Archive for the ‘Resources’ Category


Are you a “real” man? or are you a women trying to identify one?  Who really knows the true definition of a real man?  I have Googled it, asked friends (men and women), looked at social media post (bad idea) and I have gotten so man different answers.  “Real men cook!” “Real men take care of their kids!” “Real Men have a job!” “Real Men don’t hit ladies!”  All good points, but what if I’m not hungry or don’t have kids (yet) or looking for a job (in school), or she ran toward me with a knife (cause some are crazy…ok, still no excuse), am I not a Real Man?  I’m being funny, but most answers were a reflection of the voids of men in their past or present, but in my opinion too specific to disqualify him from who he was created to be.  

There is a difference between being a male and a man.  A “man” is a state of being that has a very broad classification and difficult to be disqualified by not having just one.  I believe that there are foundational traits of a “real” man that causes him to act and respond in a certain way no matter the environment or circumstance.  Real men have the responsibility to be the priest, providers, and protectors of their household and of all who are in it (even if it is only him).

Priest:  Not a priest in the literal since, but understanding that all things are not tangible.  Whether you are a spiritual person or not…or believer or not, know that it is real.  I do not mean to get too deep, but men must understanding that we wrestle with spiritual things and darkness in this world.  Real Men must pray against this, because it does not matter how many push-ups you do, that will never make you strong enough to protect your family against the ways of this threat.

Provider: Some men stop at providing the tangible, basic things for survival (shelter, food, clothing, money, etc), but men have a responsibility to ensure everyone in their household is provided with love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, support, comfort, (you add more), including to himself.  Many of the developmental side effects that kids have as adults is because fathers (and mothers) did not adequately provide the intangibles needed for growth.

Protector: Many men pride themselves on being prepared to protect their families (or themselves) from an ever present threat of danger lurking in nights and dark alleys.  However, they fail to be watchmen and gatekeepers of the other ones sneaking in through the friends that their kids (and wife’s) hang around, the T.V. shows they watch and the sites they search on the web.  Being a protector is about guarding against dangers seen and unseen.  Again, this includes guarding what enters his own body through his eyes and ears. 

Real men know who they were created to be, otherwise, life is only a guess.

This is only my opinion, but I read a blog from a friend that talked about the same topic.  Often times we redefine or mistreat a thing because we do not take the time to understand what the creator of that thing designed it to do or be.

FINALLY AN ANSWER…WHAT IS A REAL MAN?!?!?  Please take the time to read the below post. It provides great perspective on  

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What God Expects of Men (http://ellword.com)

The other night, my wife was watching The Wendy Williams Show and I overheard something that really caught my attention.  (Please note: I wasn’t watching the show, MY WIFE was watching!)   Iyanla Vanzant was a guest on the show and she was commenting on her show on the Oprah Network (which my wife watches sometimes while I’m in the room) called Fix My Life (or something like that).  Anyway, former NFL star Terrell Owens had been on Iyanla’s show and apparently she was trying to fix his life.  When Wendy asked what she thought was T.O.’s problem, Iyanla offered that, though T.O. had mastered the game of football, he had not mastered the art of “being a man.”  That last part reminded me that often women have opinions about the definition of a man or the question, what constitutes a real man?

This is a popular subject on social media and blogs and other platforms where people espouse their views on current issues. I’ve participated in a few of these verbal/written forums myself.  And more often than not, people speak from their own experiences and needs.  So I thought about it, and reasoned that the only way to come close to settling the question is to hear from an expert.  Of course it’s convenient to eliminate all women from this category – how can a woman be an expert on something she’s never been.  But finding a man who can really be considered an expert is tricky.  What exactly would make him an expert that can’t be said about many other men?  And how did he become an expert?  Well there’s only one way to settle this question – refer to the creator.  Because man was created by God, it only makes sense to consider God the expert on man.  He made us for a purpose – a purpose He expects us to fulfill.  So what are His expectations? 

