DADPAD HAS MOVED

September 4, 2011 by

DadPad has moved to it’s new location…a self hosted wordpress.org location. Please find all new DADPAD posts, subscribe to our email and RSS feeds over at:

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Thank you for being a DadPad reader! GAME ON :)

Happy Father’s Day in Your New Home!

June 18, 2011 by

Originally titled, “Virtue in Simplicity; Strength with Humor.  We’ll miss you Dad”

(This “tribute” was started after my father in law died in November. I had written much of it but just hadn’t finished. I thought with Fathers Day coming up, I would finish it and post it as a tribute to him for our first Father’s Day without him. So, to my biological dad, I want you to know that I love you and by no means want to diminish the impact you’ve had on my life but I hope you understand if I share this tribute on behalf of my “other” dad this Father’s Day)

Those words in the title are ways I would describe my father in-law, Jerry Carlson who died this past Monday morning (November 29), exactly 1 year after his bride of 58 years also left this Terra firma to be with our Lord.  One of Webster’s definitions of virtue is, “conformity of one’s life and conduct to moral and ethical principles; uprightness; rectitude.”  If that doesn’t befit my father in-law, nothing else does.  He was a man of principles, ethical, upright and a man of moral conduct.  But he was also fun with a great (and very dry) sense of humor.

Jerry crunching through a crossword puzzle in Florida

I’m sure there have been some who’ve felt intimidated by this 6’3″ stoic man.  But, as long as I’ve known him, intimidation wasn’t something he promoted but simply emitted.  His stern look, tall stature and firm responses elicited a sort of intimidation.  Yet beneath the seeming gruff exterior was a man who cared.  He cared about his family.  He cared about his friends.  He cared about his work.  And, he cared about his God…our God.  That was evident from the time I first met him as I began to date his fourth eldest child, third eldest daughter.

He was a leader.  I suppose even I was a little intimidated the first time I met him.  I don’t intimidate easily.  Not because I’m anything of note myself but because I learned early in life that if I could have a relationship with the God of the Universe, all else was easily accessible.  Yet, it’s always a little tense when it comes to a young man meeting the father of his newfound love interest.  So it was when I met Jerry.  But that quickly dissipated as I began to establish a relationship with him that would continue to elicit my increasing admiration, love, and respect as the years went by.

In some ways, he was the father I never had.  This is not meant to bring any disrespect or reduce the effect of my own father’s impact on my life.  But, as the child of a divorced family from an early age, I never truly experienced a family dynamic as designed by God.  Unfortunately, given the state of marriage in our culture I am in the company of too many who’ve experienced similar or worse situations.  Jerry and Peg Carlson provided that place where function met design.  Of course they weren’t perfect.  I wasn’t looking for perfect.  I was looking for intentional.  I needed (without recognizing that need) to find a family that would provide a solid foundation for the building of my own family.  They provided that.  They loved God and they loved their family.  And, they invited me in as if I was one of their own.  I’ll always feel that honor no matter how old I get.  I was one of their’s.  In some way, it was a clear picture to me of how I could be grafted into God’s family through Jesus Christ.

Jerry introduced me to activities that I had never known before.  He was an outdoorsman.  Not Daniel Boone-like.  But, he enjoyed outdoor activities.  Sue has told me stories of their camping trips across the country in those faux-wood sided station wagons that once populated our highways and bi-ways.  I fished in my first Minnesota fishing opener with Jerry and his sons and friends.  I loved it.  I was never much of a fisherman and there were many times that I think he slyly tested my mettle during the early years of these events.  He positioned me in the front of the boat as the “anchor man” during my early fishing openers.  Though I can’t prove it I wonder if he wasn’t snickering as he watched me stand at the bow of the boat as the wind whipped up the waves on a cold Minnesota spring day.  I mean, how hard can it be to toss an anchor into a lake?  Well, if you don’t know how deep it is or how to properly set the anchor, it can be challenging.  Especially as you try to keep your balance while the water laps up high over the bow, down your waders and into your clothing.  I’m sure he laughed.  He had a good sense of humor.  And, I truly didn’t mind because I felt like I was part of the family.  I didn’t mind getting the holey waders the first few years of our fishing trips.   Or, getting into the lake with them to put the dock out into the nearly frozen spring lake or at the end of the summer in preparation for another cabin closing for the season.  Frozen feet or wet pants were just a part of the initiation into this great family.  And it was worth it.  Every memory.  I just hope I did well by Jerry.  I think I did.

