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The Press

The press of change can destabilize or establish new paths. Our choice can be new and better paths.

Matthew 18:2-4 Jesus called a little child to his side and set him on his feet in the middle of them all. “Believe me,” he said, “unless you change your whole outlook and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven. It is the man who can be as humble as this little child who is greatest in the kingdom of Heaven.

The message is simple. Be simple about change.  It is not complicated. What needs to change to move closer to the target?  What is the target?  Can it be done with simplicity, fairness, equity, and justice?  Then it can be done.
A young man with whom I am working has spent his life in drugs, gangs, cartels, and prisons.  From 9 to 30, that has been his lifestyle.  Now he is pursuing another direction.  His goal is different.  His goal is to enjoy life legally and justly.  It is tough, but it is simple.  We talk a little every day because every day presents new issues along the path.  Eventually, he will walk on his own.  We start change as children.  That’s the key.  Simple and clean.
Prayer:  Father, I pray for my friend and all the changes in the path.  Our nation, our homes, and our lives are challenged with fear and disruption.  Yet, the goal has not changed. Make simple and clear steps easy to see for my friend.  Help my friend sort through the clutter and the noise and target just and appropriate action.
Family Facts: As we enter a new chapter at SOLUM CTI, I thought I’d drop a fact a week in these missives.  It is our families that make this nation strong.  It is our families that are under the greatest strain.
Did you know?  It is reported 48% of all new births are into never married situations.  This is a recent trend.  It is not teenagers.  It is adults.  Most studies I have seen put this around 41-43%.  This study reports higher.
What can you do about it? If you are married, invest in your marriage to keep it healthy. Be an example.  If you are a policy maker, participate in family information initiatives in your community.  Be visible.
Phil Larson, President ;-{)
cell/text 405.388.8037
Community Transformation Initiative
National Offices
224 S. Chestnut, Moore, Ok 73160
Be an agent of change:  Support a probationer working on a new life.  solumcommunity.net/give philheadanimation

 

Vision Must Be Refreshed

Community Transformation Initiative has a great reputation. How do you improve what you are doing and how you present yourself?  In marketing, we call that “rebranding”. Recast the image.  As our success grows working with struggling families, it is time  to put on a new suit of clothes.

1. SOLUM is Latin for soil or foundation.   What we do is invest in the soil of hurting lives with fresh thought that can repair fractured foundations and launch a new future solid enough for generations.

2. The two leave image can be interpreted two ways. Some look and say, “It means someone comes alongside me and is helping me build a better life forward.”  Others look and say, “It means when I change it affects those around me also.”  Those are quotes from grads of our workshops, when I asked them to help with the new imagery.

3. Solid Life Foundations – Yes, we work at the foundational level of thought, social skills, and problem solving assisting those that come to us with cognitive self restructuring. That means they have to chose.  They have to build themselves up from the inside out. We assist and expose and challenge.

4. Healthy and Safe Relationships – violence is too prevalent and lack of listening is too common.  We teach how to listen, empathize, understand, and communicate.  These are not common skills.

5. Generations of Greatness – When foundations are rebuilt with solid approach and communication is ongoing, more is caught than taught.  Each workshop is three months, once a week, 20 hours, and includes weekly homework.  These are designed to shift thinking.  Life Skills, Family Builders, Anger Management, Couples Communication. They are all researched and evidence based.   They will speak into the lives of the children of the children of those we connect.

Support Phil and SOLUM – Solid Life Foundations:

  1. Need a motivational speaker?  Call me and connect.  405.388.8037
  2. Need a leadership retreat?   Let’s get it done.  phil@shepherdok.com
  3. Feeling philanthropic? GIVE to support solid family life foundation building. solumcommunity.net/give 
  4. Interested in starting a GrandParent Support group in your area?  Get with me.

Capital Chaos Disturbs Us All: A Call To Pray

joyfulgenerationsPsalm 122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem (your city): they shall prosper that love you. Peace be within the walls (places we all consider safe), and prosperity within the palaces (places of trade and government). For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee.
Pray for and plan for the peace of your city.  Leaders do that. Leaders look to ensure right infrastructure is in place.  They plan for economic growth.  Education systems are intentionally developed. Healthcare is situated.  Community arts and social activities are set in place.  And then chaos attacks the peace of the city, the safety of hearts and minds, and the stability of home.
Nothing is more frightening than violence in the home, the safe place.  As we pray for the people of Paris and those assaulted in the Russion airliner and the thousands slaughtered in Syria and other countries, we pray for our cities and our homes.  The world is an unsafe place.  It has been greatly disturbed.  Our own schools and streets experience ever increasing violence. Even as we acknowledge these atrocities and attacks on peace of mind and stability, remember that one out of three women report being violently assaulted in their lifetime, one out of four young women will be sexually abused by age 16, 41% of our children are being born into never secure, never married homes.  While murder rages in the streets and skies, our homes are on fire from within.
Pray for both today.  Pray for our homes.  Pray for our safety.  Pray for your home, your city, and pray globally.
Father, we have lost touch with what is most important to You.  You call Yourself, Father, the Protector and Provider of homes and cities and nations.  Our guard is down.  Our lives are strewn to chaos.  Our streets are not safe from without or from within.  We are most heartily sorry for our part, Father.
Father, teach us.  Instruct us in ways that lead to peace and prosperity.  Take us to secure homes and undisturbed cities and schools and theaters and meeting places.  Refugees scatter across our world and find no peace in the next place.  God, grant us peace. 

