Posts Tagged ‘parent’


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


You Are More Than What They See

OK…I will get straight to the point.  Parenting is only a “role”, NOT who YOU are.  Do not lose yourself trying to help someone else discover who they are, even if they are your children.  This is easier said than done.  We are only 3 sentences in and you have already quoted or remembered advise that someone told you before your first one was born.  “Make time for yourself!”  But in reality, with all of the demands (task) that others place on our schedule, we feel an overwhelming burden to make sure that everyone else’s needs are taken care of that we forget that we have needs, wants, and desires of our own.

Parenting is only a Role

The above image (courtesy of www.rebirthofreason.com) is a great depiction of our lives.  It is easy to become consumed with the many tasks associated with the various roles that we lose who we are. Parenting is no different.

Before becoming a husband or wife, a mother or father, a professional or tradesman, I was (Insert your name here).  You never ceased being (Insert your name here) when you took on these roles.  These roles simply meant that you have new responsibilities and tasks associated with who you are, but they should not redefine who you are.

The Danger in the Chaos

You can not delegate the responsibilities of being (Insert your name here) to anyone else.  Therefore, if you do not make the time to remember, discover, and cultivate (Insert your name here), you may wake up tomorrow, or even worse…years from now, wondering where all of the time has gone.  You may even resent the roles, task, responsibilities and the people associated with each because you now realize that it was all for them and not you.

The Battle Within

Selfish, huh? NOPE!  Maybe from their perspective, but not when you have neglected other God-given assignments, passions, dreams that have been lying dormant inside of you because of your focus on all of the other “stuff!”

When kids move out, some parents realize they have lost their sense of self and for others their marriages fall apart because a disproportionate amount of time, talent, and treasure was spent on one role (name your role/task here) than on others (husband/wife or name your role/task here).

Parenting is a role that lasts a lifetime, but should be redefined as your children reach various milestones.  I believe some parents enable their kids, self consciously or purposely, so that they do not leave the home at 18.  This allows them to continue being a parent and not face the reality of it only being a role.

Digging for Treasure (Discover & Cultivate You)

There is a treasure, a passion, a calling that was hidden inside of you at conception (2 Corinthians 4:6-7 KJV).  When we were kids, our self conscience allowed us to live in that place for hours at a time, imagining (visioning) what life would be like when we were older. To cultivate something is to prepare and develop it for a greater use.  We must put down all of the tasks, even the ones that we feel are most important and even define who we are, to discover and cultivate our true sense of self.

When you know who you are, I would venture to say that you will preform your tasks at an even higher level of excellence, because they will be wrapped in the true essence of who you are.

So…Tell Me About (Insert your name here)

I just love that interview question, “Tell me about yourself.” Even when meeting someone for the first time, we define ourselves by the “role(s)” we value most. “Hi…I’m a Doctor, a Lawyer, Stay-at-home Mom/Dad.”

Why don’t we say “Hi, I’m a Christian, an optimistic, adventurous, generous, caring creative, resilient, hard worker, etc. These descriptions actually give a glimpse into who you are and how you handle the various roles, task, and responsibilities assigned to you.

Start TODAY!!!

Below are a few steps that you can take TODAY to discover and cultivate the true YOU!

  1. Find Quiet Time. Find at least 30mins a day, when you do nothing but sit in silence.  I know..30mins seems too good to be true.  Start with 5 mins, then work your way up.  I hear you, I need more time! MAKE THE TIME!  Delegate some of those other tasks and responsibilities. This is important to your mental and physical health and well-being. Remember, quiet time.  Not reading a book or browsing social media.  Complete silence.
  2. Find Your Frequency: Drown out the noise, so that you can hear what is going on inside of you.  Your brain will be used to being overstimulated, thinking about what you should be and could be doing.  Relax!  Give it time.  This is kinda like a finding the frequency to your favorite radio station.  It is always on air, but it is up to you to “tune in” to the proper frequency to hear what is being said.  Give it time.
  3. Write YOUR Vision: But Not Yet!  You must take the time to retrain your mind on how to drown out the noise so that you can hear clearly.  After a couple weeks, your true self will continue to speak.  Do not worry about forgetting what you thought about.  If it is really who you are and not just another good idea for someone else’s benefit, it will come to your again.  Listen for patterns and themes of thought.
  4. Cultivate: After you have written down who you are, begin to take the steps required to prepare and develop YOU!  This is a journey, not a destination.  When you are tuned in, you will continuously discover ways to become the YOU you were born to be.

