number of 20-something young women who are choosing to enter parenthood alone. One proposed solution was to teach abstinence to our children. Kenya has a compelling Cinderella story of abstinence training; it literally turned the AIDS epidemic in their country around. Abstinence is a form of contraceptive, it is a safety policy, and it works. But friends, it is SO MUCH MORE! Abstinence until marriage is a beautiful, passionate expression of love. There really aren’t many things more attractive than a man or woman who can say to a future mate, “I have saved a sacred part of myself ONLY for you, for all of our lives.” Wow. I was both the recipient and the giver of such a gift and wow, just wow! I appreciate it more as I reflect on it now than I ever could have as a teen or a young bride.
So, my thoughts on this as a daughter, a young woman, and now a mother to a daughter – we need to teach abstinence not as a law, safety policy, or cautionary tale (because we are human and we will break the law, statistics prove) but rather we should teach abstinence as an expression of LOVE. Love and respect for one’s body and self (you are WORTH commitment), love and respect for a husband worthy (and yes girls, he’s not Disney’s Prince Charming, but a worthy, honorable man is out there for you), and most importantly our abstinence should be an expression of love for our savior.
Christ is our ultimate bridegroom. He sacrificed everything, riches, power, glory, the endless worship of the heavens to suffer this wretched earth with us. This was no episode of “Undercover Boss,” he knew exactly what he would find when he came and what it would cost him and he came anyways for his bride – Disney couldn’t write a better love story if they tried! As parents, whether single, married, re-married, etc, we must not only teach about such sacrificial love, but model the response of devotional love. The BEST thing that we as parents can do to teach abstinence is love our Savior with all of our hearts, minds, and soul- out of that love will come a love for our children, love for our spouse, and love for ourselves that speaks louder than any words.
Perhaps the best part of this love story is that this loving bridegroom will redeem his broken and shameful bride and cover her in His righteousness – if your story to parenthood is not one you’re proud to tell, or you have already “made the mistake too many times,” Christ the bridegroom came for you! If you are a rigid keeper-of-the-law who has never experienced the passionate, overwhelming love of Christ, He came for you! No matter the place you come from, your unreasonable faith in God’s love today and His love lavishly spoken over you will speak louder than your past, louder than your words, and louder than our culture that screams the opposite.