Though he and his son annually emulated Elmer B. Fudd going after Bugs Bunny (with more success and going after ducks and pheasants — not rabbits), I only went out with them once into a pheasant farm field.  Even then, I seldom shot the gun.  Never mastered the art of the shot.  Yet, I could certainly see how time in the field with these men would have been a wonderful experience. And, in retrospect, I wish I had gone with them at least once on their duck hunting excursions.

As much as he introduced me to adventures I had previously ignored, we shared some common loves of life.  We both loved to golf, watch (and loathe our local NFL team) the Minnesota Vikings, watch college hockey (but cheered for rival teams – I am a MN Gopher fan and alumni and he a ND Sioux fan and alumni) and, of course my wife—his daughter.  He was as cynical a fan as I was and am.  So, our discussions about the Vikings, Twins and other MN sports teams would quickly denigrate into complaining about the team and its performance.  In the scheme of life it’s not a big deal but I wish the Vikings could have given him one Super Bowl victory before he departed (just like a lot of Cubbie fans over the years).

I’ll always have the image of Jerry standing over his golf ball and taking that unique swing of his that almost always defeated me when we played head to head.  It was just fun playing golf with him.  I will miss that a lot.  And, I will miss playing with Peggy too.  She always made me feel like I was Jack Nicklaus when she talked about a shot that I hit that she “couldn’t believe”.  There were a lot of forgettable shots but not many that were memorable but she was able to make you feel like a golf king.  Jerry also crowed to the clubhouse gang about memorable shots his family hit during a round.

He loved crosswords and Sudoku. The image of him sitting with his right leg crossed over his left knee to form a lap table as he worked on the daily crossword puzzle is etched in my head.

Jerry loved his family.  He never said much but his actions and reactions showed how proud he was of his children, his “grafted in” children and his grandchildren.  Mostly, he loved his wife.  I think that when all is said and done and the mountain of memories stand tall, the one thing that will stand out to me when someone asks me what I thought about my father in-law, I will say “He adored his wife and loved and led his family well”.  His strong, silent leadership was evident but it was the way that he interacted and choreographed the dialog with his wife of 58 years that still touches my heart as I think about it today.  They made each other laugh….sometimes to the point of pain.  They chided and cajoled, scolded and corrected each other and always in fun or respectfully. Jerry always seemed to light up around his wife. When she went home to be withe The Lord, much of him went with her. They were truly a couple that was made “one” in Christ through marriage. I miss them and I miss those times.

So, as I close out this written tribute my memories remain and bring much joy as I remember my “other” father this Fathers day, that won’t be the same without him.

Your loving son-in-law

When Social Media, Politics and Morality Collide–What Do You Say?

June 14, 2011 by

To use a phrase a friend of mine used all the time in high school (and apologies to cat-lovers), “you can’t swing a dead cat without” hearing about the latest development in the Anthony Weiner Twitter scandal.

“I told you that social media stuff is the bane of our society”

“There isn’t a good politician out there–they are all corrupt”

You may not have heard these exact phrases but there are sentiments of each of them in every news story, blog post or twitter message being sent about this story.  On the DadPad, we typically discuss issues related to being a dad so why address THIS issue.  As I sat and thought about what’s happening and since I’m a social media consultant, there are a number of angles to write and comment about when it comes to these kind of stories.  But what do I do with them as a father?  Seems to me that these are GREAT places to engage in discussions about a lot of things with our kids, using age appropriate terms and detail.

So, is the real evil the social media tool?  Is Twitter to blame?  Church leadership has “banned” Facebook use for some of its leaders to remove the temptation for flirtation or more explicitly deviant uses.  I applaud men with weakness to “run” from the temptation in their lives, no matter the form or vehicle of delivery.  But, is the answer simply to blame the tool and pretend it doesn’t exist without regard to the user?  Here’s the truth..social media is here to stay.  We better learn how to use it for good and not just ignore it like it didn’t exist.

