Archive for August, 2010

Tears of a Warrior

August 23, 2010

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It’s the rainy season. It may look warm and dry where you are, but take a closer look at the faces of parents with college-aged children and you’ll see what I mean. Tears by the bucketful are being shed as parents all across the country entrust their students to less hospitable institutions of higher learning. Mingled in the parential downpour of tears are my own and those of my wife, Anna. Having just returned from releasing our third child into remote collegiate settings, we know the rainy season well: the goodbye embraces, the contemplative silence on the journey home, the sense of sudden disconnection, and the what-if worries for their future. Empty place settings at dinner, vacant rooms and unfamiliar family dynamics are daily reminders that it is a rainy season and not just a storm.

This rainy season is a powerful force of transformation for parents and students alike. For them, it brings new friends, new learnings and new opportunities to hone their mettle. For us parents, this season is a reminder that children are our arrows. Psalm 127:4 says, “Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth.” (NIV) Like a warrior, we are meant to powerfully release them into the world and not hold them selfishly in our quiver — even if it means wading through our own torrent of tears to do it.

Your thoughts? What are ways you’ve found to powerfully release your student?

This post was originally posted as a Thought for the Day on Leary’s personal blog.

Father not Fat-ter

August 10, 2010

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I ran across another dad who recently lost 50 lbs and commented on a blog post that I wrote about why it’s important for dads to take care of themselves physically (see my post, The Weight of a Father).  He found that post and shared with me how he had lost 50 lbs (way to go!!) and was beginning a Father’s Day challenge to see if Dad’s from around the globe could collectively drop 1,000,000 pounds by Father’s Day 2011.  That’s a big goal.  Let’s see, that’s 2,739 lbs per day for the year.  So, if there are 20,000 dads who need to lose 50 lbs or 40,000 who need to lose 25 lbs, the goal can be reached.  So, what about you, dad?  Here’s the link to his site if you feel like dropping a little tonage in 2011.  Never a better time than right now!  I’ve got about 25 to lose so I’m in.

The One Million Pound Fathers Challenge

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Being a “Rad Dad”

August 9, 2010

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I remember the first time my kids got into “social media”.  My son asked about something called Xanga.  It was like My Space and Facebook before they became popular.  It was my first entry into this new thing called “social media”.  I didn’t have a clue what it was but it began a journey for me to investigate so that I could enter into meaningful discussions with them about if and how they could use or embrace these new apps.

One day, I sat down with my daughter to look at her iTunes list just to see what kind of music she was listening to.  The purpose of my questions were not just to “check up” on her but also to enter her world.  It’s a lot easier to have discussions about what your kids are doing, music tastes, social media involvement, etc., when you have a little understanding of what they like, don’t like, listen to, and update or read on the internet.  This concept extends to more than online or music camaraderie.

If I were to ask you the following questions over coffee at Starbucks or Caribou (my personal favorite), would you be able to answer them?

  • What kind of music do your kids listen to?  Who’s their favorite artist?
  • What sports do they LIKE to play (not which ten do you have them involved in)?
  • What’s their favorite color?
  • Which subject in school do they feel really excited about when they are in class and which ones make them feel inadequate or do they struggle in?
  • If they could travel to any country in the world, where would they go?  Why?
  • Who are their favorite friends?  Which friends show interest in them?
  • What’s their favorite food?  Do they like to try new foods?
  • When do they feel most loved?

There are hundreds of these seemingly innocuous questions you could think of that would be a great date night tool to help you get to know your kids and the world they live in.  There are a lot of traps out there that our kids can easily get lured into that could harm them.  But, if we don’t take the time to get to know them for who God made them to be, our concerns and admonitions often are heard as “blah blah blah”.  So, my encouragement to you, dad, is to be “rad”.  Get to know the things that are happening and even startle your child by asking them if they’ve heard the latest _________ (you fill in the musical group or artist) and use it as a time of bonding and learning.  They might even think it’s “cool (a 70’s term that is gonna make a comeback–just you wait) that you know an artist that THEY like.  Then, you have a platform of beginning to teach and enlighten them if they are involved in things that might be harmful or even dangerous.  Teaching times are born out of a life that is focused on the child first and then their actions.

Dad Idea:  Write down a list of questions (similar to the ones above) and have them with you as you spend some devoted time with your son or daughter (by the way, this is a great thing to do with an adult child too–the nature of your questions might change but never too late to invest your time and attention on them and their lives).