Without being overly broad, or overly deep, I’d like you to consider 2 things that can be gleaned from the opening chapters of the Bible that implies what God expects from men.  First, God expects men to spread and cultivate His influence throughout the earth.  In Genesis 2, the Bible explains in detail God’s interaction with Adam.  Although in Genesis 1 it appears that God created plants and trees (Day 3) prior to the creation of man (Day 6), Genesis 2:5 says that the shrubs and trees had not “sprung up” yet because there was no man to cultivate the ground.  Then God makes Adam and places him in a garden “East, in Eden”.  So God placed him in a limited place on the earth and instructs him to make it grow (cultivate it) so that it  covers the earth.  My point is this.  We understand that God has placed man in the role of leaders (Gen 3:16, 1 Cor 11:3, etc.), but I think that often men miss that our position is less about leadership and more about stewardship.  We have been entrusted with the earth and all that is in it (including woman) for the purpose of making it all GROW.   As illustrated by the parable of the talents told by Jesus in Matthew 25:14-30, we have been entrusted with the responsibility of making everything around us grow and get better.  We are supposed to cultivate. 

The other thing we are supposed to do is communicate God’s will.  In Genesis 2 it is clear that God gave instructions to Adam before Eve was even formed.  So once she is presented to him, He becomes responsible for communicating to her and their expected offspring what God has already told him.  This is also apparent from Paul’s use of the relationship between Christ and the church to explain man’s responsibility to his wife in Ephesians chapter 5. He essentially says that Christ cleanses the church with the word so that he will present her to himself without blemishes.  So men are to use the Word to help his wife grow into a wife without blemish.  Man has the responsibility to communicate the Word from God.  Man has the responsibility of explaining what God expects from all of us, and how this world that God created works.  Remember, Adam named everything before Eve was formed.  So men have the responsibility to point out to those who’ve been entrusted to us what the other things are.  As our children navigate through the world, we must guide them, pointing out the dangers, and giving them insight into whats “out there”.  

Of course, men can only do this well when we stay connected to God, the creator, and hear His Word.  We can only be effective to the degree that we understand what God has said and how His world works.  And we can only do this if we stay connected to those who’ve been entrusted to us, so that we can communicate these truths to them.  This, I firmly believe, is what God expects from men.  And I sincerely believe that when we do this consistently, everything and everyone around us will grow and get better – including us.

The blog can be found at  http://ellword.com

Family Mission Statements

Posted: August 10, 2013 in Resources

Great idea! I am always looking for ways to improve family dynamics and a Family Mission statement is a great way to get to know one another, have purposeful conversation, include the kids and instill family values at the same time! Thanks for Sharing!!!


The Day I Stopped Saying ‘Hurry Up”

Great Lesson for me today. I always hurry my little guy instead of appreciating the time we have. In a few years, I will be asking where did the time go, but if I would have just slowed down enough to appreciate more, I just might have reclaimed a few minutes. Thanks Rachel!

Follow Me…

Posted: July 9, 2013 in Resources
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My first job out of college was as an intake worker in foster care. Great experience, however, at the ripe age of 21, it shaped my perspective on parenthood. That experience is for another day (soon…I promise).

As an intake worker, I had to build the case files for case managers. In the process, I had to enter the social security numbers of the parents and their children. Back then, I was amazed at the fact that after entering the numbers, they seemed to be forever etched into my mind. The same was for my family and friends phone numbers…I just remembered them. Not long ago, someone asked me for my wife’s phone number and I could not tell them without looking into my phone. What happen???

I trace it all back to technology (Cell Phones, Computers, etc.). I did not have a need to “clutter” my mind with senseless information that I could easily access. At least I thought. Now I realize that it was more than knowing, it was exercising a side of my brain that I must not readily use now. We do not have to “think” any more. We just need to read or access a resource that contains the information we need. Some may argue, “what’s wrong with that?” My reply, “nothing, as long as you “always” have access to that “thing” that you depend on.