TheOriginalMentor

 


 


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CS-cosby-castLittle House on the Prairie


The Picture Perfect F.A.M.I.L.Y.

Many of us grew up watching one of the above T.V. shows and imagined what our families would look like.  In our minds we saw the Picture Perfect F.A.M.I.L.Y., but no one explained that it would take lots of hard work to build it.  It is unfortunate (and quite scary actually) that the image of family that is currently portrayed looks quite different from when the above shows were airing on television.

Some would argue that times have changed and that my views are a bit old fashion.  They would argue that the values from the family in the black and white picture are no longer realistic.  I believe that it is not a reality only because we do not do what is required to build ourselves, thus not being the examples that are necessary to build what we saw on TV.

This weekend my family and I went to St. Pauls, North Carolina.  It is a small town outside of Fayetteville, NC.  The area was so remote that cell phone towers could not provide signal.  I observed 3-4 generations talking, laughing, loving, playing, and braking bread with one another. I listened to stories of family traditions being passed down and lessons being taught by simply spending time together.

This experience made me reflect on what is needed to build a healthy and whole F.A.M.I.L.Y. with traditions that last beyond 4-5 generations.  The love, values, and positive energy that permeated the weekend was refreshing, peaceful, and yet stimulating to my heart and imagination.

What would it take for more families to live in the unity that I experienced this 4th of July weekend?  I have used F.A.M.I.L.Y. as an acronym to describe what I think it takes to build the “picture perfect” F.A.M.I.L.Y..  The dynamics of your family does not matter.  You can be married, single, parents, or empty nesters…building a family that will last generations transcends whatever we view a typical household to look like. 

FUNCTION

  • To have a picture perfect family you must start with setting clear expectations.  What do you value?  What are the rules of the house (nice to haves…clean room daily, etc.)?  What are the laws of the house (must haves…no lying, etc.)? Write them down. Everyone in the family / household has a role and should have duties assigned accordingly. If a person is a member of the household and does not know and understand their role, thus not performing their assigned duties, they become dysfunctional. Roles may be outside of the home (i.e. If you don’t WORK, you don’t eat). A family must ensure that all parts or members of the household are in good working condition and understand how each part / member work together to make up the whole. This must begin early!  When members of the household understand their function early on and how it impacts the whole, I believe, they are less likely deviate to far from their role.  This is not to say that they will never stray. Standard “maintenance” is always required to make sure that all parts are in good working condition. 
  • Action: This is a proactive step that must be taken.  Assess your household to ensure that every member is functional.  Post the laws and rules.  Assign numbers to them so that they are easily referenced. Ensure that every member understands their role and that they know how to perform the duties associated with their role.  Once expectations are set, each member must take ownership and proactively carry out the duties assigned to them.  When any new members are added to the household, initiate this step, so that expectations are clear.  All members of the household should be present.

AFFINITY

  • To have affinity, is to have a natural liking for someone.  It is very difficult to be on the same team with someone and not like them.  Your household is a team!  Affinity should magnetically draw you closer to one another.  Affinity comes through building a relationship. Good communication is vital. Actively listen and follow through on what you heard to prove that you heard them and understand. Getting an understanding of likes and dislikes and catering to one anothers needs is a great way to build an affinity for one another. Everyone may not be the same and that is ok, but having mutual respect for one anothers differences allows each person to be an individual.  When this happens, a friendship is created and you genuinely “like” each other.
  • Action: Make a list of your likes vs. dislikes.  It could be items that you currently do or things that you would like to do in the future (or stop doing).  Compare the list to see what you have in common.  Do those things regularly!  However, each of you must make it a habit of picking an item on each others list that you dislike and DO IT REGULARLY!  Have Fun Doing It!  Enjoy the fact that they are happy and that you are spending time with them. Stop focusing on you and focus on them.  They will appreciate you more and your affinity for one another will grow.

MATURE

  • “Anything that does not grow is either dead, dying, or artificial.” Pastor E.N. Jennings.  We should want all members of our household to not only be alive, but to be lively and well.  To be well is to thrive.  We must influence and challenge the people in our households to realize their dreams by discovering the gifts and passions that are locked inside of them. Imagine living in a household where everyone understands their purpose and is living it! The thought alone is EXCITING!!!  If we want our F.A.M.I.L.Y. to function at its highest capacity, we must be intentional about helping each member mature into who they were born to become.  Never mistake getting older as maturity.  There is a big difference.
  • Action: Observe!  What are they naturally good at?  What are they passionate about? What irritates you or members of your household to the point where they must go help fix it? Harness that  energy and perfect the gifts required for that area.  Exposure!  Try new things!  Read books together!  Grow together!

