Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Children See... Children Do!!

Disclaimer: This video is an actual ad that was ran in Australia and is very real. There is no language but there is some hard scenarios, please do NOT watch with your children!

Can I ask you a couple questions:
- How did this commercial make you feel?
- What was the most offensive part of the video to you?
- Why is a kid giving someone "the finger" often more offensive than the domestic abuse?

Bad News: Jesus said, "And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck."  

Good News: Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”

Full Context: Mark 9:35-50

We have a very unique and high calling as parents and leaders. 
May we live to honor Him and lead our kids in humble obedience!! 

I don't think I want to say much more, instead just let it sink in... 
AND let's discuss in the comments below!! 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Really... A gum commercial!?

So there I was minding my own business when this commercial came on (It takes one minute):

In case the video doesn't start above: Click Here

I KNOW RIGHT!!!  How did that gum commercial make me cry!?  If it didn't, you have no soul (or maybe you just don't have a daughter yet)!!  For me, this video hits the very core of what I want as a parent: to see our kids grow healthy and strong.  We want to be there and we want them to remember those times as much as we will.  

I don't have much this week but a couple questions I'd love for you to answer to yourself:
  • How much time have you spent with your son or daughter this week?
  • Have you been able to carve out some one-on-one time this month?
  • Did you get a chance to just sit with them at the bookend times (breakfast or bedtime)?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

"Family"...the new selling point

A couple of weeks back I posted a commercial from Extra (Yeah, the gum company) that I think "nails it" in the world of family ministry.  Without a doubt it nails something inside me to what I want with my girls (See the whole post here).  In fact last night I got to go on another Daddy-Daughter Date with my two beautiful girls.  I wasn't planning on going on one this week but I received an e-mail from Chili's saying they were hosting a "Daddy-Daughter Night Out" including dessert, a picture with frame and necklace for the girls... FOR FREE!!!  A pastor can't pass that up.  

As we were having our fun little evening out I saw on a nearby TV a commercial that articulated exactly what I was trying to create right then (I'll come back to it).  In fact in the past several weeks I have seen a bunch of commercials that are selling the same thing... Family!!  Why are so many companies using "family" to tug at our heart strings (I can literally give you over a dozen "family focused" ads from the past year... "Prove it" you say,send me an e-mail and I'll hook you up with links)?  Is it working?  Is there something going on in our culture, a shift to new (or lost) priorities?  

I believe we are living in an exciting time.  A time where choices will matter again.  A time where family (and not just mom, dad and 2.5 kids) is something that must be apart of our culture.  A community of folks who love each other, share life together, play together and hopefully push our kids to a higher standard of living (relational wealth vs. financial wealth).  The crazy thing is this vision isn't "new", in fact its been around for a very long time.  TheTorah puts it this way: 

"Listen, Israel! The Eternal is our True God—He alone. You should love Him, your True God, with all your heart and soul, with every ounce of your strength.  Make the things I’m commanding you today part of who you are.  Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you’re sitting together in your home and when you’re walking together down the road. Make them the last thing you talk about before you go to bed and the first thing you talk about the next morning.  Do whatever it takes to remember them: tie a reminder on your hand and bind a reminder on your forehead where you’ll see it all the time, such as on the doorpost where you cross the threshold or on the city gate." (Translation from 'The Voice')

Two practical questions pop out to me in the above text:

  • Am I "being" the example I want to see in my children?
  • Am I taking the time to "do whatever it takes" to help them remember?

Back to the commercial that sparked everything for me this week...

In one minute, some business nails both principles we stated above: Be & Remember.  This should be more than a deep desire for us but something we put at the top of our 'things to do' list!  Consequentially this commercial also gives what could be our purpose statement at NBFamilies: "We know we are not the center of your life, but we will do our best to help you connect to what is"

I believe if you're taking time out of your day to read a blog about family you're probably already doing some of the above mentioned.  But our hope and prayer is that we as a community would embrace 'being a disciple of Christ' first and then looking for ways that our children would remember (Faith TalksFaith Walks & Faith Mission).  May the passion for our family overflow beyond just us and impact the entire community we call New Beginnings (and our city, country, world)!!  

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Don't Stop... Start!!

Two weeks ago I had finally had it.  I have now been "retired" from football for over a decade yet my eating habits had never changed.  Over the years I was able to stay fairly active and thus keep that weight down to some what 'in control.'  However, these past few years have really gotten the best of me... Kids, Work, Blah, Blah, Blah and I when I finally got on the scale it was appalling (and for the sake of accountability, I'll just tell you: 263lbs!!).  

