Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category


Bounce BackBlogBack in the 1900’s (well, that’s technically correct, but it makes me sound old)…In the late 90’s (ok, not much better. I was an adult when many of you reading this were not even alive, so I still feel seasoned)…Let’s just say “back in the day”, yeah, let’s go with that…Back in the day, I rode my bike without knee pads or a helmet.  However, nowadays, it seems that they issue safety equipment with every bike purchase. I used to drink water from the garden hose, but today, water must be bottled, chilled, and vapor-distilled with electrolytes.  I left the house in the morning and did not return until the street lights came on.  There were no apps or smartphones with GPS to track my every move and guess what, I turned out just fine.

Before you pounce, I agree, times are different now than they were “back in the day.”  Perhaps our awareness is greater due to technology and the internet but just go with me for a second. Think about it.  What life-skills did you develop when you fell off your bike and licked your wounds and kept playing? Or what about when you had to think critically to solve problems or resolve conflicts amongst friends because adults weren’t around to intervene? When we loss a game we had to deal with the emotion of not being good enough, this time.  Some took their ball and went home, but we know how life turned out for them if they continued on that path.  We did not receive feel-good trophies just for participating.  There was a level of resilience that was unintentionally and/or indirectly learned that may be absent from many of our kids today.

As parents, we are so close that we are able to grab our kids by the hand before they fall; anticipate their problems, and mitigate the risk before they are encountered. We mediate their conflicts and even provide solutions before providing them with the opportunity to think through their options. We lessen their loads so that they do not have to work as hard, but all at what cost?

Building Bounce-Back Power!

In our effort to provide our children with the life that we did not have, perhaps we are eliminating the character-building experiences that made us who we are. I believe that the majority of parents goal is for their children to be positive, productive citizens in society. Society includes others. Although we may be teaching them to be productive, but are we equally considering their ability to relate with and to others?  We doing our kids a disservice when we remove the resistance that builds the core of their internal resolve and strength — Bounce Back Power!

Fertilizer has a purpose.  It smells awful, but it also creates a fertile environment that promotes growth.  The same goes for our kids.  What stinks in their life could be the very thing that helps them grow. Resilience is one of the main characteristics that, I believe, is essential during a child’s adolescent years.  When a parent is not intentional about developing coping skills in their child(ren), it can significantly increase their stress levels as adults and impact their ability to socialize with others.  Without an ability to cope with life circumstances, adults become paralyzed and seek alternative means, outside of themselves, to produce happiness and peace.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us — they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust in God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady. Then, when that happens, we are able to hold our heads high no matter what happens and know that all is well, for we know how dearly God loves us, and we feel this warm love everywhere within us because God has given us the Holy Spirit to fill out hearts with his love.”  – Romans 5:3-5 LAB

I do not believe it is a mistake that the above passage mentioned these three characteristics that develop as we go through problems and trials.  The legendary coach, Vince Lombardi once said, “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get back up.” At some point in life, he knew we all would get knocked down, but are we intentionally teaching our kids how to get back up?

Think about it…where would you be if you did not have these three characteristics to depend on as an adult?  How would you respond in the midst of your storm? (Pause to allow time for reflection). So now you understand why it is equally important for you to be intentional about allowing your kids to face some level of problems and trials so that they develop an ability to cope as children.

Just in case you could not imagine what your life would be like without these characteristics, consider this.

Patience

According to Dictionary.com, Patience is your capacity to accept and/or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting upset or angry.  Perhaps you could not imagine life with patience, because you have none (IJS). Stress is real and it is a killer.  You can’t teach what you don’t know. Modeling the behavior is the best way to teach your child.  Use your life circumstances to point out when you had to be patient and how it benefited you. Continue to model it until they catch it.

Refer to Galatians 6:9 ESV – Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we don’t give up.

Character

Life is about choices.  The choices we make will be based on who we are as a person. Without patience, our character is the only thing that will keep us out of trouble. Problems are only compounded when our character causes us to make bad decisions in the midst of a trial.  Our character is based on how we think, who we are, and the moral compass that guides our actions. Your abilities may get you in the room, but your character is what will allow you to maintain what you obtained. What’s influencing the way you think?  How you think will determine who you become, which impacts what you do.

Refer to Proverbs 23:7a NKJV – “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”

Trust in God

“Do you!” is a popular catch-phrase that, in my opinion, is misguided, to say the least.  It proposes that we know what to do and have complete control over the future. But, I contend, as parents, we should stop telling our kids “you can be whatever you want to be if you put your mind to it.”  I believe this sets them up for failure and disappointment. The reality is they were born with a purpose.  Although they could be good at many things, there is something that will bring them great joy and fulfillment. As our kids “Original Mentors” (their parents), it is our responsibility to guide them on their journey toward discovering why God placed them on this earth.  Once they are on the path, we should help cultivate their faith in a way that causes them to depend less on us and trust more in the one who knows the plans that He has for them. God will reveal who they are and His intentions for how He will use them to impact the world. This is a matter of perspective.  You are not teaching them to think small or limit their capacity. You are actually expanding their capacity by getting them to depend on the one who is able to do more than we can ask or think — God!