Crime Scene Recovery

You’ve watched it.  Some CSI show captures your attention and you watch it for years.  Las Vegas, New York, San Francisco, whatever, and whenever your senses are tickled by the obtuse and violent trends in society.  Over supper, you watch blood and gore and grim.  In time you are desensitzed.

In the rooms of your home another crime scene is being repeated.  The number one cause of death in ages 10-24 is accidental death, followed by suicide and murder.  70% of death in this age range is violent.  According to CDC surveys reported by Child Trends “High school males are more than three times as likely as females to carry a weapon (28 and eight percent, respectively, in 2013). This difference holds for all racial and ethnic subgroups, as well as at each grade level. (Figure 2) The prevalence of carrying a weapon, however, has declined significantly among both males and females (by 15 and four percentage points, respectively) since 1991. teenscarryingweaponsbyrace

What?  What is going on here?  We are talking in many cases 1 in 3 high schools students carrying a weapon.  Is life really that violent for them?  What fear causes that?  Are they being aggressive or defensive?  Do you know your own house?

Men, you have the power to protect.  While working for over a decade with Dr. Ken Canfield and the National Center For Fathering, one of the Seven Secrets of Effective Fathers stands out as Protect and Provide.  But, we aren’t doing the job.  So many men have stepped off the curb of manhood and integrity that our young men are resorting to violence to protect themselves and assert their ideas and identities.

The Huffington Post has a great eye opener to this violence trend in youth and relationships.  Don’t read it unless you are ready to weep and have tctiss2014familyviolencebyageyour sensibilities stripped back to reality.  We have and epidemic of violence.

Take a look at the graph.  You will see that family violence offenders are predominant in ages 20-39 and too high in ages 15-any age.  Our young men are angry and taking it out on others.  No, all offenders are not men.  But the preponderance are.

Fatherless young men are perpetuating fatherless young men and women.

Men, you can make a difference.  You can give this generation a better view of the world and you can still this storm with your compassion and concern

What can a man do when the foundations have been destroyed and violence reigns?

. Men, listen to your sons.  Listen with your mouth closed.  Get into a Life Skills class and build some new skills.

. Men and women, resolve your own angst and develop new insights as a parent.  Get support.

. Couples, young, old, planning to marry, struggling through coupleness, never married… Take action.  Get moving.

. Men, get control of your eyes and examples.  What are you teaching through your life?

. Men, do something kind to your child’s mother every week that they can see without having to try to see it.  I don’t care if she hates you or not.  I don’t care if she is married to you or not.  Your children are watching you.

. Men, contain your habit of awfulizing.

What is AWFULIZING? n. refers to an irrational and dramatic thought pattern, characterized by the tendency to overestimate the potential seriousness or negative consequences of events, situations, or perceived threats. AWFULIZING: “A person who engages in awfulizing, likely predicts the most catastrophic outcome in every circumstance.” Psychology Dictionary

. Men, put hope and healing into your language and actions.  Find a way to apologizing for your disconnection, absence, and anger.  You are the stronger one.  Begin the journey.

Need help:  

 

 

More Than A Sperm Donor

One of the most common names for fathers today among teen girls is “sperm donor”.  Yes, it is common and frequent.  Ask anyone working with young women.  That is an name of anger and angst.  Why would any daughter call her father such a name?  Why is it so common.

I hope you are a father of  teen or twenty-something daughter reading this note.  You need to change.  You need to do something significant in your family, relationship, and community.

Over the years in OKC, we’ve sponsored hundreds of couples of men and their teens and twenty-something daughters in conjunction with a Father/Daughter Summit.  They come into the door with enough room between them for another person to walk.  They leave side by side.  A miracle happens on those days.

It is harder and harder to make that happen.  Overall fatherless families are on a major rise.  The worse trend is that overall births to unmarried women are on the rise among women in their twenties, thirties, and forties.  This is not a teenage trend.  It is a national epidemic.  Over 40% of births fall into the unmarried category.  Fifty years ago this was less than 1% and mostly young teens.  Now it is becoming a norm.  It is unheard of in history.unmarriedbirthsbyage

Women have been abandoned by a most important male.  Fathers have flown the coop.  Sperm donors don’t inspire stable families for future generations.  Why would you get married to a man, who is headed out the door?  Why not just do it on your own?