And, we certainly have heard about politicians who’ve abused their status and power for sex, money and position.  So, do we simply blame Anthony Weiner for being a politician as if had he been a plumber or accountant, this wouldn’t have happened?  The issue is much less about his role as a politician than that he is a human being.  This doesn’t excuse his behavior but, instead, lays the problem squarely on his shoulders as someone who made a very poor decision, or series of them.  Isn’t that usually the case with these situations?   The media and public sentiment can do all they can to find out the ramifications of being a politician and the temptations that they or athletes or actors face because of their position, but in the end, it’s all about poor judgement…poor choices.

The truth is that the heart of the problem always lies in one place…the heart of the man (or woman).  This is a great chance to discuss issues of morality with your kids.  We live in a culture that is constantly trying to place blame everywhere but where it belongs…with the person who committed the act of indecency, immorality or illegality.  Certainly access to tools that allow us as sinful men and women to more easily carry out inward thoughts and turn them into external actions have played a part in more widespread distasteful acts by humans at large.  But are the tools to BLAME?  Without going into a longer post about this, I can, with confidence state, “No”.  The problem isn’t the tool.  It’s the tool holder.  If I put a hole in the wrong wall with a hammer, is the hammer to blame?  Maybe I should have held the architectural drawings right-side up.  This is all good fodder for a discussion with your children–especially a generation that is growing up native to the use of texting, Twitter, Facebook and other forms of online networking.  And, they are growing continually wary of politicians, musicians, actors and athletes who abuse their position for personal gain, as if they were above the law.  But, is it their position that is to BLAME?  Again, I don’t think so.  Because of their notoriety, they are more subject to commit these acts than you or I might be.  Yet, if we simply place the blame on their fame, we completely miss the mark.

Ultimately, the discussion needs to rest on the truth that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Only God provides the ability for us to uphold an objective measure of morality.  We can place blame on tools, roles and circumstances, but ultimately decisions to act upon fleshly urges rests within the heart and soul of each one that has the urge…do I act on it or subject my thoughts and feelings to One who can help me overcome them and make wise decisions.

Don’t avoid the news, online technology or pursuit of careers because they are subject to being misused or abused.  Rather, lead discussions in your family about what taking personal ownership of decisions looks like.  Bring up why these kind of stories are thought of as   “newsworthy” (though we could discuss the over reporting of sensational stories for ratings, we won’t here :).  When you hear or see life happening around you and someone chooses poorly, don’t ignore or shut off immediately…engage and use them to point to right choices and right responses so that your children learn that they can live in the world but don’t have to succumb to its temptations.

How do you handle these stories in your home?

When Does a Rut Become a Grave?

May 7, 2011 by

20110507-093824.jpg

I heard a pastor one time make this comment about the difference between a rut and a grave-”a rut is just a grave with the ends knocked out”. One day you look up from the daily fray of life and realize that you’ve spent years being someone you wished you weren’t. You ask yourself “how did I let this happen” and begin to believe that it “will never change”. Those are the words of death to the soul. Without hope that things can be different, despite what has happened, a rut becomes a grave. However, you don’t have to continue to believe the lies.

I have made this observation – as good as it is to plan, no master plan will ever be carried out exactly as developed. Look back at the last year of your life. Is there ANYTHING that happened that wouldn’t have been or wasn’t on YOUR master plan for the year? Undoubtedly the answer is a resounding “YES”!

As my wife and I look back one year ago, we didn’t know our son would be getting married this summer or that my wife’s father would die exactly one year after her mother died. Though I had begun to map out a course of leaving a large international ministry as a full-time missionary, I didn’t know exactly how that would look and certainly wouldn’t have concluded it would look like it does today. Now, before all of you task masters and list makers hyperventilate, I’m not saying its bad to plan. I am saying you need to hold your plans loosely and that if you’re at a point in life where you feel it will not get better, you don’t know what tomorrow will bring since you probably didn’t plan on being where you are at today.