INTEGRITY

  • Accountability is required within the household.  You have to build an environment of trust and honesty where members feel comfortable to tell you anything. Parents…this means that you must consider your response to every situation that your kids share.  If you “go off” and not handle a situation well, it can potentially close the door for them to ever confide in you again.  I am not saying that there should not be consequences, but they should understand that it is better to come to you and talk it though than to hide it and potentially making it worse.  Same goes for husband / wives and even roommates.  Who we are when no one else is looking, if bad, has the potential to negatively impact everyone in the household.  Therefore, this gives them the right to know and hold you accountable for what you struggle with. 
  • Action: Discuss the importance of confidentiality in your household.  Explain the consequences of breaking trust within this inner circle.  Next, confide in one another.  Share what your struggles are.  This could be difficult, especially if what you share is new to them. I encourage none of you to focus on the fact that this may be your first time hearing about it. They trusted you enough to share.  Now devise a plan for holding one another accountable. Perhaps, each of you can share on a piece of paper and exchange them at the same time (I pray that your list is not too long).  🙂 When we share with others, we become vulnerable, this begins the healing process.  Perhaps professional assistance may be required to help you get through this, but whatever it takes.  Deal with it!

LOVE

  • Love is patient.  Love is kind. Love does not envy. Love does not boast. Love is not proud. Love does not dishonor others. Love is not self-seeking. Love is not easily-angered.  Love keeps no record of wrong. Love does not delight in evil.  Love rejoices with the truth.  Love ALWAYS protects. Love ALWAYS trust. Love ALWAYS hopes. Love ALWAYS perseveres. Love Rules!  The love that you share for the people within your household should be unconditional.  When YOU follow what is listed above it significantly increases the likelihood of you building a healthy and whole family.  This does not mean that there will not be natural consequences for members who break the family covenant that is established (or being created).  Love causes individuals to heal and become whole.
  • Action: There is no question that you love the people within your household.  We may not always like them, but loving them is usually natural.  However, love is an action. Review and reflect on all of the elements of love that are listed above. Be honest with yourself about the areas that you struggle to adhere to on a regular basis.  Ask yourself, why is it so hard to follow?  Have a family meeting and discuss each element of love and agree to follow EVERY one of them.  This may take more than one meeting.  Be open and honest about why it will be difficult to follow.  Hold one another accountable for areas that they may not be able to for themselves.  

YOU 

  • By the way…there is no such thing as a “picture perfect” F.A..M.I.L.Y..  A F.A.M.I.L.Y. is made up of flawed individuals.  Therefore, the only way to improve a F.A.M.I.LY. is to improve the individuals that make up the F.A.M.I.L.Y..  Once you have healthy and whole individuals, within a household, you can then and only then, have a healthy and whole F.A.M.I.L.Y.
  • Action: “I’m starting with the man in the mirror.  I’m asking him to change his ways….If YOU want to make the world (or your household) a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change!”  Michael Jackson’s words are so powerful.  We often point the finger in every other diffection.  It is funny that pride can never see itself in the mirror.  It is most difficult to see the role that YOU play in the dysfunction of your family. It starts with YOU.  You have to want to improve your family and be willing to accept what you will discover while doing introspection as well as what others will bring to your attention.  Until you are willing to face your currently situation, you will never be able to fix it.  Hold yourself accountable to following what is outlined.  Make sure that you review the F.A.M.I.L.Y. covenant that is establish and devise a self improvement plan.  

Let’s Create a New Normal…SHARE THIS BLOG!

The current mainstream image of family is flawed and is not an accurate depiction of what many of us experience everyday.  Media simply possess the cameras and distribution power to influence us by bringing their version of “family” into our households and call it Reality TV.  THAT IS NOT MY REALITY!  

YOU have to power to make a RULE, better yet, a LAW against anything that will negatively influence the type of household that you have established.  

I know I am not the only one that enjoyed the peace, joy, and love from our family.  Let’s share what we experience so that others will know that this can become their NEW NORMAL.  It is possible to have a family affair without drama, fussing, and fighting.  

