Archive for the ‘Father’ Category

A Letter to My Daughters

February 8, 2011

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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


Model Making Memories

December 3, 2009

Studies show that if you have eyewitnesses to the same event, the details they recall will be different, even when asked shortly after the event. And, of course the longer between event and recollection, distortion between reality and perception grows even greater. Wikipedia made this statement on the reliability of eyewitness testimony, Eyewitness identification evidence is the leading cause of wrongful conviction in the United States. ” As a dad, I’m smack dab in the middle of seeing as much of my parenting in the rear-view mirror as I see through the windshield. As my kids get older I’m beginning to get my dad “grade” via conversations with them that usually begin, “I remember when”. I’m living out the truth that what I said and did may not be exactly what they experienced. Take making models with my son.

During Thanksgiving break from college, my soon-to-graduate son and I recalled the times when we worked on model cars together. My recollection was of us working on them together.  A real “bonding” time ;).  He recalled that he watched while I worked frusratingly trying to unglue my fingers from each other with those microscopic pieces of plastic. Same event-completely different recollections. I was never a big model car guy but thought it would be something a dad and son could do together. Wanting to be in control and allowing your children to gain tangible experiences are natural enemies of each other.  It requires an intentional effort on behalf of the dad to combat. In his 21yr old memory, that experience did not have the bonding impact I had really desired. If I had known then what I know now…

I’m thankful my son and I have a relationship where he can be honest with me in sharing his thoughts and feelings without it impacting our closeness.

Are there things that you are engaging in with your kids that you need to let go of? I mean that you need to let them experience without there being a right or wrong, succeed or fail outcome? Certainly there are things where right needs to be distinguished from wrong and we need to steer our kids out of traps.  But when it comes to helping them develop their skills, abilities and interests I think it’s more important that they do more of the work while we encourage, guide and cheer them on. If I had done that we may have had a model car with a steering wheel in the wrong place on the model car, but he may have developed an interest or aptitude in something he’d be refining today.

WHAT SAY U?? Share an experience where you were stifled or encouraged in something that had a lingering impact on you. Or, share something you are doing today to come alongside your child to foster a deeper relationship without regard to the activity itself.

The Next Sherwood Movie is Announced…and it is

November 15, 2009


In my Partnership director role at FamilyLife, I (Jeff) have had the privilege of working closely with the team that created, directed, produced and promoted the movie, Fireproof.  The integrity of the Hendrick brothers (Stephen and Alex; writers, directors and producers of the movie and pastors from Sherwood Baptist church in Albany, GA), the heart of the movie division that promoted and distributed the movie, Provident Films, and the zeal that everyone involved from the PR firm to the marketing promotion organizations and volunteer action squads displayed made this a wonderful experience.  So, I waited with great anticipation to hear the announcement of the “fourth-coming” movie from this team to be made this evening.

Announce_Alex_Kendrick_by_Hayley_CattI just received an email and PR release announcing that the fourth movie from Sherwood Pictures is goingAnnounce_Stephen_Kendrick_by_Hayley_Catt to be called, Courageous.  Why is this a DadPad worthy announcement?  The movie is going to be about fatherhood.  Here’s part of the press release I received from Lovell-Fairchild communications:

“The movie is about fatherhood and the title is one word: COURAGEOUS,” Alex Kendrick said, briefly outlining the plot.  “Four fathers who are all in law enforcement—who protect and serve together—go through a terrible tragedy,” he said. “They begin looking at their role as fathers . . . and they begin challenging one another to fulfill God’s intention for fathers.”

That single-word title, Pastor Catt said, echoes God’s call for men to “rise with courage” in their homes and as leaders.  This at a time when 4 of 10 marriages end in divorce* and more than a third of all children live away from their biological fathers.

“The statistics on fatherless children are devastating,” McBride said. “And because the family is the building block of society, one important place to rebuild families is through fathers who stay and lead and love.”

“God led us,” co-writer and producer Stephen Kendrick said to the audience of church members, many of them volunteer crew, cast, or catering in earlier Sherwood movies.  “We believe God is calling men to rise up with strength and with leadership in their homes, with their families and with their children.”

You can see why DadPad is excited about Courageous!  One of our desires with this blog is to get men engaged with their role as fathers.  I have no idea what this movie will turn out to be like but if the progression of quality and content continues as it has from Flywheel to Facing The Giants to Fireproof, I can only imagine that it will be a compelling story that will leave us thinking and being impacted as dads.

Begin to pray NOW for the writing, production, and filming of this movie (which begins in March 2010).  I know that Stephen and Alex Kendrick, Sherwood Baptist and Provident Films would invite your prayers for every aspect of this movie and, ultimately, that it might address and impact the plight of fathering in our culture.  Go get ’em Sherwood!!

Father’s Day Memories-a series Pt 3: Lollipop Dad

June 16, 2009

“What would you like for Father’s Day, Dad?”


“Oh…an all-day sucker.”


“Ah, come on, Dad. Isn’t there something you really want?”


