Posts Tagged ‘advice’

DadPad Quotes and Notes: Don’t be an April Fool-Part 2

April 6, 2010

Proverbs 13:20 Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.

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There are two dangerous things for men.  First, being alone.  Second, hanging out with those who’d be better off being alone.  There’s another verse that says, “bad company corrupts good morals.”  In some way, men face a real dilemma (at least this man has and has spoken to many others who have as well).  The dilemma?  We are afraid we’ll be found out.  We feel that if people (our wife, our boss, our kids, our friends) found out who we really were, we would be abandoned, fired, ridiculed, shunned or cast aside as useless, like an old shirt that no longer fits.  This theme has come up time and time again in discussions with other men in over 20 years of working in men’s (and family) ministry (as a layman and now full time on staff with FamilyLife).

There are no easy answers to this dilemma for men.  And, I’m not going to turn this into an analysis of the male psyche.  But, I do think that the verse above from Proverbs holds a key element in beginning to approach this problem for men.  When men feel threatened or inheritantly anxious about their roles and abilities, there is a trigger reaction to push people to the periphery of their lives.  I mean, if we let someone in too deep, they’ll discover what I’m really like and either render me as hapless or, worse, evil.

I’ve had more than my share of screw ups, moments of giving in to weakness, things done that I’m not proud of and thoughts that I can’t even share now.  Additionally, being a follower of Christ, often makes those inadequacies feel even weightier.  That is not the biblical truth but something that Christian men have wrestled with for centuries.

So, how have I experienced some victory in this area?  I’ve practiced what the verse says— I’ve spent time with others who understand these issues about themselves but who live according the truth as given to them by God through His Word.  I’ve learned to expose the truth to others about things I’ve done, ways I’ve messed up, and asked for advice from “wise guys”.  Whenever I found myself in seclusion or in the company of others who simply nodded or affirmed my destructive thoughts or behavior, I was trapped.  That’s why the verse “as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” has been so life transforming for me.

Our male “dilemma” is no more visible than in the area of fathering.  I don’t know about you but I didn’t see the manual come out with the child.  I have felt that I’m completely and woefully inadequate to be a dad.  Yet, if I respond to this feeling the same way I have in other areas of my life, I would simply find ways to work longer, travel more, rely on my wife to take care of the parenting duties.  You see, I’m pretty good at covering up my weaknesses by assigning them to someone else or ignoring them.  But, when I started sharing the responsibility of being a dad with other dads who felt strangely similar in their sense of inadequacy, it didn’t feel so burdensome.  As we began to encourage each other in our roles, listen to each other as we shared struggles and missed opportunities, we all began to sense that this was something we could do, with God’s and each others’ help.

My encouragement for you as a man and as a dad is to find a man in your church, at your work, in your neighborhood or family who you admire.  Someone who seems to have a peace about his life and would admit in a minute that he’s not done it all well but he has done it–this thing called manhood.  First, you’ll likely discover he didn’t do it alone and that he surrounded himself with other men who could encourage, admonish and lift him up.  Then, you’ll find out that he was (and probably still is) just as anxious about failing in all aspects of being a man as you are.

Don’t be an April fool.  No matter how much you’ve succeeded in some of your roles as a man, open yourself up to another man or group of men that can sharpen each other to be the men of God you were created to be.  No one can do this alone.

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DadPad Quotes and Notes: Don’t be an April Fool-Part 1

April 1, 2010

Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.

It’s April Fool’s day.  I’ve never been one that has taken to practical jokes, even on April Fool’s day.  I have heard of some great jokes and others that are just plain mean.  But, I want to talk about another kind of April Fool for the next three days leading up to Easter.

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If you’ve spent anytime reading this blog there are two things we hope you have been able to see.  First, we are not perfect dads and don’t profess to be so.  Second, we do profess faith in the One True Father and that is the underlying power for everyone who’s submitted an entry for this blog.  We often talk about being a father without overtly discussing elements of our Christian faith.  Yet, you’d be hard pressed (hopefully) to find anything that we have shared from our earthly experience as dads that we haven’t tried to base in our faith.

Given that premise, it’s our desire to share some things that more directly tie into our underlying faith as we lead  up to the most significant day in the New Testament church–Easter.

The verse in Proverbs at the beginning of this post says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.”  This is not only biblical but practical as well.  Yet, it seems to me that it is one of the hardest things for us to do as men.  Get advice.  Only when we reach the end of the rope will we let down our veneer and others inside our pain, our failings, our life.  This happens to too many men.  Is it true of you?

Throughout my life, I’ve been on both sides of this fence.  I’m the guy that doesn’t want to ask for directions.  I know it’s stereotypical, but it’s true for me.  GPS has been a God send :).  Yet, as I’ve walked through the years and experienced pain (much of it self inflicted), I’ve been thankful that there are a handful of men I can reach out to and know that they will be there for me.  I’m not just looking for advice.  I’m looking for wisdom from other men who care about me and who are grounded in their faith.  It doesn’t mean they walk perfectly but they first love God and they’ve shown an intentional love for others.

Dads, it’s our desire that this blog is a place where you can hear from other ordinary dads/men who walk with an extraordinary God.  We’ve made mistakes (some of which have been the fodder for DadPad blog posts and soon to be posts) and have experienced some success as men and dads.  All of us would say that we’ve had others from whom we could seek advice.  How about you?  Are you an April Fool and only looking to yourself for advice or do you seek the wise counsel of others?  To be the dads we need to be for our family, we hope it’s the latter for all of us.

Thought:  What successes have you had in being advised by another wise man?  What are the challenges of opening up to another?  What are the consequences if you don’t?

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Dad as Counselor

April 7, 2009

Merriam Webster defines a “counselor” as a person who gives advice. In the role of a lawyer, it’s someone who is an advocate for another. Both are descriptive of being a dad in those “tweener” years. Somewhere north of 7 or 8 years old and prior to high school, our children begin to put things together. The role of coach still applies (see previous two blog posts) but our kids are not as easily persuaded to simply take our “game plan” and they begin to want to know the “why” of life. They also need to know they have an “advocate”, someone who is on their side no matter what happens. Dad, you are “da man” for the “da job”.

dad_n_kidAs Counselor, you don’t need a degree in psychoanalysis to succeed in this role. You just need to begin taking time and invest in your children so that they can begin to ask questions about the life they are growing into. Somewhere between the ages of 8-10, I set up a time to “date” my children regularly. Coming up with a plan is half the battle. I took the birthdates of each of my kids and set that up as their monthly date night. (more…)