For years I have known it was a problem and even knew it was dangerous for future living.  Though at times I have dropped weight it was never a change in my lifestyle just a diet.  But before you stop reading thinking this is about weight loss give me a few more sentences.  I read an article this week that made me angry!  I didn't get angry because it was "spinning the facts" or because it was about some poor kids in a far off country... I was angry because it was calling me out!!

"They observed 55 caregivers eating with at least one child in fast-food restaurants. Forty of those caregivers used a mobile device during the meal... primary focus of the caregiver’s attention and engagement was with the device rather than the child...Caregivers absorbed in devices frequently ignored the child’s behavior for a while and then reacted with a scolding tone of voiceRead more from the article here

Ouch!!  I don't know if I'm alone on this (according to the article I am not) but this one hit close to home.  BUT... I only check a couple e-mails at dinner or return that important text, I really wanted to show my wife something funny I saw or finish my highest score ever on Doodle Jump (that was for Phil & Sankie), I'll just turn the ringer off, what if it's an emergency... Bottom line:  I've known it was an issue for some time!!  Like my eating habits combined with my lack of exercise and time, it was taking it's toll.  After taking some time to think about it I came across this article: Be an Involved Father (by Carey Casey).  What I loved about it was not only the ideas but that it wasn't about "stopping the phone use."  In the same way diets hardly work, just dropping my phone for the next 30-days wasn't going to fix the bigger issue.  It has to be a lifestyle change or you will simply revert back to life after the "diet" is over!!

Here are the great suggestions from the article (and there are a bunch more from the comments):    

  1. Reading. This can be a time of closeness, sharing new ideas and making your child feel special. It’s an especially great way to end the day.
  2. Mealtime. Don’t stop at traditional dinners; picnics, carryout pizza or Sunday brunch can add to the togetherness. Maybe it’s time to get out that old fondue pot you got as a wedding gift twenty years ago.
  3. Physical affection. When you walk in the door after work, make sure you get hugs from everyone—and that means everyone. (Even if you have to hunt them down in the basement or back yard.)
  4. Playing games. What better way to encourage your kids’ imagination, physical and mental prowess, and a healthy spirit of competition? That includes peek-a-boo with an infant, whiffle ball in the back yard or a family chess tournament.
  5. Chores and errands. Everyday chores help a child define his place in the family, give him an opportunity to contribute, and provide another opportunity to spend time together. And those day-to-day trips to the store can become priceless times with Dad.
  6. Cooking. Get the whole family working on a meal, and then enjoy the results.
  7. Taking pictures. Family photographs are a great way to mark and then remember events for years to come. Some kids dread it when the camera comes out, but strive to make it fun; see who can do the most hilarious things in front of a camera.
  8. Storytelling. Looking through old photos and videos can lead to some great stories about your youth, your parents and grandparents. Or tell your kids a made-up story where they’re one of the characters. (Or read a story together.)
  9. Family outings. This can be a drive into the country to see the cows or a full-blown vacation to Yellowstone. Don’t get so caught up in the destination that you forget to enjoy the trip. And remember, a low-budget camping weekend can mean more to your kids than a trip to Hawaii.
  10. Spiritual activities. Praying together, attending church, and family devotions can become unique and priceless rituals. Also, find ways to put it into action—like organizing the family to volunteer somewhere or gather clothes for a homeless shelter.
Big picture moment
The point isn't "STOP using the phone" but "START being a dad"!!

Update on the "family" side: My family and I had a wonderful mini-vacation this week in Oklahoma City... I don't always get it right but I did turn the phone off for two days and fished, played in a pool, went to a museum, cuddled, saw grandparents, ran around a playground... It was amazing!!  I hope you can find some time to do the same this spring!!

Update on the "diet" side: Court & I are entered to run a Spartan Beast, November 1st in the Dallas area.  If you are brave enough, we would love to see you there... Sign up here!!  Our team name is "With This or Upon This!"  For you history buffs, this is what spartan women and parents told their soldiers before heading off to battle (Come back victorious or die trying).  We're not crazy... It just has to be more than a diet!! 

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Just another story...

