December 10, 2010 by

How the World Googled in 2010


A DadPad Rerun: Nice Hat!

October 21, 2010 by

originally written by Roger Thompson

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Some of the best memories I have of my Dad are the times when we started something with excitement, got half-way in, and then didn’t know whether we could salvage it from disaster. There was that woefully under-powered go-cart we built, named the “Chug,” assembled from a scavenged motor, a plank stolen from the basement shelves, and wheels bought at the hardware store. We were stumped when it came to rigging up the steering mechanism, and the assembly stopped. I was eleven, and an eager helper, but the engineering was way over my head. One night we were seated at dinner when my Dad jumped to his feet, shouted: “I know how we can do it!” and bolted down the basement stairs. I was on his heals, still swallowing my chicken casserole. There, with shafts, axles, and chunks of steel the basic geometry of our steering dilemma was solved. The next day we went to the welder for a few precision bends of the steel spindles, and progress resumed.

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A DadPad Rerun: Father, Forgive them

October 15, 2010 by

by Leary Gates

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I had lunch this week with Dave, a friend of mine and father of three adult children.  The topic of this blog came up so I asked, “What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned as a dad?”  Dave’s answer was profoundly succinct, “Expect less, love more.

As I reflected upon his advice, I remembered Jesus’ prayer on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  (Luke 23:34)  Now that’s expecting less and loving more!

Then it hit me.  When it came to my kids—and many of my other relationships—I bought into another similar sounding message: “expect more, pay less.”  It’s the slogan of Target Corporation and it’s been heavily advertised into my heart.

It’s too easy to expect more of my children, particularly as they grow into young adults.  And I want to pay less too.  I’d like the sacrifices I’ve made as a dad to be paid back or, at least, to cost me less.  The “expect more, pay less” combination applied to relationships, however is lethal. Expectation of others without personal cost is demandingness.  Ironically, it’s a childish attitude.

Show you my tongueWhen my teenagers take off with their friends, leaving chores undone, do I really expect that they would put their parent’s desires above their own?  I say to myself, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”  When they come home later than we wanted to stay up waiting for them, can I admit I did the same at their age? Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. When their forgetfulness means more work for me, can I realistically expect a heartfelt appreciation for the schedule overhaul I just engineered? Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.

And when my Father looks down on my ungrateful, demanding spirit, wanting my way, my agenda, my comfort, in my time, can I hear Him say, “I forgive you, for you know not what you do?”

SOUND OFF:  What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned as a dad?

$%#* My Dad Says: Funny Yes But Innocent Fun?

October 12, 2010 by

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I love social media.  I love the potential it has to connect, inform, extend and expand relationships and influence in business, personal and ministry realms.  In fact, I’ve spent a lot of time reading, watching and learning about it while I help others try to use it for more than sharing their meal habits or doings during the day.  So, it’s not surprising to me that it’s been not only in the news but it’s currently in the forefront of our entertainment.  Social Networking, the movie about Mark Zuckerberg’s journey with Facebook is the #1 movie in the country as I write.  And, a TELEVISION SHOW has been created out of a Twitter stream!  Who would have thought that a seemingly innocent effort by a young man to share the phrases his dad says would bring about a Twitter following of more than 1.7 MILLION and be the basis for a new fall TV show on CBS called, #$&@ My Dad Says.

Now, before you go to read Justin’s twitter feed, I warn you that the words and phrases on the Twitter stream are not decoded and are very explicit—definitely “R” rated.  I’ve read the stream and do find it very funny much of the time.  But, I think that’s because he’s not MY dad.  How would I really feel if he was saying that to me?  It’s one thing when it’s someone else’s dad.  But it’s ALWAYS SOMEONE’S dad!

Here’s my thought:  As funny as Justin’s dads comments might be, what would happen to our kids if we were to say these things to our children on a regular basis–i.e., what REAL impact might they have?  Most of our conversations to our children that cut them down, minimize their decisions, ridicule their comments or simply question their intelligence will not be fodder for a nationally shown television show.  And, I argue, even if they were, is that the model we want to shoot for?  Funny?  Maybe?   Words can tear apart the soul of a child.   Is it worth the momentary laugh if you deflate your child for a lifetime?  Can you justify the damage your words could do to your child by telling them that they are nothing more than an idiot for thinking or saying something I didn’t agree with, all for the sake of pumping yourself up or for a quick “LOL”?  I guess it begs the question, “how do you talk to your children?”  Do you lift them up with your tongue or use it as a whip and a platform for your comedy?  It’s an important question.  The answer might leave long and painful scars or provide a safe harbor for your children to mature within.