Let me get to the point…I believe problem solving is the single greatest attribute that a parent can teach their child (next to fearing God). My mother was a problem solver. She was a teen mom and embodied the principle of “where there is a will there is a way.” We did not always have, but we never lacked what we needed. I watched her “figure life out” sometime out of nothing. She did not have the luxury of running to the store to get what was needed for dinner. She pieced this with that and I was full and well nourished. This quality, problem solving, has been lost. I am witnessing an up and coming generation who are sometimes paralyzed when all of the pieces do not fall in place.

My parental peers appear to be too concerned with making sure that their kids have everything that they did not have (#Stuff), that they are forgetting to pass along the characteristics that got them to this point.

This evolution of parenting has created a generation of 20 somethings who are waiting at the bus stops of opportunity wondering when their ride will come, instead of doing what is necessary to prepare or create an opportunity for themselves.

This evolution of parenting has created a generation of 20 somethings who are waiting at the bus stops of opportunity wondering when their ride will come, instead of doing what is necessary to prepare or create an opportunity for themselves. To reverse this trend, parents, we have to act now by allowing our children to suffer, go without, and earn their keep. We had to work to get everything, now we give them everything and they do not have to work.

Problem solving is having the ability to identify that there is actually a problem. Some of them do not even realize that they are lost and losing!!! I know it is tempting to jump in quick when we see that our children are on a path to destruction. I agree. I will be tempted to do the same thing. That is what a parent is supposed to do. What I am asking is that you include them in the process. If you resolved it and they never understand that they were in danger, the possible consequences of their actions, the steps you took to resolve it, why you took those steps, and how to actually resolved it…how do you expect them to resolve it in the future.

Please teach your kids how to problem solve while they are young, if not, they will expect you to solve their problems when they are old.

Steps of Problem Solving

  1. Identify the Problem: Your child must have a morale compass of what is right or wrong (As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord). At the tender age of 8, my son knows the 10 commandments and holds us all accountable for breaking any one of them. He also respects authority. Authority is not always a person in leadership. For example, one day we were out shopping and we were about to walk into a store. He stopped outside and we walked it. I turned around and he was outside the store. I went out and told him to come in, but he was eating a bag of chips. He said, “daddy, the sign says no food or drinks in the store, so I had to finish before I came in.”
  2. Think it Through: Do not be so quick to solve their problems, no matter how small. Ask them questions and wait on the answer. There are times when I ask a question and it may take him 5 mins to respond, but I do not let him off the hook. “I do not know” is not an acceptable answer in my household. You have a brain, use it!!! I have a couple questions that I often ask when he does not know what to say; 1) What would you do if you did know (this is a good one when they try to sneak that infamous question in “IDK)? 2) What do you think should happen? 3) What would you like to happen? Then just wait. I will sometimes say, “Still waiting…?” Be patient, eventually the wait time will get shorter if they know you will not give in. If they get stuck, brainstorm with them by providing suggestions (but not right away). Eventually, they will come up with ideas on their own.
  3. Consider the consequences: As a kid, this is what kept me out of trouble. I loved my privileges. Anything that I did that was going too take them away, I avoided (or prayed I would not get caught…LOL). I was no angel, but I always thought “If this, then that”….If I do this, that could happen. When they present a solution, throw a “What If?” back at them. The “What if” is the possible consequence to their solution. Then let them decide if they want to take the chance. Continue this until they make a final decision. Remember…all consequences are not bad.
  4. Walk along side them: After they make a decision, support them in it. As adults, we know that sometimes we have great intentions, but our delivery or how we do something spoils it all. Help them understand the importance of doing things decently and in order so that it does not make matters worse. You may have to model it for them and have them watch you a couple times , while you explain “why” you did what you did. Then, they can do it and you watch, continue to provide coaching along the way. Eventually, they will be able to do it on their own.

As I mentioned earlier, I believe problem solving is the single greatest attribute that a parent can teach their child. You will not always be around to guide them. However, they should be able to remember how you modeled the way. Parents are also battling a society that has evolved into a at-your-finger-tips-you-do-not-have-to-think-or-use-your-brain society. My wife witnessed kids at the community center that because of cell phones and tablets do not know how to tell time on a analog clock.