Take a hard look at the numbers.  The increase in unmarried births among all races is escalated at frightening percentages.

What can a man do when the foundations are being destroyed?

Men, you have the power to turn the tide.  You can be more than a sperm donor.  You can be a caring and listening man to your daughter.  You can be a visible and compassionate example to daughters in the community alongside your wife.

. As a couple, choose to mentor a young woman.

. As a man, be there for your daughter.

. As a man, get control of your eyes and actions.

. As a man, speak well of women and quit your griping.

. As a couple, be visible in the community in loving leadership.

. As a man, find a place to serve outside your isolation.

Be more than a sperm donor.  Put glue into the fractures of today’s families.unmarriedbirths

a voice of the fatherless – 2014 Executive Brief

Friend, I’m excited.  It is the Christmas season and the beginning of a new year.  2015 goalgiverholds great promise for those that have been preparing in 2014.  That is what we have done.  Groundwork.  Backbreaking, long hours, training, connecting, and foundational planning go along with the many families we’ve reached.  We did what we said we were going to do to change the fathering and family landscape of Oklahoma, Texas, and the nation.  Think EFFECTIVENESS.

  • Training accomplished for marital communication and youth in the Prep, nationally acclaimed, research and evidence based programs.OKC
  • Delivered leadership training in 21 hour courses to 20 pastors. OKC
  • Launched first citywide Dad’s University in Gainesville Tx/Marietta OK.
  • Developed and delivered Life Skills training in six eight week classes to 37 probationers with excellent results in anger management, better family interactions, and better workplace and community lifestyle.  Gainesville Tx/Marietta OK.
  • Dad’s University eight week program delivered through connection at Tulakes Elementary and 12 week program at the Jesus House that included 30 men. OKC
  • Launched Family Builders parenting skills training with two probationers in a ten week program.
  • Developed and ready for distribution on Dad’s University online and DVD with six core skills attention areas for every dad. OKC
  • Published and distributed Time To Lead, a community action challenging study of Hezekiah and 54 leaders from business, government, education, religion, military, and community. Available on Amazon in both print and kindle. Nation
  • Opened a training center in Gainesville, Texas hosted by Hope Connection.
  • Published over 60,000 character encouragement devotions to 3200 legislators in 34 states and 750 local leaders in Oklahoma. OKC
  • Continue to reach thousands weekly through facebook, twitter, linkedin, and website. Nation
  • Coordinated 80 OKC leaders in a brain session with Dr. Ken Canfield. OKC
  • Hosted a citywide awareness concert in Gainesville Tx/Marietta OK. pulling government, education, business, congregation, community and families from across denominations and cultural groups.
  • Met and informed hundreds of business leaders via Chamber of Commerce breakfasts, Rotary, Lions, etc.. Oklahoma and Texas

This is just the beginning of something big.  Your contribution makes a difference.  Think IMPACT.  Each of those people represents a family and an extended family.  I find that most people influence a minimum of 15 others.  Do the math.  Parenting (2), Life Skills (37), Book (100), Legislators (3200), Leaders (750), OKC leaders (85) = 4174 x15 = 62,610 families impacted.  Some deeper than others.  Some we teach for months, some one time.  All impacts the community.  Think INFLUENCE.

Every bit of this was accomplished on a dime and a dare.  I’ve worked two part-time jobs along with doing this to stay afloat.  I don’t do this because I have great funding.  I do this because it is the right thing to do and the right time to do it.  2015 should be the year to move out of part-time.  That is your decision to make.

  • Would you like us to get our training center opened in Marietta for youth? We are located directly across from the high school in the meth cooking capital of Oklahoma.  K2 is being used to destroy young minds.  We have the location, the community good will, the training, and the heart to put a stop to great evil and do great good.  Think TURNAROUND.
  • Would you like us to expand parenting and father and couples and life skills training and reach ten times the families?
  • Would you like us to do more dvd and online training to reach the nation?
  • Would you like us to develop elementary school based programs to reach men and families in OKC?
  • Would you like us to get to legislators in all 50 states and move that number to 8000?

Sure you do.  This is what I need you to do. Give.  Give liberally.  Give your way.  Some like to give once a year after tallying up the profits.  Some like to give alongside bonuses.  Some like to give every month.  We need all of that.

Fathers are getting more engaged.  Families are being reunited.  Individuals choose a better life. Communities transform.  Legislators receive  encouragement to wise, character action.

Need a suggestion?  Think TRANSFORMATION!