“An all-day sucker.”


learysdadEvery year as far back as I can remember my dad would give my sisters and me the same response. We surmised that he wasn’t really a fan of lollipops, or “all-day suckers” as he would call them. I don’t think we ever saw him eat one.  Instead, we reasoned, it was his way of deflecting us from knowing what he might really want for Father’s Day. We confirmed our theory one year by giving him a huge “all-day sucker” only to see him set it aside with a polite “thank you.”  To this day, I’m not sure if he even ate it.


Like many men from his generation, he was taught to be strong by being the silent type. There’s much I don’t know about my father.  We lived in the same home, though physical proximity is not the same as intimacy. His inner world was a fortress that none could penetrate.  And when he finally surrendered that fortress to the grave, he took with him the hope of a son to know first-hand his father’s accomplishments, aspirations, disappointments and beliefs.


Why is it that we often don’t know the questions to ask when the opportunity is best?  I didn’t have much interest in exploring my father’s inner world when I was young.  But, as the years went by, I felt my longing increase.  Like the tension on a kite string, it grew as it was let out.  Eventually, the pull became so great, its presence could no longer be ignored.


That string broke on April 19, 2000.  In the days that would follow, as distant relatives came to pay their last respects, I would learn more of the man who wanted only an all-day sucker. Stories of his sacrifices as a soldier and as a provider to his extended family warmed me.  There was much more to this man than I will ever know.  Embarrassing things, I’m sure.  But also things that would have made me proud.  Yet, only God knows them all. Through my extended family, God gave me the glimpses of my father’s life story that I needed to lay him to rest in the earth—and in my heart.

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Proverbial Envy

May 21, 2009

Thomas Aquinas, the 13th century theologian, described envy as “sorrow at another’s good.”  Recently my friend and fellow DadPad blogger, Roger Thompson, stirred up a kind of envy in me I hadn’t realized I possessed.  A proverbial envy.



How’s Your Tread?

April 19, 2009

tire-with-air-valveTires are kind of like the “Rodney Dangerfield’s” of the car. Of course the engine gets attention. Incredible sound systems enhance the ride. Plush interiors or talking GPS units are attractive extras. Except for the monster tires that are four times larger than needed for the trucks they are on, tires are mostly ignored. Yet, without them you won’t go far. And, the most important maintenance tip you need to follow to get the maximum life and effectiveness out of them is making sure they are properly inflated. That’s it. What goes into the tire is what makes it most effective.

Tires are like dads. Sometimes our society forgets how important dads are. Heck, if it wasn’t for writing this blog regularly, I am sure I wouldn’t think about my role as a dad nearly enough. I forget until my kids start displaying conduct that reflects being neglected or they simply start living as though I’m not there. Just like a tire that has been neglected affects the ride of the car, the family begins to feel the impact of a dad who hasn’t been “maintained” well. (more…)

Timing (and place) Is Everything

March 30, 2009

I picked my daughter, Amy, up from school one day last week and stopped off at Chick-fil-a. We were both hungry, but I also had a couple issues I wanted to discuss.

She was a little surprised by my questions, but our discussion went very well. As we were wrapping up, she asked me if our talk was the reason we’d stopped for something to eat. I said it was and thanked her for not being defensive. (more…)

Playing to Your Strengths

February 27, 2009

scan00202I played quarterback in high school. Our best pass play was a draw if that gives you any indication as to what kind of a passer I was. Unfortunately, I never really learned to throw well until after I graduated.

I was good at managing the game though. I focused on the basics, made few mistakes and carried out my assignments. After one particular game, I was given the award for outstanding offensive player of the game and I don’t remember throwing a single pass. I was just good at playing to my strengths.

When it comes to being a dad, there are some things I’m good at and others, like being able to throw deep, I’m not so good at, so I’ve chosen to play to my strengths. For example, (more…)

The Greatest Words I Never Heard

February 25, 2009

Reba McEntire, before she began her sitcom acting career, sang some of the saddest and most touching ballads of loneliness and longing. She has that evocative catch in her voice, and she tells picturesque, but believable stories in these sad songs. But, none of them has stayed with me like this one, which expresses a child’s desire for a father’s love and attention:


Dad…Don’t say it!

January 31, 2009

The door between our garage and mud room opened.  Our daughter was home. My wife and I were planted on the sofa when the door opened. But, this was not a typical return home. “I had an accident” were the words she blurted out in rapid fire succession accompanied by high volume and many tears. I’m not always quick on the uptake but I did dad_daughter_hug_smallthat it wasn’t likely a serious accident since she had not been escorted into our home by an officer.

The words began to form over my tongue. They quickly spilled forward into the cavity of my mouth and were being arranged for a volcanic spewing. “AN ACCIDENT”…”WHY CAN’T YOU BE MORE CAREFUL”…”YOU WON’T BE DRIVING UNTIL YOU’RE 25”. They were forming easily and furiously. Then, a wonder of God took place. The Spirit of the Lord gave me a peace and nearly audible instruction to wait before speaking. James 1:19-20 flooded my mind and I became “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” (more…)