Subtle, but I think we must pay attention and adjust or our children could be walking around life lost with a map that they can’t read, because their GPS ran out of batteries and their phone died asking us…”wht time u say dat bus comin?”


Mother’s Day is a time for us to honor God’s gift to this earth. The vessel that He chose to use to bring another life into this world. In an earlier post (“What If…”), I imagined what the world would be like if men carried babies (shaking that off). We should do all that we can to appreciate the countless sacrifices that mothers make on our behalf to ensure that our needs are met. Although fathers do not carry the baby or “actually” bring life into this world, I still think that this time of year is as important for fathers.

She’s not my mom…she is the mother of my son and my wife. Everyday, but especially during this season, I see my role as modeling and teaching my son how to cherish, honor, respect, and LOVE his mother. By doing this, correctly, I plant seeds that will be nurtured and watered over time. Eventually,they will blossom into how he cherishes, honors, respects, and LOVES women, his wife, his daughter(s), and so on.

Children do not understand all of that “grown up” stuff. They do not understand what mommy did to daddy to make him so upset. All they see is his lack of love, gentleness, and respect, which plants different seeds. Later, when they begin to manifest themselves, we wonder where that attitude or behavior came from???

This is true whether your child is a boy or girl. If it is a girl, she is learning to cherish, honor, respect, and LOVE herself, because that is what daddy has modeled toward her mommy. She will learn to expect and accept whatever daddy is teaching and modeling for her (if anything at all).

In my view, Mother’s Day is about the children honoring their mother for who she is and what she has done for them. I believe that Mother’s Day has take on a new form, because too many of us (men and women) are planting the wrong seed about mothers. Instead of teaching our kids to cherish, honor, respect, and LOVE their mother’s during this season, others must fill in to ensure that the sacrifices of those mothers do not go unrecognized. Equally, we now have to recognize those who stepped up and stepped in where other mothers feel short.

She’s Not My Mom, but I so appreciate the mother, wife, and helpmate that she is to us. I will continue to do all that I can to ensure that my son acknowledges and appreciates his mother for who she is and what she does.

Happy Mother’s Day!

There…but not Present

Posted: April 16, 2013 in Resources
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After a long day of work  full of stress, attitudes, noise, and a long commute, you want nothing more than the peace and quiet that your home is suppose to bring. You just need time to shower, get out of those stiff clothes, kick off those hard shoes so that you can sink into your recliner and relax (aaaahhhhhhhh).

Well, not long ago, I felt that way. When I got home, I just need a minute to regroup before starting my real job of being a parent. As I sat in my recliner, I could see my son out of the corner of my eye run down the hallway. I assumed he went into his room, because he came around the corner with a few small cars. I had greeted him earlier as I came through the door, as I always do, with our traditional “Incredible Hulk Hug.”   He gets a running start and jumps up into my arms and we squeeze as hard as we can. He played beside me and appeared to be content with just being close.

After a few minutes, he got up and ran back down the hallway and took a sharpe right turn at the end of the hall. A few seconds later, he emerged with new toys and plopped down right at my feet to the left of my recliner. As before, he played for a few minutes and ran back down the hall and came back with little action figures. His play intensified, but I thought nothing of it, because if you know him, you know his imagination. Alone or with 100’s of people around, when he has action figures (or a paper clip that in his mind he has now turned into Larry Boy or Spongebob).  He is in another world fighting so hard to save it!!

Then it happened…he started to cry uncontrollably. He jumped up and ran away. The squeal that he let out was so piercing that I ran behind him, not know what had happen. “What’s wrong, what’s wrong!?!?!” I worried as I chased behind him. My mind was racing…did I step on his hand, did the recliner rock back on his finger…? What happen?

I picked him up and he wrapped his little arms around my neck. His mother jump up when she heard it all. She ran in to see what was going on and she ask the same question. “What’s wrong? Why are you crying?” His reply is something that I will never EVER forget, “Daddy will not play with me!!”