When it comes to evaluating the cost of success for the family emulated in this television show, I believe the cost far outweighs the millions they all get from TV, books, and other money making ventures associated with this theme.  I guess being a father of courage, giving up your own interests for the interests of your family, sacrificing time and energy to show them how important they are doesn’t make for good TV material.  So, ripping your kid because he said something stupid doesn’t have any ill effect.  I’ll just tear them apart because it’s funny and will make us a fortune when they cast our family’s dysfunction into a prime time show.  It’s a lie.  A fathers words carry a huge impact on our children—both for good and for evil.

I’m often saddened by the way that fathers are portrayed on television.  Name ONE from today’s shows that you’d like to be YOUR dad?  Dads—we don’t get our example of how to father our kids from television, that’s for sure.  But, where can we get a model of how to do this thing called “fathering”?  B  I  B  L  E.  It’s the only book I’ve ever found that gives me wise counsel every time I open it up.

Additionally, I tap into the network of dads in my life who really WANT to be Godly and influential dads.  None of us do it right all the time.  That’s OK.  As long as we’re doing it better today than we did yesterday we are becoming the dads God created us to be.  Hang in their dad!  Don’t emulate TV dads.  Follow our Heavenly dad and find a few down here who will come alongside you and be an encourager and, when needed, provide a little butt kicking too (without the coarse language :).

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No, We Haven’t Stopped Writing for the DadPad

October 6, 2010 by

I was recently asked if we stopped writing for the DadPad.  We apologize for the “hoards” ***snicker*** of you that follow our little blog.  I (Jeff) take full responsibility.  It is the death knell of any blog to leave it dormant for nearly two months.  Shame on us.  Our apologies.

OK…now that I’ve gotten that off my chest…we truly do apologize for the latent posting activity.  Latent because I’ve started at least a half a dozen posts that are still in draft mode.  I’ve got a lot of thoughts and things I’d like to share to get your response but just haven’t finished them enough to hit the “publish” button.  But, thanks to the gentlemen that prompted my inner writer, I am committed (at least temporarily 😉 to resume posts about fathering on The DadPad.

We do want to let you know that we are in the very early stages of revamping our blog, considering how we can get some additional voices as authors, engage a larger number of dads to contribute content and make this a place where dads of all shapes, sizes and ages can come in, learn a little…share a little and feel a little more of the fatherhood fraternity.

So, look for more regular posts as we intentionally share more of our experiences as dads with the hope of being a source of encouragement to everyone who holds the esteemed title of “father”.

In the meantime, if there are some issues you’d like to see us address, subjects you have immediate concerns about or just want to share some of your fathering insights, please feel free to share them as comments to this post or email us at

Until our next post (and we promise it will be sooner than 44 days from now)…

Go get ’em, Dad.

Tears of a Warrior

August 23, 2010 by

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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 by

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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 by

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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).

Chick-fil-A’s Daddy/Daughter Date night

June 23, 2010 by

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I had a date with my 18 year old daughter last night.  We’ve had a lot of dates during her 18 years.  This one was a little different.  I took her out to a really nice restaurant with table cloths, reservations required and great food.  No, it wasn’t a 5 star-expensive eatery.  It was a local Chick-fil-A restaurant in West Little Rock, AR.  And, it wasn’t my idea.  It was their’s–Chick-fil-A’s.  Using Facebook, the owner/operators sent out a message to all the Facebook Group members that they were having a daddy/daughter date night on Tuesday, June 22.  All you needed to do was to email or call to reserve your seat.  I thought, “what a great idea”.  Hadn’t had a date with my daughter for a while and we both love Chick-fil-A so, why not.   Then, after stopping there for lunch earlier in the week, there was a little bag stuffer that reminded me of the Daddy/Daughter date night.  I asked my daughter if she wanted to go and she was quick to take me up on the offer (probably because it was a free meal 🙂 but maybe because she wanted to spend some time with the old man too).  But, she thought that most of the “couples” might be dads with their young daughters so we went as “uninvited” guests–on the “dl” (down-low for the uncool).

We entered and saw the tables in a section of the restaurant reserved for dads and their dates.  Just before  they entered the restaurant they were given a name tag and checked off the invitation list.  The owners posted reservations in half-hour increments from 5-7 pm.  So, dads and their daughters were streaming in while I enjoyed dinner with my date in another part of the restaurant.  As the couples entered they were greeted by the CFA “Eat Mor Chikin'” cow.  After they ordered and were seated they enjoyed one of the finest chicken sandwiches (or whatever they ordered) on the planet (in my humble opinion).  Then, upon leaving, the young ladies were given a carnation as a reminder of their special evening.  Some of the dads took their young dates to the play area for an after dinner slide or climb.  All the while, my daughter and I shared a nice meal together, connecting about our days–nothing earth shattering–just some good, quality time together, along with many other dads and daughters.

