Saturday, June 14, 2008

Father’s Day 2008 – The Power of Dad

Please forgive me for re-using this post from last year. I'll be in Chicago on Father's Day on business.
So, for all you father's who are blessed to spend this day with your families....Happy Father's Day!

A child will not see the Father in God, until he sees something of God in his father.

It is Father’s Day, again. We’re going to see a lot of posts, articles and advertisements about Father’s Day. What are going to give to the “father” in your life? (Husband, son, grandfather, uncle, father-in-law……etc.) What’s the best Father’s Day gift you’ve ever received (assuming you are somebody’s Dad)?

The best Father’s Day gift I can remember is the first time one of my children said to me, on their own, “I love you, Daddy”. What more could any man ever want after that?
(This is my 20th Father’s Day as somebody’s Dad, and I still have never been given a neck-tie!)

Before my kids came along, I read books and studied about how to be the best husband I could be for my wife. Once I found out I was going to be somebody’s Dad, I started studying things to help me be the best Daddy those kids could ever hope for.

I have made way more than my fair share of mistakes along the way, so I am by no means a perfect Dad. I don’t even come close.

I read a lot of books and I take every opportunity to study, listen and learn how to be the man God wants me to be by learning how to be the best husband and Dad I can possibly be. Most of what I learn is by trial and error. Maybe more error than trial.

My grandfather once told me that the smart guy learns by watching others. This may be due to the fact that I don’t believe I could possibly live long enough to make all those mistakes all by myself.

The following is a collection of things that I believe every father needs to say to his children. (in no particular order….)

I Love You
Your kids need to hear this. A lot! Your children should hear this from you at least once a day. I have known so many people who never heard this from their father, but have been told by someone else, “Oh, you know he loves you”. Or the dad may say that his children know he loves them and that he doesn’t need to say it to them. Why take the chance? Why leave any room for doubt? Why leave it up to some other well-meaning person to try to make your children feel better by saying it for you?
Your children should never be in a position to be asking themselves, “What does my Dad think of me?”
You know, if you remove just one word from that question, you get an even better one. “Does my dad think of me?” They need to know that, too!

Dad, if you haven’t told your children that you love them today, or if you haven’t said that to your Dad yet today, then go tell them. Right now. Seriously. Go. Tell them. We’ll wait for you…….

Okay. Are you back? Did you tell them? Good. Now don’t you feel better? I thought you might.

I Am Sorry
Are you too proud to admit when you are wrong or have made a mistake? Then shame on you. If you messed up, your children will NOT think less of you if you go to them and tell them you are sorry. I cannot tell you how many times I have gone to my kids, gotten down on my knees, and asked them to forgive me. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have responded that way, I was wrong. Please forgive me.”
This is huge Dad. This is one of those things your children will remember forever. They will also remember HOW you tell them. If you are standing above them, looking down at your child with your arms crossed and sternly say “I’m sorry”, then you have wasted your time and perhaps done more harm to the situation. Instead, get down on their level. Get down so you can see them eye to eye. And tell them, in a soft and sincere tone, that you are truly sorry and ask them to forgive you.

I Believe in You
This also goes along with saying I Am Proud Of You. Dad, your son needs to hear this from you, even more so than your daughter does. Both sons and daughters need to know that they are important to you. They need to see it in your actions as well as hear the words from you.
My father often told me he was proud of me. I don’t remember ever hearing those words from my step-father, even though he is the guy who raised me since I was eight years old. In little league, I was the pitcher, I lettered in wrestling and cross-country in high school, I earned two black belts in two different martial arts styles, I earned two college degrees, and passed all the exams for my professional registration. I rarely saw or heard from my father, but when I did, he would tell me he loves me and that he was proud of me. I didn’t understand why, since he wasn’t the guy who raised me or taught me how to do things like build a camp-fire or how to catch a fish, etc. But the guy who did raise me? All I heard from him was “Nice job. I’m surprised. I didn’t think you would actually make it”.
My father, the guy who left me when I was six, often told me “I believe in you. You are my son, and you can accomplish anything. You can do it and I am proud of you. I love you, son.”
Now, who do you think I am remembering today?

On November 18, 1997, my father passed away at the age of 59. They say he had a bad heart. I’m not so sure about that. I miss him.

This is the only picture I could find of me and my dad.

You Are Lovely
Dad, your daughter needs to hear this from you. More than just once in a while. I know of too many girls who are starving for some kind of affirmation from their Dad. I don’t want to go into too much detail here, but Dad, if you aren’t the one who is telling your daughter that she is pretty, that she is lovely, that she is important, that she is loved and highly respected, then she is going to find it from someone else. I really don’t need (or want) to elaborate on this one. Use your imagination. Think about it. If you don’t like what you see, then change it. You have that power.

That, my friends, is also about the Power of Dad.
By the time our children become teenagers, they want to be free to do the things that they want to do. And the parents want to be able to have some sort of control.
Dad, would you like to be able to control your kids? Be honest. Even if you won’t admit it, I know that you do. It’s a guy thing.

Then use your Power of Dad wisely. Do those things you just read and start now!
Start now while they are young and they will remember those little things as they grow up. You cannot make you children love you or respect you, but you can give them good reason.

