Jun 21 2009

Happy Father’s Day!


I’d like to take a small moment to wish all you dads out there (and especially mine!) a Happy Father’s Day!

I know many who don’t have fathers. I understand there are many who, because of the way they’ve been treated, wish they didn’t. I also know that, Gloria Steinem’s wrongly-attributed quote to the contrary, fathers are needed.

Me and the boys

Me and the boys

Hear that?

Men are needed. Imperfect, struggling, failing men are needed and they need to commit to being better and constantly striving to improve.

So how do you do that? You remember that it’s not about you. You remember to lavish the love on your family that maybe you wish you’d receive, in whatever form they best like it.

Here’s the kicker though…do it with no thought of what you’re going to get out of it. In doing so, you will demonstrate your generosity and unselfishness. You will teach your sons how to work at the business of combining marriage and career. You’ll show your daughters what genuine, self-sacrificing love looks like.

The President has some Father’s Day thoughts that I think are important to check out. I don’t agree with much that he says, but there are some gems in there…most notably the last paragraph.

On this Father’s Day, I am recommitting myself to that work, to those duties that all parents share: to build a foundation for our children’s dreams, to give them the love and support they need to fulfill them, and to stick with them the whole way through, no matter what doubts we may feel or difficulties we may face. That is my prayer for all of us on this Father’s Day, and that is my hope for this nation in the months and years ahead.

Makes good sense and I wish him the best in his endeavors. There are many people that see President Obama as a good example and his overall echoing of Dan Quayle’s sentiments from 20-odd years ago, that fathers matter, is still true (here’s the wiki article if you’re interested).

Go use this Father’s Day as a springboard for the rest of the year. Make this your resolution day that you’ll recommit to your wife. You’ll educate yourself. You’ll grow.

Jun 10 2009

Leave It There


I don’t know about you, but I’m usually looking to get back into “Dad and Husband” mode after being at work all day.  Here’s a little trick I use to leave my work behind me when I’m home.

I’ve started using a sign post that I see every day on the road as a mental switch.  As soon as I see it, I know it’s time to sweep the troubles of the day out of my mind and get ready to be joyously attacked by small children.  While I may not be able to control the fleeting thoughts that jump into my brain, I know I control what I do with them and how they affect me.

So here’s what you can do.  Find a sign about 20 minutes from your house…ok, maybe 30…and after you pass it, get in the habit of not thinking about work any more and instead start thinking about what’s waiting for you at home.  It takes a while to form the habit and I’d be lying if I said I did it every time, but I’ve found it really does make a difference in my attitude when I get home.  I’m less likely to retreat to my cave and more likely to show my wife and kids the love they’ve been missing from me all day.

Give it a shot.

Mar 27 2009

You’ve Found A Good Thing


You’ve got to understand as a man that when you marry the girl of your dreams, she wants to remain that. Long after she’s left her girlhood behind, she wants to know you’ll still pursue her. She wants to know you’ll love her with the same intensity and still greater depth than you did in the first heady days of your courtship.

How is this possible? How in the drudgery of daily existence, the constant press of work, the struggle to survive, the demands of needy kids, or the drive for personal space can a man find meaningful time for his woman? How can their relationship not just exist but truly prosper? What part can a (seemingly) relationally-challenged man play in leading his family? How can two people iron out their differences until they’re smooth and work back and forth, giving and taking until they’re finally synchronous with each other? Is there a way to fight fair? In fact, is there a way to remove the “fight” altogether and turn it into temporary disagreement with a permanent recognition of underlying good will, respect, honor, and love?

The answer to all of this is you’re in control, man. You’re leading the dance and your wife loves it when you’ve got the right moves, even when she’s in disagreement with you. She loves your ability to make peace and diffuse situations. She is more sensitive than you and feels little hiccups in the relationship more than you do. She loves it when you take care of business, but only because it’s a subset of you taking care of her. Even when you’re feeling disrespected by her, you can know that what she really wants is your love, care, and provision. Walk the tightrope of treating her voice as equal and leading by careful example, and you will find yourself a good thing, an amazing, devoted, grateful, happy wife.

It can be done. If you’re struggling, you can do it. If you’re doing it, you can do it better. Life is a wicked winding road that’s far easier to travel with your best friend. With a little patience and a few techniques, the rough spots won’t wreck the ride.