This applies to all facets of life but, as a dad, it’s a critical truth to ponder. No matter where you find yourself in relationship with your children, you can start today to change that legacy. Don’t let the rut of not having spent as much time as you wished you had with your kids, going to more of their events, spending one-on-one time with them, not telling them you loved them and how proud you are of them, etc. keep you from being the dad you’re children need TODAY. It’s not too late. Don’t let the rut of not having been the dad you wished you had been keep you from being the dad you can be NOW. Age or time is not a factor. Forgiveness and reconciliation may be necessary to heal real wounds. Don’t die in your rut of fatherhood. Rise up and let this year be the year you filled in the rut of your life as a man and dad, and purpose to let God bring you hope and joy.

Here are some things that I’ve done that have helped me rise above the rut and fill in the trench of my life so I could begin or regain hope in my life.

1. Don’t believe the lie that it can’t get better. Begin to pray and ask God to heal your heart and to give you hope. It’s why he sent Jesus – his life, death and resurrection showed that sin and death were defeated so we would no longer be a slave to either. You have to start with hope that God can and desires to give you freedom from your sin and despairs.

2. Find a trusted friend that you can meet with to share the hurts you’ve experienced or even perpetrated as a man and/or father. Isolation is the enemy to hope and growth.

3. Find some great resources about being the man and father that you were created to be. Organizations like FamilyLife and Focus on the Family as well as All Pro Dad and Men’s Fraternity have some great books, group studies and other articles, podcasts, etc., that can help you develop and take the courageous next steps

4. Do something! Take one of the steps mentioned above or do something like… Call your child/children. Take them out. Text them. Send them a video message. Write them an old-fashioned hand written letter or card telling them you are thinking about them. But don’t just sit there. Maybe you have a very damaged relationship that will need a lot of time to heal. But, you can and should make the first overture as a dad to begin the healing process (this doesn’t take into account some legal or other significant barriers that may exist in some circumstances). The hardest step to take is the first one.

There is hope for every one of us. That hope is that we are made for a purpose and we were given the responsibility to pass on a Godly and positive legacy to our children. You may not have started well but YOU CAN finish well.  Hope is the dirt.  Get help in filling your rut.  Don’t let your rut become a grave.

March 29, 2011 by

Late in the day and Late in the week is best time for retweeting #timesci

The Reverse Hit-n-Run

February 21, 2011 by

Here’s a funny little interaction between a father and son:

Dad: Didn’t you promise to behave while I was gone?

Son: Yes, Sir.

Dad: And didn’t I promise to discipline you if you didn’t?

Son: Yes, Sir, but since I broke my promise, I don’t expect you to 
keep yours.

Read the rest of this entry »

You Da Man by Dennis Rainey

February 9, 2011 by

Really liked Dennis Rainey’s devotion today from Moments With You devotional.  Debunks the fallacy that a strong man in the home is a threat to the wife/mom but rather correctly states that a man who leads his home spiritually, physically and courageously is a blessing to the health and viability of the family and its’ legacy.

You Da Man   (excerpt from Dennis Rainey/Moments With You)

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4

Dennis Rainey

After speaking at a Promise Keepers event in Houston, I was met by a television crew offstage. The interviewer baited me by mentioning a group of women picketing the event and what they perceived as men being encouraged to take advantage of women.

In reality, the demonstration was pretty minor—a couple dozen women outside the Astrodome while 40,000 men stood inside worshiping the Lord. Still, I looked the camera in its little glass eye and said, “You know, it baffles me how any woman could criticize an organization that’s calling men to be responsible fathers and husbands.”

I added, as an example, “Up front, just to the left of where I was speaking a moment ago, there were more than 30 prisoners dressed in white. They had been given a day’s pass so that they could come to the entire session today. If you went up to interview them right now, you would find that most of these incarcerated men never had a daddy in their lives.”

READ ENTIRE DEVOTION…

A Letter to My Daughters

February 8, 2011 by

E… and J…

Hopefully, what I’m about to share with you isn’t the first time you recall hearing these things.  And, I know it’s a little weird to see them in the middle of a blog post (you know your weird dad :)).  But, maybe there’s just one dad out there who needs to see a dad express some of these things as  a reminder to share them with his daughter.  Thanks for humoring me, again.

You both know that I thank God daily for giving us (your mom and I) such beautiful girls.  And, you are not simply beautiful externally (which you are) but more importantly, you are becoming more and more beautiful internally.  You’re love for the Lord is becoming more and more evident by the way you serve and love others.  I see a Spirit in you that is helping shape and mold you into the woman God is designing.  It’s what your mother and I have prayed since before you were born, and continue to pray for you each day.