Whoa…Now tears are about to stream down my face. “I didn’t know homie! Daddy thought you were playing by yourself!!! I didn’t know!?!??!” I exclaimed!

Needless to say, we spent the next several hours playing with every toy that he has in his room! LOL I played those moments back in my head. All day, he was probably thinking about what “we” would play when I got home. When I finally got there (cause 5 mins is like a day to a 3 year old), he tried to get my attention with the first toy…no response from me. He tried a second, then a third, nothing. He likely concluded that I did not want to play with “him.”

Our kids are always watching and taking in everything that we say or do…including what we do not say and don’t do. Parenting is intentional. Our kids will learn things from us because we intentionally teach them or they learn it by watching. We may not be intentionally trying to teach them something, but if we are not intentional about what we do NOT want them to learn, guess what…they will.

We can not wait to get home so that we can unwind, but our kids do not understand (or care for that matter) how bad our day was or how tired we are. We owe them the same attention that we have given to the rest of the world all day long…undivided (most of the time). It is our obligation to figure out how to set the right expectations and parameters so that I children (and spouses) do not feel like they are always getting the short end of the stick. We make countless sacrifices to work late, go in early, travel days at a time all so that we can look good in the eyes of someone who does not matter (when you compare to those in your home). When was the last time we told our bosses or job NO for the sake of our families, creating true balance.  #Sacrifice

Worklife balance is important. It is important to maintain a sense of self and to value what should be our #1 priority…Family.  Balance has become increasingly more difficult with the rise of smart phones. There was a day when if you responded within 30days, it was acceptable (snail mail).  With the invention of email, our expectations shifted to 24-48 hours, due to people giving you time to get back in front of your computer.  Now with the invention of smart phones and wifi, you are always on (or expected to be).  Some Skype, no answer, they text…no answer, inbox you…no answer, call 911 ’cause they assume something MUST have happened to you.

I have witnessed (and even been guilty of) families being out for dinner and the mother, father, and kids are all “plugged in” (cell, ipod, tablet, T.V.). “Relationships” are being forged with screens and with imaginary friends while we neglect the people who are sitting right in front of us who really “like” us.

Fathers (and mothers alike) boast about being “there” for their kids, but many of us are not present. Our kids require and deserve our undivided attention and not the scrapes of what we have left after a long day at work.

Recently on the Today Show, many corporate executives have shared their regrets of devoting decades to building a career and either never started a family or, now, do not have a relationship with their children, because they spent so much time away. Many of us brag about being there, but we are not really present (while living in the same household).

Take a lesson from me…you do not want to hear those words or anything like it (if you really care). Many of us think that we are doing “it” (working) to provide for our families, but ask yourself, at what cost?  I just do not want you to wake up are realize that they are 18 years old and do not want to even look at you, because you did not take the time to foster a relationship and invest the time required to not only be there, but BE PRESENT. At that point, you will realize that all of the money you worked so hard for, you would give it all, just so they would just be “there” for you.

Couple Ideas to be More Present
1. Adopt “No Technology Days” Have your entire family “Unplug” for a day, meaning use nothing that has a battery or plugs in.

2. No TV during dinner.


What is a MENTOR anyway? We seek them. We long for them. We need them? But, do we? Of course we need them. How else would we get to where we need to go? We admire people from afar, even through the many screens (remember when TV was the only one), watching, reading, tweeting, being a cyber stalker…waiting for that one quote to be that “shot-in-the-arm” that we need to take our lives, status, position to the next level.

We try it, it works for a little while, but when we really think about it, we realize it is only half the answer. ”If I could only talk to them and ask them…what about this or what would you do if…?” We twit, we send cleverly worded post hoping to get a reply. #nothing

Now what? I guess I will just call my girl (or my homie) they know me, how I feel, what I have been through and where I am trying to go. I will ask them. Yeah, ok. Let me know how that works out.