Refer to Proverbs 3:5-6 NLTTrust in the Lord with all of your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. 

Parents…to help your kid(s) fully realize who God has created them to be, you must be who He designed you to become. – TheOriginalMentor.com

Where Do You Go From Here?

Perhaps you read this blog and realized that you need to take action steps to help your child(ren) develop patience, character, and trust in God.  I suggest you read Super Pencil as a family.

Super Pencil & Revenge of Talking TelevisionsSuper Pencil is a realistic fiction, coming of age story about a boy growing up in the suburbs who has to be patient, build character, and trust God. when he is forced to navigate finding friends, fitting in, feeling lonely, and react to being bullied.

From fourth grade boys to middle school girls, or a parent wanting to spend quality time with their child (ren), Super Pencil is a non-stop adventure that will make you laugh, think, cry, and then cheer for the good guy. 

Go to SuperPencilSaga.com/shop to order your copy today.

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Super Pencil & Revenge of Talking Televisions

I am so proud to announce the launch of our new book, Super Pencil & The Revenge of the Talking Televisions! About three years ago, my son, Micah, dreamed up the plot points and the main character, Jeff Whitman, who he based on himself. Well, let me go back to how it all began.

Our Story

Micah loves comic books.  Every morning on our way to summer camp he would tell me about the new saga’s he was imagining.  Every night, he would draw the covers of the many comic books that he imagined and tape them to the wall in my office.  Then this happened. One morning he told me about Super Pencil and the Attack of the Talking Televisions.  There was something about this title that caused me to pause and reflect. Weeks later I was traveling to Las Vegas with a group of friends and could not stop talking about it.  I knew then we were on to something.

When I returned from my trip, Micah and I sat and discussed the characters. I asked him questions while capturing the details.  For months I asked, “What happened next?”  His imagination sparked my creativity and our collaboration birth what you now know as Super Pencil & The Revenge of the Talking Televisions. So, let me tell you a little more about the book.

Book Description

When Jeff Whitman’s friends become too obsessed with video games to play with him, he comes up with an amazing idea to get them away from their screens.

It all begins with a confrontation with the bully Hines Redgrave. Hines thinks that Jeff is stealing his friends. The bully doesn’t understand that people like Jeff because he is kind and considerate of others. Hines vows revenge for Jeff’s actions.

Then, Jeff’s friends start disappearing! They haven’t gone far. They’re all attached to their screens and playing the latest popular video game, Revenge of the Talking Televisions. Jeff is sure that Hines is somehow behind it all, but how can he prove it? With the wise advice of his father and a little help from his own imagination, Jeff discovers a way to free his friends from Hines’s control and take out those talking televisions once and for all.

PRE-ORDER TODAY!

From fourth grade boys to middle school girls, or a parent wanting to spend quality time with their child (ren), Super Pencil is a non-stop adventure that will make you laugh, think, cry, and then cheer for the good guy.  

CLICK HERE to learn more about Super Pencil, the authors and to order copies for your kids, their friends, grandchildren, godchildren, nieces, nephews, or strangers!

Enter to Win!

Share this post and like us on Facebook @SuperPencil and Instagram @SuperPencilSaga for a chance to win an autographed copy of Super Pencil.  We will randomly select a winner Friday, July 20th.

 

 


I have prayed, pondered, and almost wept over the last several weeks while trying to make sense out of all of this.  I have asked myself, which American do I prefer my son to live in?  If I had to choose between a society where he is aware of who dislikes him because of the color of his skin and they are open and honest about their prejudices OR would I prefer he lived in a country where people overtly express their love for him, but covertly act in a way that does not support that notion? My answer…Neither! But if I had to choose, I would much rather know who hates me and have the ability to respond accordingly than to not know and suffer the effects of their hatred and discrimination. I would rather know than to be frustrated by an invisible wall of resistance, not understanding why I am not able to get beyond where I am.

Honestly, the Neo-Nazi / Racist protesters in Charlottesville don’t scare me. I am more fearful of the Congressman who verbally detest what they did and stand for, but not willing to make policies that counter the systemic injustices that are taking place within our criminal justice system.

I am more afraid of the police officer who pulls me over because he does not think I can afford or deserve to live in my neighborhood and points a gun at me because of his preconceived notions of me.

I am more terrified of an Attorney General who believes Affirmative Action is an injustice to him because he fails to process or understand the need for the law, to begin with.

I am more panic-stricken by a social construct that is built to limit the economic opportunities of an entire community of people but can make it appear as if it is their fault for not working hard enough.

I am more frightened of people who did not know, realize, or acknowledge that racism still existed until seeing the torches and swastikas in Charlottesville.

I could go on, but there is a group of people who look far less threatening, but possess an extraordinary amount of influence and power to impact my son’s life in ways that will affect generations to come.

Elie Wiesel said, “the opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference.” To say you care for someone and detest actions that hurt or offend the ones you say you care about without the willingness to make sacrifices for them, will cause your genuineness to be called into question. Colin Kaepernick simply chose not to be indifferent. It is evident why he protested is true and still taking place today. It’s ok to question his motives until he explains why he took a knee in the first place.  To continue to have a problem with his non-violent, silent protest after he explains why, only exacerbates his reasons for kneeling, to begin with.