The following takes place between 4:00p and 5:00p... events occur in real time 
(Don't know that reference, not only did I just shed a tear, you need to click on this link):

"How was school" I said like every other day when picking up the kids.  "Great, I had a good day" said the oldest with a grin.  "That's awesome, how about you baby?"  "Goooood..." she said while continuing to color on the work of art she had started while waiting in the gym.  "You know what I think would be awesome, we should go get slushies," I said.  "Why?" exclaimed both big kids in unison but a squeal of joy from the youngest.  "Because it's Thursday!" I said with a smirk.  "That doesn't make sense," comments the oldest.  "I just want to bless my beautiful family," I responded. 

9 minutes later... 

"What do you guys want to drink?" I said, expecting a quick response but not prepared for what was to follow.  "Do we have to get a slushie?" asked one.  "What flavors are there" responded another, I guess assuming they changed from the last time we came.  "RED Flushie!!!" shouted the youngest, with confidence.  "No...Tons...Got it!" I said, knowing full well they wouldn't know what I was talking about.  "So Dad, can I get ice-cream with oreos?" asked the oldest.  "Yes sir, thanks for asking buddy!" I said.  "I want what I got last time" commented the middle.  "Alright cool..." extending finger to push the button.  "WAAAAAIT... I WANT TO PUSH THE BUTTON" all three said in a mashing of words.  "I'm going to push it and make the order this time, if that's okay?" I said, secretly praying this would save us from an inevitable fight and noticing we missed 'Happy-Hour' by literally a minute.

12 minutes later...

"DAD!!  This is taking forever" complained the oldest, "You should push the button again and complain."  "Yes, God I'll take that set-up," I thought to myself.  "Buddy what did you do for your drink?"  Looking puzzled, he responded with a solid "Huh!?"  Giving it another shot, I continued: "Are you using your money to buy your snack?  Are you inside making it in the blender?  How long would it take you to make it and then clean-up your mess?"  "Hours!!" he said, I think expecting a laugh.  "Exactly, so shouldn't we just be patient and thankful for this blessing and not angry it's taking longer than we thought?"  "Yes," said muffled since his head was now rested on his arms.  "I'm waiting pashantly Daddy" said the youngest with enthusiasm.  "Thanks baby-girl," trying not to smile too big to anger the oldest yet noticing the masterpiece of art the middle was diligently still working on. 

6 more minutes later...

"Okay.... Dad, you have to admit this is getting ridiculous," extending arms to the ceiling for full effect. "Buddy, it's all good."  "Have you paid already with your card, if not we could just go," he said.  Stunned a little by his observation to the payment method I responded, "I did pay and I think this is a good lesson in pa....."  KNOCK KNOCK, "I've got a small cherry slush, a small strawberry slush and..... I'm sorry, I think that was supposed to be a small sonic blast with oreo, so I'm sorry about that,"  as the server hands me a LARGE blast with oreo.  With a smile exploding his face, the oldest sat in anticipation of his gift directly from the gods!  "Also," said the car hop "here are some tokens for some free limeades the next time you are in, we are so sorry about your wait."  "Thank you," I responded excited about this incredible moment to teach a life lesson.  "Now buddy... though you did nothing for it and even were impatient while waiting for what you felt you deserved, you were given something even better than you thought... Do you really deserve this?"  With his smile faded his arm met the ice-cream with a solid stiff-arm explaining: "I don't deserve it."  "Are you sure," I said not only surprised but frustrated that this massive blast was now melting and going to waste.  "Yes," he said.  Unknowing what to say, I spouted: "It's okay to eat your snack, in fact, I think you should or you'll be wasting money now."  Yes, I blew it!!  "DAD...DAD...DADDY... HELP!!!!!" exclaimed while the middle handed a slush that drained on her, me, the seats, my phone until I could get it out the window, all the while not hitting oncoming cars.  "WAIT, DON'T THROW IT OUT" yelled the youngest, whose apparent drink it was after sticking her straw through the bottom.  "Never again," I thought to myself now holding a broken cup out the window, sticking to everything and I think headed in the right direction for home!!

After days of distance from the incident, and counseling, here's a couple thoughts:
  • Faith Moments happen when we are looking for them
  • Faith Moments aren't always successful (or so we think)
  • Faith Moments only take moments of our time but will be remembered forever
  • Faith Moments can teach us just as much as our kids

P.S. My oldest did end up eating part of his ice-cream after sharing it with others.  And thanked God for "getting to go to Sonic and getting a bigger blast than I ordered when I didn't deserve it" when he prayed that night before bed.