The reality is, God gave us parents for a reason. The problem is, too many parents fail to recognize the “miracle” that He has given us charge over (someone’s life). Perhaps they realize it, but are not ready to embrace the responsibility that comes with shaping and molding the heart, mind, attitude, body, and soul of another person. Often times, we (parents) are still so consumed with becoming that we subcontract our role to others to mentor our kids.

A parent was meant to be “the original mentor”. By definition, a mentor is someone whose purpose is “to advise or train someone” A mentor can best advise and trains someone because they know them and what’s best for them.

TheOriginalMentors goal is to provide resources, guidance, and advice for parents to prepare and position us to be the mentors that God intended. My hope is that parents and parents-to-be would realize their role and responsibility and become INTENTIONAL about how they parent their child(ren) based on who God has called their children to be. This is a major task that I am hoping we all can help one another get through. To whom much is given, much is required.

Now ask yourself, what is your child’s purpose in life? What intentional steps should I be taking, to ensure that they develop into who God has intended…not what I would like them to become?

To help our kids maximize who He has purposed them to be…you must be (or at least realize) who He needed you to become. Or, instead of focusing on raising them, some spend too much time on searching that they forget or do not have time to be intentional parents.

TheOriginalMentor

Your Fear, Their Limitations

Posted: April 3, 2013 in Resources
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No Fear (well a little)

A couple summers ago, the family and I decided that we would spend the entire summer doing new things.  We live in the Chicagoland area, and hear of all of the “new and exciting” things that tourist do when they come in town, but we (who live here) have never even heard of them.  This summer would be different.  We were tired of the same ole, same ole.  We were going to be intentional about exposing our family to things that would add culture, awareness, and excitement!

Sometimes we get into a set routine and we call in tradition.  We are ok with tradition, because they can create lasting memories.  However, we do not want to be a slave to them.  Being open and doing new things keeps the relationship fresh and even provides a platform for which your children can thrive based on them being exposed.  Our theory, try everything once.  You never know if God has gifted you to be the greatest of all times if you never try it.

Well, we did not realize that we were about to be tested.  After making our declaration of “this will be a summer of new things” we received a call from the parents’ of our son’s classmates.  They invited us to go out on their boat for a weekend of water sports; skiing, tubing, snorkeling, etc.  We like water, but not enough to spend the weekend doing it.  Besides, our son has been in swim class for the past 5 weeks and has not let go of the side of the pool yet!  That was only about 2 feet of water, so we can only imagine how he would be in Lake Michigan!

We debated for a few hours.  They are such nice people…always considering Micah, because he and their son are buddies.  They have invited our son to spend the night at their home; they took him to musicals, plays, horseback riding, pottery making, etc., and now a weekend of water sports.  Again, we said, they always consider our family, but we had never spent a significant amount of time with them in a confined space, will it be awkward?

Then it hit us.  We had just declared that this would be a summer of new things.  We had never been on Lake Michigan, especially with the purpose of doing watersports!  It was also at least one night away from home in a hotel, which is always fun for our family!  Let’s Do It!!!

Everything was great!  We were having a great time.  We stopped by the Indiana Sand Dunes, docked and had lunch on the boat.  Many families were out that day, enjoying the unusually warm water.  The sky was a radiant blue, without a cloud in site.  Perfect.

Our son had watched his friend and siblings water ski and tube like pros.  We asked him if he wanted to try and he shouted, “NO!.”  We asked again, but he was emphatic about not having a turn, so we stopped asking.  Silently, I realized that I was actually happy that he had said that he did not want a turn. As I looked out at ALL OF THAT WATER, I was reminded of him holding on to the swimming instructor for dear life, just a few days before.  He barely knew how to hold his breath under water and I was asking him to strap to the back of a boat, sit in a tube and be pulled in the wake of a boat at X number of miles per hours (or knots cause we are on water).  Whew…I am so glad he said no.  Then I heard it, “I want to do it”  As I turned my head around slowly, hoping that it was not his voice I just heard, trying to now put a smile on my face so that I would not appear to be as afraid as I was. Then he said it again…”I want to do it!”  We exchanged eye contact as if to say, “you say no and I will agree with you…no you say it.” By this time, they had already started moving our son to the back of the boat, instructing him and preparing him to step out of the boat into the tub.