I may have missed some key components, or perhaps you would like to add to what I have written Either way, share this blog and post your comments.  Someone elses life and peace may depend on it. 


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ReBlog…I read this Blog this morning and it really resonated with me. As parents we compare so much (consciously or subconsciously), but in reality, what works for them may not work on or for your little one(s). As parents, the path that you take provides us with access to the stops and sites required for you to grow and develop your child(ren) into who they are to become.

Of course, there are things we can learn from others, or I would not be writing this blog. Just do not try to replicate through comparison to the point where you loose who you and they are suppose to become. 

Do you look at other families and struggle to believe you measure up as a parent? One problem may be that you’re comparing your blooper reels with other people’s highlights.

A popular segment on many sports channels is the blooper reels. These humorous videos show the silly mistakes of professional athletes as they trip and fall over their own feet, miss an easy catch, or stumble over a teammate while chasing the ball.

Other fans would rather watch highlight reels. Instead of goofy blunders, this footage is a collection of great catches, amazing shots, and incredible displays of skill from sporting events around the country. It’s the best of the athletic world.

So what does all this have to do with parenting? Highlight reels show athletes at their best; bloopers, athletes at their worst. As parents, we’re all too familiar with our own mistakes. We remember the harsh words we’ve spoken, or the times we’ve had poor judgment, or the areas where our children struggle and we don’t have any answers. Many times, it can feel like we’re living a blooper reel, except it’s anything but funny.

But other families? We see them from the outside, and it’s like watching a highlight reel. Their children don’t squabble, the parents never have a disagreement, and life is perfect. But is it really? From what I’ve seen, every family has it’s challenges. So don’t get discouraged by comparing your behind-the-scenes struggles with others’ superficial highlights. Remember that God looks at your heart.

For a daily dose of encouragement and perspective, check out Jim Daly’s blog, Daly Focus, at JimDalyBlog.com


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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?”

There…but not Present

Posted: April 16, 2013 in Resources
Tags: , , ,

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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
Tags: , , ,

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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.”


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Let me start by saying that God does not make any mistakes. He is sovereign and knew exactly what He was doing and how to do it.

Now, that we have that out of the way; let us use our imagination for a minute. What if…God chose who would carried the baby for 9 months? Man or Woman? When a husband and wife “got together” (you know what I mean) there would be no way of knowing who would be impregnated? What if, there was a 50/50 chance that the man would carry, care for, and nurture that little miracle until birth.

How different would the world be?

According to Wikipedia.org, “About 16% of children worldwide live in a single-parent household.[9] In 2006, 12.9 million families in the US were headed by a single parent, 80% of which were headed by a female. Unfortunate, but it is a well-known fact that so many men skip out on the responsibility. I believe that it is an out of sight, out of mind experience for them. In reality, God chose the female to be the blessing and have the opportunity to take part in the miracle of carrying a child to term. Men can (I did not say should) stand back to decide the role they will play in the child’s life…deciding what is convenient for them. Since the female does not have a choice, she is forced into a posture of “I gotta do what I gotta do.” Again I ask, How different would the world be if God chose at conception who the carrier would be? What if, females then take the same stance as so many men? Would she react in the same way if the situation was reversed? Would there by a more overwhelming number of single fathers instead?

The first inclination is to say “No…women are naturally nurturers, therefore, they would not walk out on their responsibility of aiding in raising the child.”

Take a second to really consider….What If?

My opinion, if fathers did not know if they would be chosen by God to carry the baby, I am willing to bet a penny that rate of unprotected sex would go into extinction! Sexually Transmitted Diseases (viruses…or whatever the correct term is now a days) would diminish, A.I.D.s may not exist, I can go on. It is actually pretty comical to sit and consider how different the world would be with just this one small adjustment took place (quite big actually).

What If…The seemingly innate male fear of commitment would be challenged with every stroke taken (no pun intended). One would think that the females would still react in the same manner; however, it would be sort of a butterfly effect. If you change, this, what else and how else would everything else be affected? Would women now have the same issues with commitment and lack the innate ability to nurture a life into what God has intended? What men and women alike possess what is needed to do what you gotta do? Things that make you go huuummmm? What If?

This brings another question…Why do so many men skip out on the responsibility and opportunity to care for another life? I have an opinion, but I will deal with that in my next post.

So what do you think? What If…?