Give $50 a month as a Family Builder.goalgiver

Give $100 a month as a Community Builder.

Give $2500 to sponsor one Life Skills class with 15 probationers or one Family Builders parenting class or one Dad’s University or one Forever For Real marriage communication group and be a Recovery Champion.

Give $5000 to support volunteer training in all areas and be a Community Champion.

Give $10,000 to enable us to acquire right staff and get school based programs underway and be a National Champion.

Do it now.  Make Christmas merry for a family with a restored father.  Do it.

Thanks for all you do,

Phil Larson, Director and Servant to Fathers and Families

Tell me about you:

Get Your Groove Back For The Fatherless

batonGet your groove back!

June and July have been a time of working on my groove.  Intense months add up.  They pull at strength and elasticity.

This article from the past speaks to me.  Three Hats

Sometimes I just read my own stuff and get recharged.  It is good to remember our velocity, veracity, and vitality all balance.  Losing vitality can remove you from effectiveness.  Velocity is the ability hit a timely target that has meaning.  Veracity means being you, fully you.

So this Summer, I’ve rested on some items while allowing my creativity and concern a time to stew and gain clarity.

This picture has two images.  One is the baton Dr. Ken Canfield gave to me in 2001 as a challenge to father the fatherless.  The other is the world.  It is my world, my sphere that needs influencing.

What is your world?  Mine is Oklahoma City, Canadian County-Ok, Love County-Ok and Cooke County-Tx specifically and 34 state legislative bodies nationally.  It encompasses schools, government,  courts, congregations, and business.

What is your focus?  Mine is the fatherless and fractured families.

What is your POA? (Plan of Attack)  One of mine is the creation of Dad’s University dvds customized to location to move from reaching hundreds to reaching thousands.  We’ll go for tens of thousands later.  One step at a time here.

You have opportunity to be a part of the next thrust to thousands.  I need mentors, trainers, and givers.  GIVE HERE

If you want to volunteer, shoot me a note. VOLUNTEER HERE

Forest or Flower?

thering
This morning I remember my friend, Abuna Nasr. Fr. Constantine Nasr is a nineth generation minister. Born Palestinian in Jerusalem, he is the continuance of over 400 years of Christian ministers father to son in the Holy Land. He keeps the communion cup handed down father to son over those 400 years. That is generational living. That is the blessing of the father continuing and continuing.
As we mourn the disruption in the church at Oklahoma City this week with a “father in the faith” under public scrutiny and stepped out of ministry influence, I think of generational men like Dr. Herman Reece of CBMC and Tom Hill of Character First and Fr. Nasr of the Antiochan Orthodox and Dr. Frank Tunstall of the IPHC and Dr. Major Jemison of the Progressive Baptist convention. These men each have full right to speak into my life and they do just that. From the ecclesiastical, ecumenical, expressionist, evangelical and executive seats of influence they are nation changers and generation builders.
While soaking the wisdom of Abuna Nasr (Abuna is a special personal distinction and means spiritual father), he shared a generational blessing with me. He reached to his wedding ring and turned it on his finger. “Phil, when you are away from your wife, just do this and remember who you are.” He was challenging me to be a man of generations and stability and keep a long term view of faithfulness and covenant. Here is a tip handed down for generations father to son and now is my blessing. He’s right.

Tom looked at me recently and said, “Phil, you are not responsible for the results. You are responsible to do the right thing. Keep doing it.” Wise words from a generational man. He’s right.
This morning Ed Zielinski, county attorney in Cooke County, Texas, turned to me in conversation. Sitting at a chamber of commerce breakfast, we were talking about some young men on probation who have trouble thinking a clear thought. Fatherless and a life of drugs and crime and their minds just don’t work clearly. And yet another man, who spent 30 years in prison, who is now working to live a good life. Ed admonished me, “Phil, God designed you to help these men think through this.” He’s right.
It is good to be surrounded by generational men, who meditate in the word of God day and night, who do not sit in the seat of the scornful, and who work on growing forests instead of flowers. It is easy to grow a temporary garden of flowers that fade in a few days after blooming. It is tough to grow a forest of trees that will stand 400 years. Fathers grow forests.

Act Like God

Get full information you need on how to connect effectively in transforming the community from fatherless to fathered in 2014 with your time, talent, and finances.  All He needs is all you have.  All you have is enough.Act Like God

1 in 6 fathers doesn’t live with his kids – WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

“Fathers do matter. You can have a profound impact on your child’s life, even if you’re not living with them,” Fornari said. “If you are living with them, be sure that you’re actively engaged. Just being present isn’t enough. Make sure you have dinner with your kids. I understand people have busy schedules, but if you don’t have time for dinner together most nights, when do you have time to interact?”
http://www.wowktv.com/story/24272254/1-in-6-fathers-doesnt-live-with-his-kids