So many things raced through my mind…wait, we are the parents and we must protect him!  We cannot let him try something NEW!  We are scared, fear is taking over, I have to do something.  I stood up and looked him in the eyes and he said, “this is going to be so much fun!!!”  Fun…you do not know what fun is!  As parents, we exchange another look, this time it said, “DO SOMETHING!  This is dangerous!!!  Stop, our son cannot do this!”  But, I hear a statement that calmed me down, “Do not limit him because of your fear.”  Who said that?!?! It was like a voice from heaven Wow…it hit me so hard, but I was still afraid, but had to put my game face on.  I pulled out my phone, because I could not miss this defining moment.  I need camera shots and video (see snap shot above).  This is our summer of new things!!!

Well at this point the roar of the engine was starting.  Our son was getting further and further away as the tension in the line increased.  I attempted to calm myself, “I know how to swim. I will just jump in if something happens.  He has on a life jacket that is designed to keep him a float until I get to him…breath in, breath out.”  They gave an instruction before our son went out, “if you want us to go faster, just give a thumbs up.”  At that moment, I see him give the sign.  “What!  Now you are pushing it homie. No, slow down!”, I thought to myself.  However, the engine purred a little louder as they slightly increased the speed.

Then it happened…My heart seemed to stop.  Our son stands up in the tube, to reposition himself to lie across the top of the tube, while the boat is in full throttle!  I thought, “this boy has lost his mind!”  “Stop the boat” I shouted.  Yeah…words came out that time.  However, due to the wind and the engine, they could not hear me.  “Stop the boat!” I screamed again as my head turn vigorously to look at them and back at my son.  They kept going.  After a few seconds, I realized that he was ok, but the fact that he was now laying across the tube instead of securely sitting down in it, made me even more uneasy.  “What if we hit a big wave?  He will flip out!” I thought.  Ok, enough is enough.

As I was about to walk over to give tell them to stop the boat, our son finally he gave the signal to stop.  We slowed down and we pulled him back into the boat.  He had the biggest Kool Aid smile on his face.  He had done something new and enjoyed it.

The next week in swim class, he ran to the pool, jumped in and started to move his arms in the way his instructed had been trying to get him to do for weeks now.  I saw her glance at me with the most surprised look ever.  I just shrugged my shoulders because I did not have time to explain.

As I sat and watched him THRIVE in swim class that day, I reflected.  As parents, how many defining moments have we prevented because we are afraid to let our children experience new things?  Our scape goat is to say that we are protecting them, but protecting them from what or who?  I am not saying put your child in harm’s way.  Ultimately, as a parent, we are responsible for ensuring that we are not putting our children in a position where he or she will be injured physically, mentally, or emotionally.  However, I am asking that we consider how an experience could add perspective, enlightenment, self-confidence, in a way that will take them from clutching the neck of the swim instructor to jumping in the pool without fear.  It is possible that our fears and lack of exposure significantly limited their possibilities.  Please understand, for weeks and even months after his tubing experience, every time I watched the video my stomach dropped and I thought, I (we) cannot believe we let him do that!?!?!?  Now…he wants to swim any chance that he gets.

As parents, it is our obligation to discern who God has created our children to be, and then help them become.  When our focus is on what they will become, I believe that we become blinded and narrow minded, therefore, missing the moments that could shape, mold, and prepare them for who they are supposed to be.

We learned a valuable lesson that day…guide him, but do not steer; push, but not too hard; pray, but do not limit.  This experience had the potential to go oh so wrong, which is what we used to base most of our decisions on.  Usually, the worst that could happen never does.  Instead, we now consider the worst, then pray and prepare for the best.  Our default button is no longer set on “what’s the worst that could happen” but now, it is “consider the possibilities.”

Children Learn What They Live

Posted: February 26, 2013 in Resources

They are watching far more than they are listening.