Kaepernick is a microcosm of what I fear. He represents a community of people doing a right thing for the right reason, however, because someone has POWER and INFLUENCE, they oppress them, remove the economic opportunity, and make it appear to be ALL their fault.

Suppose that was your kid with a conviction? Do you believe he should lose his livelihood and ability to take care of his family because he decided to have a voice?  Would you support your son or ask him to compromise?

In closing, Steve Bannon called the protestors of Charlottesville a “collection of clowns.” At first glance, it appears to be the “pot calling the kettle black.” However, after I mused over it a bit more, I believe it justified my argument above. Bannon is the type that I fear. He is someone with influence, in a position of power, who can oppress the opportunities of a set of people. He can call the Neo-Nazi’s in Charlottesville “clowns” because he views them as being beneath him and only masquerading with no “real” power or influence. If this type can cause us to focus on them (the clowns), then those with influence and power can continue to “Make America Great Again” without any opposition.

We must not allow tweets from 45 and social media post to distract us from what they are enacting or the indifference of those who were elected to follow through on what they say they stand for.  It is not enough to make public statements that denounce bigotry, then fail to pass legislation that eradicates the same; or worse, write laws that perpetuate the injustices.

Call your Congressman or Congresswomen, today, and tell them that they can no longer be indifferent.  Cause them to act on what they say they believe. Secret hate is far worse than public love.  Make the call today!

TheOriginalMentor.com


Family

There is still immeasurable value in a photo album and framed family portrait.  Not the photo albums of old, with the sticky back and the plastic film flap that protects the photos…photo albums are graphically designed and laid out to perfection.

Imagine this…what if we lost all power or internet connectivity and we no longer had access to the photos on our phones, computers, or clouds? An ever more common occurrence, what if we lost our phone or the hard drive on our computer crashes?  (Rent the movie Book of Eil…it will help you imagine and it is a good movie)

I recall when my son was just 2 years old, he would sit in from of my laptop for 20-30mins at a time, enjoying all of the pictures that rotated, flipped, faded, or dissolved onto the screen.  My screensaver was set to display all of the pictures stored on my laptop.  Initially, I thought he was simply fascinated with the variation by which the images popped up on the screen.  It was not until a year or so later that I realized, he was taking in the memories of the moments, recalling the emotions he felt in those photos.

As a new dad…I tried to capture every single moment I could of my son.  I was a proud papa!  I would capture all of the special moments, like our first trip to Disney World.  I did not take my first trip to Disney World until I was almost 30.  He had been 2 times before his 6th birthday.

Years later, he would talk about moments in those pictures, outside of the moments captured by the camera.  It was as if he was able to relive the snapshot of time over and over again by watching the pictures on my screensaver. Recently, I walked into his bedroom, he is 10 now, and he was looking through his 2nd grade yearbook, recalling memories of his classmates. He really values the memories that are captured through photos.

For families, pictures are very important and are worth so much more than 1000 words.  What I realized early on is that I was always the picture taker, but very seldom in the picture. Many people and families fail to take pictures, because of their own self image. Then I realized, pictures are really not for or about me.  Pictures help my son recount all of the loving memories of his childhood, times with his family, more specifically, quality time with his mom and memorable moments with his dad.  Memories happen without warning.

Again…Imagine if we, somehow, lost all of the data on our devices.  I know you’re thinking, “That will never happen, ’cause the thingy is backed up to the jigga-ma-bob, and the virtual cloud will kick in…I said imagine! …or watch Book of Eli!  

What if “later” never comes and your family does not have any photos of you or the entire family “together” to recount the lasting memories of YOU? Capturing, or better yet creating special moments, because ‘you don’t like to take pictures!’

Pictures are not about You!  I realized, I sometimes masked my uneasiness of taking pictures with always being the one behind the camera.  In the same way my son was able to spend so much time looking at images of himself, he should be able to reminisce about our family time together. #legacy

My wife loves a great family photo and she encourages us to take advantage of the opportunity every chance we get. Ugh! 🙂   We recently had a photoshoot with ImagesByMarcAnthouny.com  At Images By Marc Anthony, their slogan is “Capturing the Essence of You!” The images they took, truly embodies who we are as a family.  This is the first time I have experienced an emotion when looking at images of my family.  Images By Marc Anthony captured candids and staged poses that were natural as we simply enjoyed time together as a family.  It was like we were out enjoying a walk in the park.

My 10 year old son actually exclaimed, “Aawwwwww!” the first time he saw the images because Images by Marc Anthony “captured our essence” as a family.  We can now display images that represent who we are, not on social media, but on the walls of our home.  For generations, on walls of my son’s home and even his children will be able to see the love and joy their father and grandparents experienced as a family.

There is still immeasurable value in a photo album and framed family portrait.  I know we are in a digital age, but I can tell you first hand, this experience and quality time with family was a priceless investment whose returns will last beyond my lifetime.

Invest in your family.  It will live Beyond the Selfie Stick.