One day there will be a boy, er, young man who sweeps you off your feet.  We’ve watched Father of the Bride so many times that you can almost imagine how I’ll react.  I just pray you don’t have to bail me out of jail for opening bags of hot dog buns in the grocery store.  And, I won’t suggest the Steak Pit for your wedding reception.  Until that day comes, I know that God is continuing to refine you in preparation of that day.  And, He’s refining that young man as well.  I pray that you will let me, as your dad, help you and advise you as you enter into relationships over the coming years.  Not because I don’t think you can make wise choices but because you know that I love you and want the best for you.  And, when it comes to “love”, emotions and feelings often mask reality.  You need someone to help you see how this young man not only treats you in your dating but how he will treat you in marriage.

You are both gifts from God more priceless than anything else He has given your mother and I to raise.  I love you, both, more than you’ll ever know.  Your mom and I are proud of the young women you’re becoming.  We love you and look forward to that day when you announce that you have found the man that you (and we) have been praying for all these years.  Until (and even after) that day, you’re still, my “little” girls.  I love you….Daddy

What will you be known for?

February 7, 2011 by

I can easily be hostage to hyperbole.  “Everyone always…”  “It had to be as big as a plane…”  “That was the worst xxx EVER!”  So, when I say that one of the most powerful testimonies I hear over and over again is the power of a child seeing their parent regularly spending time with God in the Bible and prayer… I don’t want you to hear blah, blah, blah.  Instead, in this case, know that I’m not hyperbolizing (I think I just made up a word :).

When it comes to those who have shared (mostly from the pulpit) one of the most searing memories of their dad, this one is almost always one of them (if it’s a positive memory)—”My dad (or mom) was constantly up in the morning, reading the Word of God and praying”.  That picture of a son or daughter getting up and seeing his dad or mom reading the Bible and spending time in prayer almost ALWAYS has a powerful impact.  I’m guessing that isn’t why mom or dad was doing it.  There’s probably a deeper purpose in spending time in God’s Word and communing with Him.  But, one of the most significant byproducts is the impact it makes on those around you.  There are cases where children see one thing but experience another.  However, if it is a life habit, it nearly always leaves a powerfully positive and lasting legacy in the minds and lives of children.

So, dad, are you cultivating a life of dependence on God?  Do your kids see that in order for you to care for them well, you need to be connected to the source of all help.  Time in the Word and in prayer not only strengthens you for today but reaches into the future to leave a powerful impression and example to your kids!  The good news is that it’s never to late to start.  Even if you’re kids are out of the house they WILL see the impact of a life led by God.  And, there’s always grandkids to teach ;).

250 Toys in 260 Weeks…really?

February 2, 2011 by

I remember one evening getting up in the middle of the evening to go into another room in our house.  Lighting was scarce.  My steps were short and slow.  With small kids you never know what got left on the floor to inflict pain you can’t describe.  And then it happened…a pain shot up my leg as if I had stepped on a scorpion.  But, it wasn’t live.  It was a toy from our favorite fast food restaurant.  I’m sure I let something slip out that wasn’t Christian or family-rated.  Ahhh…I remember those days.

Toys.  Our kids had toys.  More than they ever needed or played with long term.  I wish I had marked each toy with something that indicated how many times they actually got picked up and used.  This morning during a men’s gathering at our church called, The Battle, Tim Lundy illustrated our love for “stuff” by sharing this statistic…by the time our children enter Kindergarten they’ve had, on average, about 250 toys.  When they are 260 weeks old, they have had nearly a toy a week.  Wow.  The sad thing is that many times those toys were only played with by the children, if they were played with at all.  When you add a Dad to the mix, the toy is no longer the central piece of the story.  When Dad is available to make those toys come alive, memories occur.

So, Dad, what if you went home tonight and took one of those old toys (or made something up) and began to draw near to your child?  Can’t you see the smile now?  Have some fun.  Role play.  Card play.  Yell.  Roar.  But don’t let your children live with the memory years from now that the toys in their life created pain—a representation of a substitute for time with dad and a fathers pain of a late night misstep.  Time…not toys.

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