You should also know that this Power of Dad can also be damaging if used for selfish reasons in an effort to manipulate your children or try to make them feel guilty. I’ve seen a lot of that too.

It really burns me up when I hear teenagers say things like “My dad is such a jerk!” And then these same kids will bust their butts to try to earn his respect and make him love them. That man has abused his Power of Dad.

So, what kind of Dad are you? How are you using your power?

He who fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge. Proverbs 14:26

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

He's Coming Home.....

My son Josh is on his way home.


In March, he loaded up his car and headed out for California to surprise his little sister and spend a week with her while she was on Spring Break. She's 12.

He said he'd be back in two weeks.

While he was there, his car was stolen.
Right after I bought him a plane ticket to come home, the police found his car.

Through a series of bad decisions and mere stupidity (his words), he found himself broke with no way to afford the drive home. His myspace page shows all the evidence of a Prodigal Son and some of the poor decisions he made while there.

Naturally there is much more to the story, but the end of it is that he and his best buddy are coming here in his friend's car. His buddy will be staying with us this summer.
I know the kid's parents and spoke to his mom and everything is all set. They are sharing the driving in his friend's car since Josh had to sell his car in order to afford the trip home.
Please pray they have a safe and uneventful trip.

Josh and me when he was only 8 days old.

Josh, at 3.

Josh, at 20.

He will not receive a lecture or be otherwise chastized for his behavior in California. Like the father in the Prodigal son story in the Bible, I am just happy my son is finally coming home. (He's been gone for over two months).

And, just like that kid from the bible story.......he'll be walking.

But I'm still going to throw him a party.

We don't have a fatted calf, so I'll probably just get him a cake.


Monday, June 09, 2008

Because I Said So………

Yeah, that’s what I said, because I couldn’t think of anything else to say.

Well, actually, that isn’t entirely true. I could think of plenty more things to say, but I didn’t feel like getting into a long drawn out discussion, or argument, about someone else’s undependable or irresponsible behavior.

So when I said no and she asked if she could ask why, I said that she could most certainly ask. So she asked why. And I said,

“Because I said so”.

I hoped that would be good enough for now, and surprisingly, it was. So she left.

My 20 year old step-daughter likes to take my dog with her to Ohio to visit her boyfriend (the step-daughter’s boyfriend, not the dog’s). I do not like this idea. I don’t like the idea of my step-daughter going there, since they live like a married couple (when they are not married), so I don’t like her taking the dog there either.

She knows how I feel about the whole thing, but does not seem to care.

This is my dog. The cute little Shiba Inu.

Ain’t she purty?

Last month, I tried to see past all that and be the “nice guy” and let her take my dog to Ohio. She promised to have her back that Friday night. She even begged me to let her take her and swore that she’d be home by that Friday night.
So I caved and said okay.

It was raining pretty hard that night and she called with a sob story about how she couldn't make it home that night but promised she’d have the dog home the next morning. I tried to be “nice”, and said okay.

The next morning came and we got a call and someone had to go to the mall where my step-daughter works and get the dog since she “suddenly remembered” that she had to work that day and didn’t have time to bring the dog home. I told her mother (my wife) that this is unacceptable and will not happen again.

This is not the first time she’s not kept her promise and proved herself to be undependable and unreliable. I just simply cannot trust her to keep her word.
This sort of thing happens way too often.

So this time I said, “No”.

(Even though the thunderstorm she'd be driving into this time, to go there, is twice as bad as when she couldn't bring her home last time).

I don’t think she’s figured out exactly why, but she seemed to know enough by now not to push it.

The Bible tells us to train up a child in the way they should go, and when they are old, they will not part from it. Apparently, no one trained up this child in the way she should go. They did however, train her up in the way she is going.

Parents beware, you are training up your children in the way they are going to go. Whether you like it or not. I understand there are some exceptions to this, but we’re not talking about those right now.

If your child isn’t going the way you believe you’ve trained him up, please don’t give up hope. My older brother went so far in the opposite direction that everyone had all but given up on him. No one expected him to live to see his 30th birthday. Even him.

But then, when he was 32, he found Jesus. Or maybe Jesus found him?
All I know is that at 3AM one morning, in the Spring of 1989, my phone rang and I heard my brother screaming with shouts of joy that he accepted Jesus into his heart and wanted me to be the first to know.

He was trained up in the way he should go, by the same parents, in the same household as me, and when he got older, he came back to it. He’s 50 now, and still going strong for the Lord.

So, I still have hope for my step-daughter.
Do I trust her? No.
Do I love her? Yes. Yes, I do. As if she were my own.
Do I pray for her? You bet your sweet bippy! Every day.

By the grace of God, she’ll come back to Him.

But in the meantime, my puppy will stay home with me.


Monday, June 02, 2008


A new supermarket opened near my house.

It has an automatic water mister to keep the produce fresh.
Just before it goes on, you hear the sound of distant thunder and you can smell fresh rain.

When you pass the milk cases, you hear cows mooing and you experience the scent of fresh mown hay.

In the meat department there is the aroma of charcoal grilled steaks with onions.

When you a approach the egg case, you hear hens cluck and cackle, and the air is filled with the pleasing aroma of bacon and eggs frying.

The bread department features the tantalizing smell of fresh baked bread & cookies.

I don't buy toilet paper there anymore...........