For all of you restaurant owners/managers out there…here’s a great way for you to contribute to the health of your city.  By providing an evening event for dads that was easy for them to act upon, this Chick-fil-A manager provided a win/win scenario.  The popularity of the event meant he had not reserved a portion of his resaurant in vain (I spoke with his wife (they are friends) and she said the 5pm slot was sold out–not sure how the others went but we saw a steady stream of dads and daughters pouring in during and after our time there).  Additionally, there may have been some new dad/daughter date night traditions kicked off in that Chick-fil-A restaurant that night.  Overall, it was a great event for the restaurant and for dads in the Little Rock area.  Way to go, Chick-fil-A!!!  Dads…it’s also a great reminder to start dating your daughters AND your sons on a regular basis.  Chick-fil-A made this one a no-brainer.  But, it’s not hard.  In fact, I’ve heard of dads who have put on their “Sunday best” and come to the front door to pick up their finely dressed date.  Make it special…make it fun…make it simple—-but do “make it”.  And, if they are grown—start now.  Never a better time than the present to spend time with your children, no matter how old they are.

Well, I guess it’s time to start thinking about where I need to take my wife on a date now.  Any other restaurants in Little Rock want to invest in marriage dates?  I’ll be checking on Facebook.

To Every Dad that has ever…Happy Father’s Day

June 20, 2010 by

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This goes out to all of you dads who have

–       held your child right after they were born

–       gotten up in the middle of the night to rock your baby to sleep

–      changed a diaper but put it on backwards or stuck your hand with a pin (now I’m dating myself)

–       tasted the baby food to make sure it was the right temperature-even the peas

–      been a horse while your kids have been the cowboy (or cowgirl)

–      played catch with your child

–      pulled your child as far back as they can go in a swing so that you could run forward and let them fly high

–      prepared the bandage for an “owie” and kissed a “boo boo” on your child

–      taken off or waited to go to work to attend your childs school play or watched them walk up those bus stairs for the first time

–      wrestled with your kid until you were both exhausted (ok—only you were exhausted)

–      set your child on a brand new bike with streamers, bells and horns and then walked with them holding tightly, jogged releasing your grip a little and eventually letting them go down the street praying they wouldn’t fall.  And then doing it again, and again, and again until they went all by themselves

–      cuddled with your kids under the covers because they just had a nightmare

–      given up a nights sleep so that your child could have a sleep-over with 7 of the loudest kids you’ve ever heard

–      had to tell your child “no” to something that you knew would not be good for them

–      said “yes” to your child even when you felt like saying “no” because you knew they were growing up

–      left the office with work to be done so you could enjoy dinner together at home

–      planned an activity that you knew your child wanted to do, even if it wasn’t your “cup o’ tea”

–      kneeled next to your child as they “got sick” in the bathroom while you rubbed their back and just cleaned up any mess and carried them back to bed.

–      sat watching your child’s baseball or soccer game even when it was 45 degrees and windy

–      taken your child on regular dates—just you and he/she

–       told your child you loved them

–      hurt inside when they made a bad choice–disciplined them but never let them feel abandoned or disgraced—no matter how bad their choice was

–       loved your wives well as an example to your kids

–       just sat and listened to your child and looked into their eyes as they spoke (no newspaper, TV or computer to disrupt you)

–       had THE talk with your adolescent

–       cried with your child

–       asked forgiveness from your child

–       laughed with your child—I mean really laughed—the belly-kind of laugh

–       sat on the passenger side of your car, nearly putting your feet through the floor board as they learned about the physics of an automobile in motion and time needed to stop

–       taken your family on a vacation

–       waited up for them every night they were out making sure they got home safely

–       given them one of the great dad cliché’s like, “this is going to hurt me more than it’s going to hurt you” or “don’t make me stop this car”

–       took the time to chat with the young man who was about to take your daughter on a date—just letting him know that this was no ordinary date because she is no ordinary girl

–       talked to your son about how to treat a woman

–       written your child a letter telling them how proud you are of them

–       shared the truth of God with them, talked to them about God and lead them to a foundation from which they could enter into a personal relationship with God

–       worn out the carpet in front of their bedrooms while you prayed for them, their faith, their future spouse and their choices in life

–       stood by them when they made poor (sometimes damagingly poor) choices; told them you loved them; exacted appropriate discipline but didn’t shame them or let them feel abandoned

–       been a friend to their friends

–       taught them a hobby or sport

–       sat in the auditorium as their names were announced for graduation

–       drove them up to college for the first time with a car full of stuff and then drove back—vehicle empty—eyes full (of tears)

–       walked a daughter down the aisle or watched your son take a woman into his arms so that they could begin a new life and start a new family yet continuing all the things you’ve built into them

–       held your first grandchild and felt the tears of joy run down your face knowing another generation has been launched…

To all of you dads who have experienced any, all and/or much more than the above and know what it means to be a father—from all of us at DadPad—you are our hero